Tag Archives: cheddar cheese

Five Counties

Every now and then I see one of those posters advertising an eighties spectacular concert and I’m tempted. The line-up usually features any and all of the following: Rick Astley, Bananarama, Katrina and the Waves, T’Pau and Curiosity Killed the Cat. They sound like fun events, a mash-up of all the pop acts of my schooldays. How can you go wrong, combining all your favourite things together at once? Well, that, dear reader, is what I will explore in today’s post.

I’ll be honest. I didn’t plan to buy this week’s cheese. We’ve all been under the weather in this house (nothing to do with my cheesy cocktail, I can assure you) and anyway I seem to have spent much of my life this week waiting in for deliveries. So I haven’t had a chance to go anywhere other than my local supermarket, which is where I found this cheese. And I’ll admit, when I first saw it, my innate cheese snob rose up and said ‘no’. I did the rest of my shopping but kept thinking: ‘What’s your problem. Not all British cheeses are made from the milk of rare-breed pygmy llamas and pressed between the thighs of Morris Men in Neolithic caves. It’s a British cheese you’ve never tried before. Go and buy it. Then try it.’ So that’s what I did. And here it is, Five Counties:

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Tooting Gold: Judgement Day

home-made cheddar cheese

Anyone who’s been getting their cheesy fix from this blog for a while now will know that in the bowels of my house, amongst the old abs toners and rusting tins of paint, lives a home-made cheddar which goes by the name of Tooting Gold (or more affectionately E-Colin, or Colin for short). Colin was made in June 2013. I’d been learning about cheese for about six weeks when I thought it would be interesting to see for myself how it’s made and so, with zero knowledge about milk, cultures, rennet, temperatures, acidity, timings, hygiene, maturation or indeed pretty much any aspect of cheese-making, I plunged right in there and tried to make a cheddar. Not an easy ricotta or even a little chèvre. Oh no. A cheddar, which requires rennet and cultures and cheddaring and moulding and maturing and all manner of what-not.
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Barber’s Cheese, Starter Cultures and Success with Soufflés

Twice Baked Cheddar Cheese Soufflés Barber's 1833 Vintage Reserve Cheddar

Contrary to what some of my friends think, I do not, alas, lie on a chaise longue all today quaffing free cheese. Partly because eating cheese lying down is a recipe for indigestion but also because mine is not the kind of blog that gets inundated with freebies. Which is fine by me, as a large part of the fun of it is deciding what cheese to try next.

Recently, however, I got invited to the Good Food Show by the cheddar chaps at Barber’s in Somerset and didn’t hesitate to accept; partly because it seemed free cheese might finally be in the offing, partly because it meant twelve hours on my own without having to attend to anyone’s toileting or answer questions about slugs, but mainly because I had recently found out that Barber’s are the sole guardians of Britain’s traditional starter cultures. For a cheese geek like me, it was an offer too good to turn down.
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It’s a Sunday…there’s an R in the month…must be time for Another Eight Cheeses

I’ve already written about two previous tastings which I attended at one of my local cheeseries, Cannon and Cannon, hosted by cheese-meister Ned Palmer. For a self-educating cheese geek like myself, they’ve proved a great way to try several great British cheeses in one go, as well as learn a little about their history and production. You can read about the previous two here and here.

The theme this month was Winter Warmers and the tasting reflected both the changing nature of cheese throughout the seasons, as well as the fact that as humans we tend to crave different foodstuffs according to whether it’s hot or cold. With regards to taste, the colder weather tends to makes us crave something with a bit more oomph; substantial rather than salady, comforting rather than cooling.
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Roasted Chestnuts, Root Vegetables and Green’s of Glastonbury Smoked Cheddar Cheese Tart

Roasted root vegetables, chestnuts and smoked cheese autumn tart

In the days when I had a proper job that involved changing out of my pyjamas, leaving the house and eating something slightly more varied than fishfinger sandwiches every day, there were many things that I loved about central London. The view up the river from Waterloo Bridge never lost its ‘Wow’ factor. The man selling peacock feathers outside Farringdon station always made me smile. And the winter arrival of the hot chestnut sellers counted down the festive season like some kind of hot nut-based advent calendar.

My two favourite spots were outside the British Museum and on the South Bank, halfway between Borough Market and Waterloo (although I think the latter may have now given way to some sort of caramelized nut thingies, tut). It was the evocative smell – all smoky and roasty – that I loved, as well as the ritual of juggling half-burnt nuts from hand to hand and trying to get the skins off whilst trying to avoid the inevitable shard of shell that gets stuck under your thumbnail.
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Shipcord

No real story behind why I chose Shipcord for this week’s cheese; I had heard its name and saw it in a cheese-mongers. Job done. I will admit that when I got it home and unwrapped it I felt a bit sulky as it looked like a cheddar. Not that there’s anything at all wrong with a good cheddar but, well, I was in the mood for a cheese with a certain je ne sais quoi and this didn’t look like that cheese. But stay with me, as the moral of this story involves judging, books and covers.

And here is Shipcord for you to judge:

shipcord cheese from suffolk
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Spiky Green Tomato Chutney

green tomato chutney

This is the first recipe I’ve posted on this blog that doesn’t contain cheese but I can pretty much assure you that it may not have cheese in it but it will certainly have cheese on it, under it and with it! The tartness of the green tomatoes combines with the sweetness of the apples and red onions and the spices to make a delicious, almost sweet and sour, flavour that goes perfectly with a tangy farmhouse cheddar.
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