English muffins, that is. Not your blueberry-stuffed American monsters. We’re talking bread not cupcake. This was the first time I had attempted to make an English muffin and I was nervous, especially considering the time you need to fry them for. But, aside from the time needed to prove them, they turned out to be no bother at all. In this recipe, Sparkenhoe and black pepper come together to pep up a classic.
I confess: I bought this cheese because I thought it was another cheese made by someone else. And also because I’d been sent out to buy blue cheese. But then, rather excitingly, not only did I find out that it was a totally different cheese, I also found out that it was to be the first cheese from Northern Ireland to feature on the blog and the only raw milk cheese made there. It was also being feted as ‘the next big cheese thing’ by top-end delis. So it must have been cheese fate. Here is Young Buck, masquerading as a cheese made by someone from Buckinghamshire (duh, more fool me): Continue reading
Red Leicester cheese has got a bad rep and, in many cases, deservedly so. Like many British cheeses, farmhouse production was wiped out by the Second World War and, as a result, most Red Leicester comes in a sweaty, claggy block. But, thanks to David and Jo Clarke, farmhouse Red Leicester has risen, zombie-like from its cheesy grave. I discovered Sparkenhoe last year and was blown away by its rich taste of biscuits and brown butter, surrounded by an earthy rind. If you’ve never tried it, get yourself to a monger forthwith; you won’t be disappointed.
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.
Yes, I’ve eaten Red Leicester before. If truth be told, I was practically weaned on Red Leicester. I ate so much that it probably permanently altered my DNA. We always had a slab of it in the fridge – cheese sandwiches, cheesy jacket potatoes, cheese salads. But when I grew up, I went off Red Leicester. It always seemed to look a bit sweaty and shiny and taste quite sharp and, if I’m honest, there’s probably an element of food snobbery about its colour. We’ve been so conditioned to think that all colouring in foods is bad – salmon shouldn’t be pink, smoked haddock shouldn’t be yellow and children’s juice shouldn’t be the colour of dayglo socks from the 1980s – that orange cheese somehow feels a bit wrong. But back to the colouring later…