Tag Archives: cheese

Another British Fondue Night

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When the temperature starts to plummet and the nights to draw in around mid-afternoon, it’s time to lay down some fat for the winter months ahead. Some might call it greed; I call it an evolutionary imperative. Mince pies and chocolate coins are a good start but fondues take some beating in the ‘optimum intake of calories in one sitting’ stakes.

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Brewer’s Gold

I’ve been cooking with a lot of cheeses recently but haven’t had much time to scout out new ones. So, when I saw that my veg box supplier had added a new cheese to its catalogue, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to sound it out.

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Jerusalem Artichoke, Parsnip and Quicke’s Cheddar Gratin

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Jerusalem artichokes are like the tube engineers of the allotment. From February until November, whilst other vegetables are getting all showy and plump above the soil, the artichokes beaver away underground, doing their thing. Considering, or perhaps because of, their unstoppable ability to produce monster yields, they are not a popular vegetable, despite their sweet and nutty taste. Admittedly, this might also be due to their reputation for causing…ahem…digestive mayhem. As far back as 1621, John Goodyer was moaning that ‘which way soever they be dressed and eaten, they stir and cause a filthy loathsome stinking wind within the body, thereby causing the belly to be pained and tormented, and are a meat more fit for swine than men.’

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Red Onion Soup with Dewlay’s Lancashire Toasts

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It’s hard to know what to eat for lunch when you work from home. Unless you live somewhere a lot cooler than me, gone are the days of sushi on a Monday, falafel on a Wednesday and mashed-avocado-something on a Friday. For a long time I relied on fish-finger sandwiches or cheese toasties, both of which are delicious in their own right but, long-term, don’t tend to deliver much in the way of either filling you up for the afternoon, or providing much nutritional benefit. So recently I switched to salads in the summer and soup in the winter. You really can’t beat toasted cheese though, so here it is, ingeniously incorporated into some soup.

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The Oxford Companion to Cheese: A Review

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It’s fair to say I own quite a few books about cheese. When people visit my house for the first time, especially if they haven’t known me very long, they often at some point emerge from the downstairs toilet, look at me in a strange way and mutter something along the lines of ‘gosh, there are quite a few…erm…cheese books in there, aren’t there?’ I like to smile enigmatically at them and not give any explanation. If you doubt my cheese book collection but are still awaiting your invitation to my water closet, here’s a sneak preview of the top shelf:

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Pumpkin and Chestnut Macaroni Cheese

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Never fear, Halloween haters, it’s safe to come out for another year. Love it or hate it, it’s undeniable that the surge in spooky celebrations has been a boon for pumpkin farmers. Every year, we enter the fiercely competitive Tooting Common Pumpkin Carving Competition and even managed to score a second prize last year with the scary fellow above. This year – allotment smugness alert – we managed to grow our own. I would love to take credit for their vastness by claiming that I’d administered secret potions or performed arcane fertility rites but, in reality, I forgot what I’d planted and only discovered them when we returned from a fortnight’s holiday.

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Baked Cornish Camembert in Autumn Vine Leaves

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I planted a vine in the garden a couple of years ago, with the intention of joining our local wine co-operative (yes, there really is such a thing in Tooting). However, despite attempting to take over the entire street, it only ever produces about three bunches of pathetic, raisin-like grapes. The foliage though is lush, especially as the season starts to turn at this time of year, and I’ve had my eye on the leaves for some time.

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Aldi’s Artisan British Cheese Range

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First, a confession. When I received an initial email from Aldi’s PR people, telling me that they were launching a new British cheese range, my first thought was along the lines of ‘Euw, that’s unlikely to be pleasant.’ It wasn’t a snobbish reaction against discount outlets but more a terror of supermarket cheese in general. I was once on a panel that had to judge supermarket territorial cheese and it was a fairly dismal experience. It was impossible to tell apart a Wensleydale from a Caerphilly, Lancashire or Cheshire, and the orange versions could equally have been Red Leicester or Double Gloucester. I digress but, in conclusion, I nearly did the British thing of ignoring the email entirely.

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Wensleydale, Apple and Thyme Muffins

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Now that both children are at school I am endeavouring to be a good mother and provide them with a vaguely nutritious snack. Last week was flapjacks; stuffed with maple syrup and dried fruit, they were predictably well-received. This week I thought I’d gamble with savoury. Now that the season is mellowly fruitful etc. etc. apples are in abundance and so I’ve paired sweet eaters with a creamy sheep’s milk Wensleydale to make these muffins. There’s also a passing nod here to the Yorkshire saying ‘an apple pie without the cheese is like a kiss without the squeeze’ (note though, Mr Trump – you ask first).

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St Gluvias

Cheese-making in Britain seems to be going stratospheric at the moment. Just when I start to think I’ve heard of every producer going, I turn my back to deal with another courgette glut and – boom! – by the time I’m back, there’s another five popped up. Predictably, a recent visit to the Global Cheese Awards unearthed several cheese-makers new to me, one of whom makes St Gluvias. I bought the smoked version because it’s autumn now and I always go a bit mad for smoked cheese at this time of year. See – I’ve even put it on a seasonally-appropriate fabric:

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