Friday, 23 September 2011

British Cheese Week - Part One

Henry and I both love cheese – I think it’s safe to say that we’re both cheese-oholics!  Here in Britain we produce some wonderful cheeses and this week (24th September to 2nd October) is British Cheese Week.

 Henry patiently waiting for a very special treat

British cheese has a rich heritage spanning hundreds of years and there are more than 700 named cheeses of outstanding quality currently being made in the UK.   British cheese is amongst the best in the world (in fact our Cheddar is the best in the world – we invented it) so make sure you check the label to find out whether the cheese you’re buying is British.

Cheese is good value and an easy way to give your family a healthy, economic meal. It is part of the Eatwell plate and should form part of a balanced diet. It is made from milk natural product containing calcium – and provides an easy, natural meal solution. It’s also the ultimate convenience food and can be eaten at any time of the day in many different ways. There are also many more low-fat British cheese options than you think.

The British Cheese Board (www.britishcheese.com) have kindly shared some cheesy facts –
·         There are over 700 named cheeses produced in Britain, and a variety of different textures and styles available. You can find out more about the different categories of cheese available here: http://www.britishcheese.com/cheese.

  • Some cheeses, like Mature Cheddar, are stored for one year or longer before they are ready to eat. They are kept in special rooms and sometimes even caves!
  • Cheddar is named after the Cheddar Gorge caves in Somerset where the cheese used to be stored to ripen. Cheddar is one of the most widely made cheeses in the world. King Henry II declared Cheddar cheese to be the best in Britain, and many agree it still is today.
  • The majority of Shropshire Blue is not actually made in Shropshire, but in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.
  •  Cheshire is one of the oldest British cheeses. It dates from Roman times and even gets a mention in the Domesday Book. Wensleydale cheese is also mentioned in the Domesday Book and was traditionally made by the monks at various abbeys in North Yorkshire.

To help celebrate British Cheese Week Henry and I have found some scrummy British Cheeses, along with some great recipes, to tempt you into trying the best of British!

Cote Hill Cheese

The first cheese we’d like to introduce you to is Cote Hill Cheese, who have put Lincolnshire soft cheese on the British cheese map - and on Claridges’ cheeseboard - in just five years.  Their three cheeses are Cote Hill Blue, Cote Hill Yellow and Cote Hill Red.  The Blue and the Yellow are both creamy, soft cheeses and the Red is a semi-hard cheese.  Cote Hill Cheese has won many awards and is available throughout the UK.  There are some recipes on their website that sound simply delicious – one for Cote Hill Blue Cheese and Spring Onion Scones sounds especially yummy.  Cotes Hill Cheese has kindly allowed me to share this recipe with you – enjoy!  To find out more about Cote Hill Cheese, and to find more recipes, please visit www.cotehill.com

Cote Hill Blue Cheese and Spring Onion Scones

360g self raising flour                ½ tsp. mustard powder
Pinch cayenne pepper                 Salt & black pepper
 60g butter                            2 lge eggs
         5tbsp milk            120g Cote hill Blue cheese
Finely crumbled or grated     4 spring onions, chopped

Makes 8
Oven 200°C gas mark 6

Sieve flour with mustard powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper; rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the spring onions and the blue cheese, make a well in the centre of the bowl, beat the egg with the milk and tip the mixture into the well and mix to form soft dough, knead lightly, make a circle and cut into segments or rounds. Brush lightly with milk and top with a little Cote Hill blue cheese, if desired.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until brown on top.



Next we have wonderful looking vintage cheddar from Somerset.  Godminster Vintage Organic Cheddar would make a great gift for food-lovers; I especially love the look of their heart shaped cheese.  In their online store you can find lots of different gift sets, all at reasonable prices.  They also produce various organic vodkas – including cucumber vodka – which sound fabulous.  Why not take a look at their website at www.organic-cheese.co.uk



If you like your cheese extra mature you’ll love Seriously Strong Cheddar from McLelland.  Seriously Strong is the UK’s second best selling cheddar brand and has won several awards. Michelin star award winning chef Paul Merrett has created this wonderful sounding recipe using Seriously Strong Cheddar, and Seriously Strong have kindly agreed to share it with my wonderful followers.

PAUL MERRETT’S SERIOUSLY STRONG® CHEDDAR CHEESE
AND CHORIZO PUFF PASTRY SLICE
Paul says “This is a really simple supper idea that’s a big favourite in my home”
Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Ingredients
  • 4 tablespoons of grated Seriously Strong® cheddar cheese for that intense taste experience
  • 4 really good chorizo sausages (standard sausage size) or another spicy sausage of your choice
  • 16 wedges of sun blushed tomatoes from the deli counter
  • 1 red onion cut into wedges
  • 8 button mushrooms sliced thickly
  •   1 pack of shop bought puff pastry, found in most good supermarkets
Method
  • Roll out the slab of puff pastry on a work surface, aiming for a square (30x30cm), ½ cm thick
  • Cut this large square into four smaller ones and then crimp the edges with your fingers
  • Next, take a fork and punch a few holes in the raw pastry to prevent it rising too much
  • Place your squares of puff pastry on some baking paper on a baking tray. Place this in the fridge to ‘rest’ whilst you work on the topping
  • Break the chorizo into bite sized chunks and fry in a hot pan for about 2 minutes and set aside
  • Take the pastry bases out of the fridge and arrange the chorizo, mushroom, red onion wedges & tomato on top. Make sure to evenly cover the entire base
  •  Sprinkle the grated cheddar over the top - this will melt and hold everything in place during the cooking
  •   Bake in a hot oven at 180°C for 8 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown around the edges.
  • Serve with a side salad and enjoy the intense taste experience.
Seriously® Strong is a registered trademark.

  
Henry and I hope you enjoyed reading about these wonderful British Cheeses; we will have more for you later in the week.  Let us know how you get on if you try any of the recipes!

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