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Cheese, Ham and Leek Pancakes with Stinking Bishop

Happy St George’s Day! It may not be a classic territorial cheese but, since it was launched in 1994, Stinking Bishop has become one of England’s most well-known cheeses. As a washed rind cheese, it predictably divides people but once you get past its pungent rind, this is a consistently great cheese with a creamy, delicious and – honestly! – inoffensive paste.

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Montgomery’s Cheddar

It’s hard to choose one quintessential English cheese. For some it might be Stilton. Others may plump for their own regional territorial, a Lancashire or perhaps what’s thought of as our oldest cheese, Cheshire. But there is one cheese that has a habit of featuring on many an ‘England’s Best Cheeses’ list (as well as in Pong’s English Selection Box) and that cheese is Montgomery’s Cheddar.

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Cerney Ash, Ground Elder and Sweet Potato Balls

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Spring heralds many things. Fresh goat’s cheeses are one of them and rampaging weeds are another. In my garden, the ground elder has started to stretch its legs.

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Cerney Ash

When tackling any cheeseboard, it makes sense to start with the less, ahem, feisty characters. So it is that, in breaking open the Pong English Selection Box, Cerney Ash was first on the cracker, given that its stable-mates are a mature Cheddar, a Stilton and Stinking Bishop itself.

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Pong Cheese: The English Selection Box

Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’ Henry V, William Shakespeare

It doesn’t get much more patriotic than a Shakespeare quote about our national patron saint – and, in a further twist, Shakespeare’s birthday is also on Saint George’s Day, April 23rd. In truth though, these days most English people would be hard pushed to tell you anything about Saint George other than he took on a dragon. However, in other countries such as Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia and Latvia, St George’s Day is traditionally tied in with the start of the cheese-making season and is a time to bless their livestock. All of which seamlessly leads me into Pong Cheese’s English Selection Box, which would seem to present the ideal way to honour St George, Shakespeare and farm animals all in one.

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Sharpham Savour

At the risk of recycling and mangling a very laboured analogy, it seems that mixed milk cheeses are like buses – you wait three years and then they all come along at once. Doublet, which I wrote about at the end of last year, is a Somerset cheese made using cow and sheeps’ milk. This week I bring you Sharpham Savour, which uses cow and goats’.

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Cheddar, Onion and Potato Pie

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I first thought of making this dish a couple of weeks ago when some Irish Cheddar arrived as part of the Pong Irish Selection Box. There’s nothing fancy about it and – so I thought at the time – nothing controversial. But that was before the latest Mary Berry furore, otherwise known as ‘Pie-Gate.’ So, it turns out that a pie is not a pie unless there’s a great deal of pastry involved. Mary tried to get away with just a pastry top but was soundly castigated by the chairman of the British Pie Awards. Mine is entirely free of pastry. I’m still calling it a pie. I could call it a bake but I’m not going to. So there.

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