Tag Archives: stilton

Pong Cheese: The English Selection Box

Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’ Henry V, William Shakespeare

It doesn’t get much more patriotic than a Shakespeare quote about our national patron saint – and, in a further twist, Shakespeare’s birthday is also on Saint George’s Day, April 23rd. In truth though, these days most English people would be hard pushed to tell you anything about Saint George other than he took on a dragon. However, in other countries such as Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia and Latvia, St George’s Day is traditionally tied in with the start of the cheese-making season and is a time to bless their livestock. All of which seamlessly leads me into Pong Cheese’s English Selection Box, which would seem to present the ideal way to honour St George, Shakespeare and farm animals all in one.

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Blue Cheese and Walnut Fougasse

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Apparently yesterday was Blue Monday, supposedly the most miserable day of the year. Based on a not-very-scientific-looking formula that takes into account weather, debt, breaking New Year’s resolutions and the fact that next Christmas is aaaages away, we were all supposed to sink into a pit of existential doom. Admittedly, it was a bit cold and rainy outside and the remains of the Quality Street were impinging somewhat on my healthier eating plans but all in all, it wasn’t so bad.

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Ginger Thins for Blue Cheese

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2016 was seemingly all about Scandinavia. You couldn’t move for newspaper articles about how to hygge up your home with a furry throw or make cloudberry jam for your meatballs. Amongst all the candles and crayfish, one thing caught my eye – apparently, the hard, traditional ginger biscuits, much-beloved of our Viking cousins (and known as pepparkakor in Sweden) go very well with blue cheese.

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Hibernation and a Hearty Kale and Stilton Soup

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About this time of year, hedgehogs begin to stir, shivering their bristles and stretching out a little foot or two, in readiness to wake up after their winter slumber. All of which serves as a handy metaphor for this blog which, having snoozed through the dark, short days of December and January, is now ready to spring back into action. (I could at this point have just confessed to being busy, knackered and neglectful but, well, everyone loves a hedgehog, don’t they?)

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Courgette and Nottinghamshire Blue Cheese Soup

Courgette and Nottinghamshire Blue Soup

This week brought the exciting news that I have reached number six on the allotment waiting list and so should get my soft city hands on a plot in the next few months. Usually in London, to get an allotment you have to: a) wait for two decades; b) bump off the 73 people ahead of you on the list; or, c) sleep with at least seven senior figures from the borough council. Fortunately for me, one of my local allotments got funding a couple of years ago to regenerate some disused land to create about 70 new allotments and so the waiting list is short and the turnover relatively high.

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Peppered Venison with Stilton Scones

Peppered Venison with Stilton Scones

I was struck by two things recently: one is that it’s flipping chilly now; the other is that I hardly ever feature meaty dishes on this blog. There’s a veritable panoply of bread and quiches but meat-wise only the odd burger and a sprinkling of ham. I don’t know why this is. Cheese and fish together often make me feel a bit queasy but there are plenty of classic cheesy meat dishes out there. So I thought I’d try a bit harder. I’ve also been trying harder to eat more game so when I saw a variation of this recipe in my Ultimate Slow Cooker book, a plan started to come together.

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Young Buck

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): Young Buck cheese Continue reading

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