Tag Archives: wensleydale

Wensleydale, Walnut and Quince Paste Palmiers

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Some things are born from the embers of disaster. This recipe is one of them. If you read food blogs, you would think that nothing ever goes wrong and that all dishes arrive from the oven aromatic and done to a turn, just waiting to be single-lit photographed with attractive rustic props. Not so my membrillo this year. No matter how long I cooked it for in a low oven, it retained the consistency of sloppy jam. It’s still delicious but there will be no cute little stiff diamonds of it on my cheese this year; more of a smear. The upside is that it’s spreadable so perfect to lather over some pastry.

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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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Swaledale PDO

Anyone who grew up in Britain in the seventies or eighties will remember Sunday night TV for one thing: James Herriot driving his Austin 7 through the Yorkshire Dales to the sounds of a soaring, tinkling piano soundtrack. All Creatures Great and Small had a huge effect on me as a child and inspired two ambitions: one, to become a vet and two, to play the piano. The first ambition was swiftly crushed come GCSE time when half of my teachers ganged up to inform me that I was hopeless at science and should do something arty-farty instead. The second was more fruitful and I taught myself to play the entire theme tune from scratch. It remains the only piano piece I have ever played (aside from Beverley Craven’s ‘Promise Me’, but let’s draw a veil over that).

I digress. I chose this week’s cheese because it epitomises the landscape of the Yorkshire Dales. Its history and substance is so intertwined with the area, from the cows and sheep that pepper the hills and valleys to the dry stone walls which its very rind resembles. I’ve even put it on a grassy-green plate this week, because it seemed somehow to belong there:

Swaledale Cheese PDO
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Cotherstone

Selecting which cheese to try next is always a fairly random occasion. Sometimes I like the name (Baron BIGOD!), sometimes I like the history (Single Gloucester PDO), sometimes I feel guilty about not eating cheese from a particular area (Teifi) and sometimes, if I am feeling particularly organised, I try and tie it in to an occasion (Caboc). But, feeling devoid of inspiration a few weeks ago, I put out a plaintive call on Twitter for cheese suggestions. One was from someone who works at Neal’s Yard Dairy who suggested Cotherstone because ‘It’s a great cheese, often overlooked and pretty rare…May not be around for ever either. Go grab some!’ I then heard it described as ‘the closest that British cheese-making has to a living fossil’. All in all, it sounded like a cheese to hunt down.

Here it is, the shy, retiring, winsome beauty that is Cotherstone:

Cotherstone cheese

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Kit Calvert’s Wensleydale

This week’s post is nominated for both personal and topical reasons. The personal sees me in an opening credits montage from Who Do You Think You Are, staring pensively into the middle distance in the sheep-dotted Yorkshire Dales, sandwiched perhaps between Christopher Biggins and Derek Griffiths. This is because we recently found out that my great-great Uncle Charles was involved in Wensleydale cheese-making (well, okay, we think he was a stockman but that’s a vital job; happy cows equals tasty cheese). Alas, penning a cheese blog has yet to bring me the requisite celebrity and so the BBC are not rushing to help me with this one. Another time.

Here is my family’s legacy the cheese:

wensleydale hawes
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