Tag Archives: curds

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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Hart’s Content: Bringing Stilton-Making Back to Derbyshire

Hartington Creamery Cheese Stilton Peakland Blue White

It’s a film we’ve all seen. A traditional industry is closed down, leaving a community devastated, both in terms of economic loss and sense of identity. But then a band of locals get together and find new purpose through ballet dancing or trombone playing or pub stripping. Of course, it’s all made up, based on whimsical notions of plucky northerners winning over adversity. But, for one Derbyshire village I visited recently, truth could be stranger than fiction – except they’ve found a new beginning in a different sort of culture from ballet or brass bands. To be precise, a cheese culture – Penicillium roqueforti – which is responsible for the blue veins of Stilton.
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Tunworth

Tunworth was a name that I’d heard time and time again since I started my cheese journey. Everyone raves about it, with Raymond Blanc calling it ‘the best Camembert in the world’ (which I imagine made him a whole lot of fromage friends back in his native France.) It was definitely on my hit-list and so I was really pleased when I won some in the La Cremerie recipe competition that I talked about on a previous thread. It’s an exciting moment when you open the door to see postie with a box but I must admit that my first thought on encountering this postie was ‘Whoah, my love, you need to have a bit of a washdown.’ But I smiled nicely, signed the chit, closed the door and realised that the smell was actually coming from the box, not the poor postman. That makes it sound bad, I realise, but that’s the beauty of cheese, isn’t it? Cabbagey-smelling postman = bad. Cabbagey-smelling cheese = very good.

Anyway, here it is, both in its plain but stylish box and oozing slightly on a plate:

tunworth

tunworth2
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Fowlers Sage Derby

There’s something of the déjà vu about Sage Derby. I feel nostalgic for it, it reminds me of my childhood but I haven’t the foggiest idea why. I never remember eating it or seeing it in the house. I grew up in the next door county so perhaps it was always on the supermarket shelves (I was going to say pub menus but in those days it was all chicken-in-a-basket and a piece of Stilton on the cheeseboard would have been the talk of the town.) So, I don’t know why I think I know Sage Derby. Mum, if you’re reading this (and sometimes I fear it’s only my Mum reading), let me know if we ever ate Sage Derby.
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Mex in the City: Gringa Dairy

Since starting this blog, I’ve been looking forward to meeting my first proper cheese-maker. Whenever I imagined it, I was usually welly-clad in a field, perhaps with the early morning mist floating over the grass as some cows lumbered into the dairy. It’s fair to say that my fromager fantasies didn’t look much like this:

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Looking more Albert Square than Ambridge, Gringa Dairy is situated under a railway arch in Peckham, South London. Peckham has a reputation for being bad-ass rather than bucolic but, beyond the ‘don’t go there or you’ll get stabbed’ tabloid headlines, it boasts an eclectic food scene that encompasses events like KERB, restaurants like Peckham Refreshment Rooms and producers such as new craft brewers Brick. Another new kid on the block, Gringa Dairy was founded by American Kristen Schnepp and makes artisan Mexican cheese.
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Home-made Feta Cheese (or Fetter Cheese, as it shall be legally known)

So, this Feta sort of started off as halloumi. I found a recipe for halloumi and bought myself a few pints of unpasteurised milk. I was looking forward to some nice squeaky halloumi.

However, as anyone who has followed my previous cheese-making adventures will know, I’m actually not very good at making cheese. I think I’m generally good at concentrating and fine details but the process of cheese-making takes things to a whole new level and seems to turn me into the world’s clumsiest fool. And so it was that, within the first few minutes, I dropped my thermometer and it looked like this:

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July’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Round Up – Soft Goat’s Cheese

Soft goat’s cheese was the choice for July’s Cheese, Please Recipe Challenge; a lovely, summery cheese light enough to grace a salad if the sun deigns to comes out or equally hold its own as part of a comforting casserole whilst we watch the driving rain pelt down. The chèvre gauntlet was laid down but who would come to the party…?
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Tooting Gold II: Further Adventures in Home Cheese-Making

Last month I documented my first attempt to make an artisan Cheddar cheese for the discerning citizens of SW17. If you’ve already read it, you’ll know that it wasn’t an unqualified success. If you haven’t, the sorry story is here. Or to summarise: I bought the wrong milk, didn’t have a thermometer or proper mould, heated up the curds too quickly, drank some wine and left them to drain for too long before finally someone moved my ‘cheese’ onto a warm hob and it gave up the ghost altogether. The finished ‘Cheddar’ looked like this:

home-made cheese

So. Not terribly Cheddary then.
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Tooting Gold: When Home Cheese-Making Goes Bad

My area of London is quite trendy these days, with artisan producers popping up all over the place. We’ve got micro-breweries, had a flirtation with a wine collective and I can get honey from a lady round the corner. But cheese? Aha – no! There seemed a clear gap in the market for some urban cheese round here. And so my quest to produce a nice tasty cheddar began. I’d even thought of a name – Tooting Gold. Has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
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And Lo, a Cheese is Born

Right then, how is this cheese stuff made then? A brief Google and a scary flashback to biology lessons at school told me the basics. Milk is heated and then curdled using some sort of acid and the resulting curds (solid bit) are separated from the whey (liquid bit). Bing, bang, bosh. But a brief brush with educational theory recently (don’t ask) taught me that the best learning is always through doing. So I decided to make some cheese. As you do.
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