A couple of weeks ago, I had the honour of judging at the Global Cheese Awards, situated in Somerset, the Cheddar heartlands. It was pretty intimidating, judging alongside people who had worked in the dairy industry for decades, I can tell you, but I don’t think I made too bigger fool of myself. Whilst I was there, I had the pleasure of bumping into some of the Barber family, who I’ve visited and written about before (here and here). They very kindly sent me on my way with a bumper bag of Cheddar, which gave me the perfect excuse to try out this recipe, which has been on my mind for a while.
Tag Archives: main courses
In the last week or so, something in the air has changed and autumn seems to be on the way. Vegetables that have been non-stop for the last two months are grinding to a halt – and not before time (French beans and courgettes, I’m looking at you). This recipe was an attempt by me to dispose of some of my mountain of new potatoes and courgettes. A pizza without a tomato-based sauce may sound strange but, as ever, the combination of potatoes and cheese does the job magnificently.
The origins of this recipe lie in stupidity. Last year, I grew pumpkins for the first time, a huge French variety called Rouge Vif d’Etampes. I also sowed green and yellow courgettes but, being highly disorganised, I got all my plants mixed up. Strange, round yellow balls began to grow which didn’t look at all like orange pumpkins or yellow courgettes. We picked them and they were delicious anyway, so I just assumed there had been a mix up with the seed suppliers and they had sent me summer squash instead.
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.
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.
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.
Dorset Blue Vinny was the first cheese I ever wrote about on this blog. At that point, I was planning to find out about cheeses from all over the world but, as I researched the Vinny, I realised that, cheese-wise, there was enough history and variety on the British Isles to keep me going for some time. Nearly four years later and there’s still about 500 cheeses I have yet to track down!
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.’
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.