Call myself a foodie* and never been to the home of the pork pie? Shame on me!

Luckily, an invitation to attend the Artisan Cheese Fair in Melton Mowbray gave me the chance to fix this oversight and Pete and I made our way North on the first Saturday in May.

Held in the Cattle Market, which itself is in the heart of this ancient market town, the Artisan Cheese Fair is now in its fourth year and bigger and better than ever. We spoke to organiser Matthew O’Callaghan about how he came to create the event.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXF4NIsHvgM&feature=share&list=UUKdQswQXJXh8KiDjuikxOPg

Unlike other cheese festivals we’ve attended, entrance is just £1 and there are no hidden costs to worry about. Free on site car parking is available and the various talks and musical entertainment don’t require additional payment.

The majority of the stalls were given over to cheese, as you’d expect, though of course, the famous local pork pie was represented by a couple of producers, as was locally produced beer. There were also a few non-cheese stalls selling fudge, cakes, bread and other bakery goods, a variety of alcoholic and soft drinks, ice cream, jam and samosas (though, surprisingly, no paneer-filled ones!)

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Hunt Cake and Pork Pies at Dickinson & Morris aka Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe – I can recommend both!

As Matthew said, over 50 British cheese makers were represented, most of them showcasing multiple cheeses. We spent a few hours at the Fair so I was able to sample at least one cheese from nearly all of them. Here are my top picks.

Kavey’s Favourites From The 2014 Artisan Cheese Fair

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Quickes Oak Smoked Cheddar & Goat Cheddar

Smoked with oak chips from their own woodland and made with milk from their own dairy, the Quickes oak smoked cheddar had a beautifully natural smoke flavour which was perfectly balanced with the cheese itself – in so many smoked cheeses, the only flavour is the smoke itself. The texture of the cheese was lovely with a pleasing creaminess from the fat content and I liked the level of salty sharpness.

The Goat Cheddar was also fantastic, indeed it’s one of three cheeses I purchased to bring home.

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Cote Hill Blue

Mary Davenport’s family have been dairy farmers in Lincolnshire for 40 years, but turned to making cheese 9 years ago when the falling price of milk made running the business solely as a dairy less viable.

I loved Cote Hill’s soft mild blue cheese made in particular; though the cheese is mild, the blue flavour comes through clearly and the rind is lovely. The Cote Hill Reserve was also delicious – a semi-hard washed-rind cheese which uses Tom Wood Beers’ Bomber County to add flavour to the rind.

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Cheesemakers of Canterbury’s Canterbury Cobble

This stand had a wider range of cheeses on display than most exhibitors, as well as butter and biscuits. It was their Canterbury Cobble that appealed the most. Cheesemaker Jane Bowyer explained that it is made like a brie but then matured into a hard cheese. It was creamy but sharp, with a lovely hint of lemony citrus.

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Belvoir Ridge Rutland Slipcote

Jane and Alan Hewson from Belvoir Ridge Creamery were showcasing a new soft curd cheese called Colwick, having recently revived an old 17th century recipe. It was perfectly pleasant but it was the oozing Rutland Slipcote that stole my attention, and was another cheese I purchased to bring home. Slipcote is a white mould-ripened cheese and is delightfully pungent and gooey when ripe. The Hewsons make their cheeses with milk from their rare breed Red Poll & Blue Albion cattle.

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Hafod Welsh Organic Cheddar

As she cut me a sample, Rachel Holden explained that her father Patrick (who was busy cutting and wrapping cheese) looks after the family dairy while she and brother Sam make cheese. The milk from their brown and white Ayshire cows produces a creamy nutty cheddar with a distinct brassica flavour. It’s the kind of cheese you could accidentally eat far too much of!

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Thimble Little Anne & Dorothy

I confess I ended up spending ages chatting to cheese maker Paul Thomas and his wife Hannah Roche. The couple have been in the cheese industry for many years and Paul is also the head cheese maker for Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers. Their own cheese making business is in its first year and currently has just two adorable little cheeses called Little Anne and Dorothy. Little Anne is a fresh lactic cheese and Dorothy is a soft washed-rind cheese; both are made from unpasteurised raw cow’s milk.

Paul also teaches cheese making classes at the The School of Artisan Food.

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Hampshire Cheeses Tunworth

I almost didn’t stop at the HC stall, as I’m already so familiar with Tunworth – it’s a cheese a buy nearly every time I visit Neal’s Yard Dairy. But I saw a window of opportunity when the stall was miraculously free of fellow visitors and took the chance to chat with cheese maker Stacey Hedges.

Of course, the Tunworth was delicious as always, but I was particularly excited by Stacey’s news that they started making a new cheese last year. Called Winslade, the new cheese is wrapped in a band of spruce bark, which adds flavour to the rind. It’s currently produced in limited volume, but she told me to look out for it in Neal’s Yard Dairy.

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Whitelake’s Goddess

I didn’t mean to make cheese maker Peter Humphries blush when I asked if one of his cheeses was named for someone in particular but his embarrassed expression as he said “yes” was utterly charming. As too was his cheese. It was the oozing yellow centre making a break for it that drew me to the stall – the cheese is (commercially) known as Goddess and is produced (for musician-cum-cheeseman Alex James). Made from Guernsey milk, this is a delicious mild and creamy soft cheese.

Ticklemore Harbourne Blue (no photo)

Ticklemore had three cheeses on sale – Devon Blue (made from cow’s milk), Beenliegh Blue (made from sheep’s milk) and Harbourne Blue (made from goat’s milk). The Devon was a bit plain and the Beenliegh too acidic but the Harbourne Blue was a wonderfully tasty cheese. The balance between sweet, salty and blue was delicious and the rich full fat creaminess was a real delight. This was another of the cheeses I bought to bring home.

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Sparkenhoe Red Leicester

I wasn’t able to chat to anyone at this busy stall as they were busy selling cheese but did taste both their hand made Red Leicester and a mild and chalky blue cheese.

 

Talks & Entertainment

Luckily, we learned a lot about the history of Red Leicester (and exactly how anatto came to be used to give it that distinctive bright colour) by attending one of the free talks, An Unusual History of Cheese. In this entertaining and hugely informative talk, Matthew O’Callaghan shared a light-hearted history of cheese that was perfectly pitched to convey lots of information in a very engaging way. His abiding love for cheese itself and for local and national history was self evident!

Outside, visitors were entertained by the Melstrum Ukulele Band and the New St Georges Morris Dancers.

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I was drawn to a recreation of an old milking parlour, set up in an open-sided trailer.

 

The Melton Cheeseboard

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A special thank you to Tim Brown of The Melton Cheeseboard, a local shop specialising in a wide range of British cheeses and local specialities, for his very warm welcome and the generous selection of cheeses and local products he gave us. His shop is located in the heart of Melton Mowbray at 8 Windsor Street and is open 6 days a week.

 

* Actually, I’m more likely to refer to myself as a greedy glutton than a foodie, but you catch my drift…

Kavey Eats was a guest of the Artisan Cheese Fair. Thanks to Matthew, Lin, Rachel and Tim.

 

Every time we make pancakes I say the same thing: we don’t make pancakes enough! They are simple and quick to make and so versatile when it comes to fillings or toppings. On those rare occasions we actually get crêpeing, I tend to veer towards the sweet side more often than not. This time it was the turn of savoury.

Cheese and ham are a classic pairing and a favourite in our house. We often add a smear of sweet hot chilli jam when making cheese and ham on toast, so I was confident the same combination would work in a pancake. For the Madame version, we simply added an egg! (I’ve provided recipes for both versions, below).

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To make the pancakes, you can use your standard crêpe recipe – we’re looking for thin French-style pancakes here, not the thick and fluffy kind. I tend to refer to Delia for this. Alternatively, use the Asda Mix-o-meter which helpfully scales the batter recipe up or down for you depending on how many pancakes you want to make.

I’d suggest making all the pancakes first, so you can find your rhythm and get your cooking time and flipping technique down pat.

 

Recipe: Pancakes Cheese, Ham & Chilli Jam

Ingredients (per pancake)
1 crêpe
1 slice good quality ham
1-2 teaspoons chilli jam
Approximately 2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese

Note: I recommend two pancakes per person.

Method

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  • Spread the chilli jam onto one side of the ham.

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  • Place the crêpe into a flat-bottomed frying pan on low to medium heat. Put the ham on top – chilli jam side up – and sprinkle the cheese over it.
  • Fold the pancake in half and cook on one side for a minute or two before turning over to heat the other side. This shouldn’t need long as you’re just heating through and melting the cheese.
  • Serve hot.

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Recipe: Pancakes Cheese, Ham & Chilli Jam, Madame!

Ingredients (per pancake)
1 crêpe
1 slice good quality ham
1-2 teaspoons chilli jam
Approximately 2 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
1 egg

Note: I recommend two pancakes per person.

Method

  • Turn your grill on to medium-high heat.
  • Spread the chilli jam onto one side of the ham.

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  • Place the crêpe into an oven-proof pan. Put the ham on top – chilli jam side up – and sprinkle the cheese over it.

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  • Carefully break the egg into the centre of the pancake and fold the sides in to form a square. The egg yolk should be uncovered, in the centre (nudge with your finger if necessary).
  • Place the pan under the grill for a few minutes until the egg white is cooked.
  • Serve hot.

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This is a paid post for ASDA. Kavey Eats has been paid for developing and sharing this recipe.

 

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Ask an Argentinian or Brazilian to recommend their favourite cut of beef and there’s a good chance they’ll choose picanha. Most commonly it’s barbequed or grilled, and is a core churrascaria menu item. With it’s thick layer of fat comes lots of flavour, and it’s tender too.

Yet this prized South American cut is one we haven’t really cottoned on to in the UK. We call it the rump cap but it’s seldom offered as a distinct cut; more often the rump is simply sold whole. It’s not completely unheard of in Europe though – in the region that once formed the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, the rump cap is boiled in broth and served with horseradish, a traditional dish called Tafelspitz.

When invited to review some samples by Farmison, I asked for some picanha steaks to be included in the mix.

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Farmison was set up by two restaurateurs, John Pallagi and Lee Simmonds, who wanted to make quality British produce from small specialist suppliers more readily available to the regular consumer. For customers, it means being able to select items from a range of suppliers and have them delivered in a single parcel. I really like being able to shop in the online store, browsing and selecting by meat and then cut; then on each product page, the individual farmers are clearly listed (alongside information on breed and maturation), allowing me to choose which farmer’s produce I buy.

My picanha steaks were from Highland breed cattle, produced by Snowdrop Villa Farm in Cumbria.

Although I initially considered roasting, I really wasn’t confident on timings, so I decided to fry them, the same as I usually do with steak. Alongside, we enjoyed roast potatoes, baby spinach and a port and stilton cream sauce.

 

Picanha Steaks

Serves 2

Ingredients
2 x 250 gram picanha steaks
Vegetable oil, for cooking
Salt, to season

Note: If you can’t get picanha, substitute rump, or whichever cut you like.

Method

  • Put a heavy-bottomed pan on the hob to heat.
  • Pour a little vegetable oil into your hands and rub all over the steaks, making sure they are nicely oiled all over.
  • When the pan is really hot, sprinkle a little salt over the steaks and put them straight into the pan, fat side down.
  • Don’t move the steaks around, just leave them where they are.
  • Because of the thick layer of fat, the oil will probably spit so pop a lid on if need be, but offset it on the pan so that the steam can still escape.
  • Once the steaks are well cooked on the first side, turn them over and again, avoid the temptation to move them around.

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  • Giving exact timings is difficult, as it depends on the thickness of your steaks, the exact temperature of your pan and even the cut of beef itself. Ours had several minutes on the first side and about half that on the second side, for medium rare. I always wing it, using the finger test and feeling the meat to gauge when it’s ready. It always works for me.
  • When cooked, set the steaks aside to rest for about 10 minutes, during which time, make your sauce.

 

Port & Stilton Cream Sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients
Approximately 75 ml port
Approximately 100 grams Stilton, diced or crumbled
Approximately 150 ml double cream

Note: You can substitute any blue cheese of your choice.

Method

  • Pour any excess oil out of the pan but don’t clean.
  • Pour the port into the hot pan and quickly stir to incorporate the caramelised, meaty juices. Cook on high heat for 30 seconds to a minute, stirring constantly, until the port has reduced and become a little syrupy.

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  • Reduce the heat and stir in the double cream.
  • Once the cream has warmed through, add the blue cheese and continue to stir until the cheese has completely melted into the sauce.

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  • Once the steaks have rested, serve with your choice of vegetables and the delicious port and stilton cream sauce.

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So, how were the steaks? Absolutely delicious, the tastiest we’ve had for a while. I’d thoroughly recommend them and at approximately £11 for 2 (current price, prices may change), they’re a lovely treat.

Here’s a little snapshot from my phone camera giving a glimpse of the inside.

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Another recipe I made with some of my Farmison delivery was this delicious butter, sage and lemon roast chicken.

With thanks to Farmison for the selection of samples.

 

Fellow blogger and food writer Rejina is a friend of mine, and one I’ve long thought deserved a cookery book deal, so I was delighted to be sent a review copy of her first title, Gastrogeek (What to eat when you’re in a hurry, hungry or hard up). Her blog of the same name has been a source of great ideas for the last four years – indeed she launched her blog just weeks before I started mine.

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Having talked to Rejina, I can understand why her innovative pitch instantly caught her publisher’s attention – she proposed (and showcased) a photographic comic-book style approach based on her memory of teenage magazines from her childhood. Just as the illustrated stories in those magazines did for teenage love dramas, her aim with this book was to provide solutions to common kitchen dilemmas such as creating restorative meals after shitty days at work, conjuring up meals from the store cupboard when cash is tight, cooking up a storm to impress guests and feeding a hangover in the best possible way.

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There are some disappointments about the book, and I know Rejina will forgive me for being honest about them. In my opinion, the publishers haven’t done a great job on the book design. Too focused on Rejina’s clever theme, they seem to have fallen under the impression that the audience for the book must be the same teenagers those magazines were aimed at and the design feels a bit childish as a result. And whoever thought teal green was the right colour for the cover of a cookery book or that a font suspiciously similar to Comic Sans was right for the text inside ought to be ashamed of themselves. I also found many of the photographs far too dark, especially the black and white ones – I’ve no idea whether the fault lies in the image processing or the printing but it makes the pages look far drabber than they should.

The good news, however, is that the quality of Rejina’s content shines through regardless and is why I recommend you purchase this book even if the appearance puts you off at first glance.

In a few of the dishes, Rejina’s British-Bengali background comes through – she shares her Dahl of Dreams, Curried Roast Bone Marrow (which reminds me of my own bone marrow curry) and Duck Egg, Spinach and Coconut Curry, amongst others. But the majority of the recipes are a wide-ranging and eclectic mix with influences from all around the world – just the way many of us cook these days. Rejina lived in Japan for a while, and her love of umami (and a few key Japanese ingredients) comes through too. I’ve bookmarked Miso Butter Roasted Chicken, Mini Chicken & Mushroom Pies, BBQ Ribs in Dr Pepper and Teriyaki Rice Burgers to name just a few.

Recently Pete and I made her Roasted Aubergine Macaroni Cheese and to say we liked it is an understatement. Not only did the textures and flavours of the dish come together to create a whole that was far more impressive than its simple ingredients suggested, the instructions were also spot on and very straightforward to follow. That last bit should be a given, shouldn’t it, but it’s not uncommon to find yourself adjusting cooking times and amounts to achieve the consistency and results described by the author. In this case, the recipe worked like clockwork.

What made this macaroni cheese shine were the smokey flavours from the smoked paprika, aubergine and smoked cheddar.

 

Gastrogeek’s Amazing Roasted Aubergine Macaroni Cheese

Serves 4 (or 2 very greedy people)

Ingredients
1 aubergine
300 grams dried macaroni
35 grams butter
25 grams plain flour
300 ml whole milk
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Freshly grated nutmeg, to season
0.5 teaspoon smoked paprika
1-2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
90 grams smoked Cheddar cheese, grated plus some for sprinkling
100 ml double cream
1 garlic clove, crushed

Method

  • Roast the aubergine in a hot oven (220 C) for 20-25 minutes. Carefully peel and mash the creamy innards.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  • Cook the macaroni according to the packet instructions. Drain and transfer to a 25 x 20 cm greased baking dish, reserving a little of the cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium pan and stir in the flour. Cook the roux over a medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring constantly and then gradually add the milk, still stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the mustard, nutmeg, paprika, salt, pepper and cheese and stir until melted.
  • Stir in the aubergine flesh, cream and garlic, along with a little reserved pasta cooking water (to adjust the consistency if required).
  • Pour the sauce over the cooked pasta and mix well. Sprinkle generously with extra grated cheese.
  • Bake at 180 C for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

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There is absolutely no question whatsoever that we will be making this again, and soon. I recommend that you do too!

 

Gastrogeek by Rejina Sabur-Cross is currently available on Amazon UK for £10.23 (RRP £15.99).

 

I recently found myself with some beautiful fresh buffalo ricotta and a plump Amalfi lemon. Courtesy of The Sauce, they were part of a Campania taster box that also contained buffalo mozzarella, fennel salami, sopressata di Gioi (a cured pork sausage with a core of lard) and a Bagnoli truffle.

I wasn’t sure how best to use them but when Pete suggested a cheesecake, I was immediately excited. I had the remnants of a packet of digestive biscuits to use up and it’s the kind of recipe that I knew I could make up as I went.

The result was well balanced in both taste and texture and very quick and easy too.

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I opted to make 6 mini cheesecakes in individual glass ramekins but you could make one larger cheesecake if you prefer.

 

(No Bake) Mini Lemon Ricotta Cheesecakes

Ingredients
120 grams digestive biscuits
50 grams butter
240 grams ricotta
100 ml lemon juice (from 1 large lemon or two medium lemons)
75 grams icing sugar
Optional: lemon zest

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Method

  • Crush the digestive biscuits into crumbs. I use a clear bag (so I can see how I’m progressing) and a wooden rolling pin. Don’t be too aggressive or you’ll burst the bag and get biscuit crumbs everywhere!

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  • Melt the butter. I do this by heating in the microwave for 20-30 seconds but you can also use a saucepan on the stove.
  • Mix the melted butter into the digestive crumbs thoroughly.

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  • Divide the cheesecake base evenly between 6 individual ramekins and use the back of a spoon to press down and smooth evenly around the ramekin.

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  • Zest the lemon and then juice. I recommend using a finer grater than I did, to produce much smaller zest.

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  • In a large bowl combine the ricotta, lemon juice and icing sugar. You may prefer to hold some of the sugar back and add more after tasting.
  • Mix thoroughly until the ricotta has broken down completely and the ingredients have formed a thick cream. You may need to beat the mixture a little to make it smoother.
  • Taste and add more sugar if necessary.
  • Divide the mixture between the ramekins and tap to distribute evenly.
  • Sprinkle lemon zest over each dish.

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  • Cover with clingfilm and chill for at least half an hour.

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  • The cheesecakes will last 2-3 days in the fridge.

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With thanks to The Sauce for my Campania tasting box.

I’m submitting this post to Tea Time Treats run by Lavender and Lovage and What Kate Baked.

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When I attended a Lakeland product preview event this summer, the products that excited me most were the components that, together, form a cheese making kit. Sold separately, the recommended items are a large stainless steel maslin pan (though any similar large pan would be fine), a digital thermometer, two different cheese moulds, vegetarian rennet and some muslin squares. Lakeland also sell a recipe book called How To Make Soft Cheese.

We recently received samples of the above items and Pete got to work making some cheese.

Over to Pete:

 

Halloumi

Not knowing anything about making cheese, I was initially drawn to by the Halloumi recipe, largely on the grounds that it sounded so simple. The ingredient list was pleasantly short too – milk and vinegar.

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The recipe instructed me to heat the milk to 95 degrees, add the vinegar and give the curd a few minutes to form before skimming off.  This first part was painless; the measures marked on the inside of the maslin pan made it easy to pour in the right quantity of milk without using a measuring jug and and the temperature probe, easily clipped to the side, worked like a dream.

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The curds themselves were wet, but easy enough to transfer to a colander lined with a muslin square. But the Lakeland’s muslin squares are the smallest I’ve ever seen and about half the size I’d like them to be. I’d suggest you buy larger pieces of muslin from another supplier, such as this Kitchen Craft Butter Muslin from Amazon.

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Once drained, the I spooned the curds into the mould – although the recipe ended up making slightly more curd than expected, so both moulds were pressed into service.

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I’d hoped, after all that, to be left with lovely, rubbery, aching-to-be-fried Halloumi, right? Wrong!

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What I’d made was crumbly cream cheese – perfectly tasty, but absolutely nothing like Halloumi.

Clearly I’d done something seriously wrong, so a-Googling I went. It turns out that Halloumi is a not only more complicated than the recipe suggests (with additional heating steps that are entirely missing in the recipe), it’s also, and I’m quoting from Wikipedia here, “unusual in that no acid or acid-producing bacterium is used”.

Halloumi is made using rennet, not vinegar, and is heated a second time after the curds have formed.

However the recipe in the book does have a lot in common with paneer cheese, as do the results. Paneer is usually made using vinegar or lemon juice in place of rennet and is strained and pressed once the curd has separated.

 

Mozzarella

Thinking perhaps that the recipe had simply been mis-titled, the next one I attempted was mozzarella, with Kavey there to assist.

Once again the milk was heated – to only 32 degrees this time – before lemon juice and rennet were added.

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After 30 minutes, the curd had set reasonably firm and was ready to be cut and drained.

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A portion of the drained curd was then placed in a bowl and microwaved – the aim was to bring it up to 60 degrees, at which temperature it should magically have transformed into shiny, stretchy mozzarella which could then be kneaded and patted into shape.

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Well, no such luck for us.

We tried heating it, re-heating it, overheating it and swearing at it.

Despite our best efforts, all we achieved were soft, mushy, slightly grainy balls which tasted overwhelmingly of lemon juice.

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The whole exercise was fairly demoralising, especially as we measured the ingredients and followed the instructions on temperature scrupulously, before then trying to apply additional heat and still failing.

Again, we looked up other mozzarella recipes on the web afterwards and discovered that key elements of the method were missing from the recipe in the book; namely the second stage of heating the curds, still in the whey, before the last stage of heating as per the book.

 

The actual kit, with the exception of the overly small muslin squares, is fantastic and very well made. The maslin pan, with internal measurements marked, is a delight and the digital thermometer quick and easy to use.

The book, however, makes me wonder if anyone actually tried any of these recipes before it was published and is the one product I’d discourage you from buying. Assemble a kit of large pan, accurate and quick thermometer, rennet, moulds and muslin and source your recipes from the internet instead.

Despite our lack of success, we haven’t been put off cheese making and will be trying again with other recipes, very soon.

 

Kavey Eats received samples of the cheese making equipment above from Lakeland.

 

Did you know there’s a British Egg Information Service? No? Me neither, but there is and its job is to promote British eggs, answer public queries about them and publish all kinds of eggcellent content. Sorry!

During British Egg Week at the beginning of October, they wrote to me about a new recipe book full of ideas on how to make good use of one of my favourite ingredients. Take a Box of Eggs promises 100 easy and irresistible recipes. It’s part of the Dairy Cookbooks range which includes titles on cakes, home cooking, recipes for one or two and one pot cooking.

I was sent a copy to review and have three copies to giveaway to readers, in the competition below.

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A glossy, easy-wipe hard back cover opens to a ring binder format inside.

Recipes are divided 6 chapters covering toasts and snacks, vegetarian, fish, meat, bakes and desserts. In some, eggs are the star ingredient, in others they are more of a supporting ingredient.

Individual recipes are simply and clearly explained, all with full colour photographs.

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A great touch is the QR code on each recipe page which can be scanned by smart phones to automatically display a full list of ingredients – a neat way of generating a shopping list fast. This is the first really helpful use of QR codes I’ve seen and wish more publishers would follow suit. (Our phone failed to display the fraction symbol but as the unit was a teaspoon, we knew it couldn’t be more than one or two, or it would have been measured in tablespoons instead.)

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The Extra Mature Cheddar Muffins were very simple to make.

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The muffins turned out well, cooked perfectly in the allotted time and had a pleasant texture.

Although we used good quality extra mature cheddar, the flavour of cheese was a little muted. This surprised us, as the recipe calls for 150 grams of cheese for 300 grams of flour, which is the same ratio as other cheese muffin recipes online. Perhaps this is how cheese muffins are meant to be, and we were wrong to expect stronger cheesiness?

Certainly, these would work well in a meal alongside a nicely dressed salad and some cured meats. On their own, I find them bland, and might try the recipe again with bacon added for more flavour.

The other issue was that the muffins stuck like glue to the paper cases. After a couple of days storage in a plastic box, they came away from the paper a little more easily but it did mean enjoying them fresh resulted in some wastage.

CheeseMuffins-3892 CheeseMuffins-3894

 

COMPETITION

The British Egg Information Service and Eaglemoss Consumer Publishing are offering three copies of Take A Box Of Eggs to readers of Kavey Eats.

The prize includes delivery within the UK.

 

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 2 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, answering the following question:
What’s your favourite recipe to make the most of eggs?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @KaveyF on twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter!
Then tweet the (exact) sentence below. You don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet.
I’d love to win the Take A Box of Eggs cookery book from Kavey Eats! #KaveyEatsBritishEggs

 

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Monday 10th December 2012.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prizes are a copy for each winner of Take A Box Of Eggs cookery book and include delivery to any UK address.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered by The British Egg Information Service and provided by Eaglemoss Consumer Publishing.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You do not have to enter both ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For twitter entries, winners must be following @KaveyF at the time of notification, as this will be sent by Direct Message.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or twitter (for twitter entries). If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a review copy of the book from The British Egg Information Service.

 

I adore good cheese!

But living in the suburban wilderness that is London’s zone 4, I rarely make the trek down to favourite cheese shops La Cave a Fromage and Paxton & Whitfield. I can buy good cheese from Waitrose, and they do a better job of selecting and caring for it than other supermarkets, but being able to order exactly what I want and have it arrive in peak condition is a joy. I have previously reviewed and enjoyed products from online cheese monger, Pong Cheese.

When The Cheese Boutique approached me suggesting I review their online cheese shop recently, I was happy to oblige.

The Cheese Boutique is a family business established by a family who fell in love with France and its cheese. I empathise! Today, their range encompasses cheeses from Spain and Italy, as well as France.

When I buy multiple cheeses to enjoy in a single sitting, I try and balance my choices. So, using the classic formula for a cheeseboard, I chose one soft, one hard, one blue and one goat’s cheese. I also added a cheeky fifth cheese that I just couldn’t resist.

CheeseBoutique-3665 CheeseBoutique-3663

The cheeses arrived well protected in a spacious and well-insulated box. An ice pack kept them cool for the journey, and I think they’d have been fine for a few hours sat outside my house or with the neighbours, had I not been in to accept delivery. The individual cheeses were wrapped in waxed paper, although over-zealous use of sellotape meant they were difficult to open without ripping the paper, which is best kept to wrap leftovers.

CheeseBoutique-3679

The cheeses were in superb condition, and I particularly appreciated that all were sent to me ripe and ready to eat. Previously, I’ve bought cheeseboards where one cheese is so ripe it needs to be eaten straight away, and another is several days away from being at its best.

 

Cabrales

CheeseBoutique-3668

A blue cheese from Northern Spain, this cheese can either be made wholly from unpasteurised cow’s milk or, more traditionally, from a blend of cow’s, goat’s and sheep’s milk, which gives the cheese a more pungent flavour. It has a soft grey rind around a creamy centre heavily veined with blue.

Certainly, this is the first blue I’ve found that is almost too strong for me!

The flavour was very intense, almost like chilli in its piquancy. For me, the texture had a slight graininess to it which I didn’t like and the cheese also made my mouth feel intensely dry and furry. Pete enjoyed both texture and flavour more, but did also experience the strange furring of the mouth. I’m used the rest in cooking, and the robust flavour worked very well indeed. Definitely one to try for those who love kick arse cheese!

 

Margeriaz

CheeseBoutique-3672

Described as a dense and creamy hard cheese, this is a pressed, cooked cow’s milk cheese made in the Haute-Savoie region of France. It was originally known as French Gruyère, but now that the Gruyère name is protected by AOC status and thereby restricted to cheese made in Switzerland, this cheese has been renamed for a local village.

I found it much softer than expected. Perhaps it gets harder with age, in which case I’d love to try an older sample. The flavour was slightly sweet, but balanced by saltiness. It was very pleasant but a little mild for my tastes.

 

Tomme Georgelet Cendrée

CheeseBoutique-3674

This Tomme Cendrée is created by cheesemaker Paul Georgelet, in the Poitou-Charentes region of France. Made with unpasteurised goat’s milk, ash and salt are added to the rind to encourage the growth of the distinctive mould.

This soft goat’s cheese was beautifully ripe on delivery, oozing softly at the edges nearest the rind and smooth and creamy all the way through. The taste was good and strong, but beautifully balanced, especially for those of us who always eat the rind too. This one was my favourite in the selection.

 

Brie de Meaux Dongé AOC

CheeseBoutique-3676

Brie de Meaux is a soft, white bloom rind cheese made in the Ile-de-France from unpasteurised cow’s milk. This one is produced by the Fromagerie Dongé.

Like the other cheeses, this arrived nicely ripe and was full of flavour. Heady with that typical mushroom aroma, it was creamy and buttery in texture, with a fabulous full flavour. If you think of Brie as an insipid cheese, you’ve been eating too many cheap, mass-produced versions. This is how Brie should be!

 

Brillat-Savarin aux Truffes

CheeseBoutique-3670

Named for 18th century French gourmet and political commentator Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, Brillat-Savarin cheese is a very soft, triple cream cheese commonly enjoyed young and fresh. This version has a thin layer of black truffles through the centre. This young, no rind has developed, though you can buy aged Brillat-Savarin which has a white bloom rind.

Although the flavour of truffles came through only subtly, the cheese itself was delicious; delicate, so soft it was spreadable and richly creamy, it was Pete’s favourite of the lot.

In summary, these were five excellent cheeses delivered in great condition.

Delivery is a touch pricy at £6.99 to UK mainland addresses, though as the website explains, the “delivery charges are set to cover our costs – we do not make any profit from delivery. We could choose to lower the charges but it would mean an increase in cheese prices therefore we would prefer to be honest and open about the full cost of delivery and keep the prices of cheese just that – the price of the cheese alone“. And, yes, prices for the cheese are pretty reasonable when compared like for like to other retailers.

 

 

COMPETITION

As a rather lovely ode to my cheese love, The Cheese Boutique have set up a Kavey Eats Cheese Box, available to buy on their website. We decided to switch out the Margeriaz for Ossau Iraty, a favourite of mine with a more robust flavour.

So the selection contains Cabrales, Ossau Iraty, Tomme Georgelet Cendrée, Brie de Meaux Dongé AOC and Brillat-Savarin aux Truffes.

TheKaveyEatsCheeseBoard4 ADJ

For our competition prize, one winner will receive a Kavey Eats Cheese Box, and The Cheese Boutique are also including a lovely wooden cheese board, as shown in the picture above. This prize includes delivery to any UK mainland address.

 

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 2 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, answering the following question:
Which cheeses will be on your cheeseboard this Christmas?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @KaveyF and @TheCheeseBoutiq on twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter!
Then tweet the (exact) sentence below. You don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet.
I’d love to win a cheeeboard from @TheCheeseBoutiq and Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/0WJWc #KaveyEatsCheeseboard

 

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Monday 3rd December 2012.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a selection of cheeses and a wooden cheese board, as detailed above, and includes delivery to any UK mainland address.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes is offered and provided by The Cheese Boutique.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You do not have to enter both ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For twitter entries, winners must be following @KaveyF and @TheCheeseBoutiq at the time of notification, as this will be sent by Direct Message.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or twitter (for twitter entries). If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

This competition is closed. The winner is Kirstine Meredith.

Kavey Eats received a review sample of cheeses from The Cheese Boutique.

 

November’s theme for Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream is Savoury, with the proviso that you can either make a fully savoury ice cream or simply use a savoury ingredient in a sweet ice cream.

I decided to go for the latter, by melting strong blue cheese into the no-churn condensed milk and double cream ice cream base that I discovered a few months ago.

 

It was a bit of a nightmare!

BlueCheeseIceCream-3742 BlueCheeseIceCream-3748

I slowly melted 100 gram of Roquefort into a slug of double cream (from a 600 ml pot) over a gentle heat. Once the cheese was fully melted, I mixed it with the rest of the cream, which was still cold.

BlueCheeseIceCream-3752

I thought the result was cool enough to whip so I poured it into Intergalactic Unicorn and set it beating.

BlueCheeseIceCream-3753

But it wouldn’t stiffen and just as it was finally starting to do so, it split!

I threw in the condensed milk anyway (a 250 ml tin) and mixed it all in.

It looked disgusting! Like cottage cheese. I’m not a fan of cottage cheese.

And yet it tasted gorgeous!

BlueCheeseIceCream-3754

I decided to go ahead and freeze it, just to see what happened.

BlueCheeseIceCream-3858

A couple of days later, we got it out of the freezer, and to our surprise, it made a great ice cream! The lumpy bits were a little odd in texture but perfectly edible; the smoother bits were really lovely. And the balance between salty sharp blue and caramelly condensed milk was just right and worked very well.

 

I’ll make this again, hopefully within the month, if I have time. But I’ll adjust my method (as below) to avoid splitting the cream.

 

Roquefort & Condensed Milk Ice Cream

Ingredients

100 grams Roquefort, or other strong blue cheese
600 ml double cream
1 can (250 ml) condensed milk

Adjusted Method

Next time I’ll melt the blue cheese into a little double cream and set it aside. Then I’ll whip the remainder of the cream until it’s just short of stiff, before pouring in the condensed milk and beating again. Lastly, I’ll quickly and carefully mix in the blue cheese cream, and pour into a plastic box to freeze.

 

IceCreamChallenge

Will you be making anything for BSFIC this month? Find some inspiration at my BSFIC Pinterest board.

 

Tamasin Day-Lewis’ Chicken Savoyarde recipe appeals to me for more than one reason.

Firstly, the initial part of the process is essentially how I already poach a whole chicken, so the recipe lends itself very well to being made with leftovers. (I’m sure it would work with roast chicken leftovers too).

Secondly, it features chicken, cheese, cream, white wine, mustard, bread and tarragon – what’s not to like?

And thirdly, a friend made it for me for dinner once, and I absolutely loved it!

I adapted Tamasin’s recipe by poaching my chicken in my usual slow cooker way and using only half of the meat from my smaller whole chicken, along with some of the poaching liquid stock. I also switched both the parmesan and gruyere to comte, as I had some in the freezer. And lastly, I substituted dried tarragon for fresh, as the supermarket was out of stock when I went to buy some. Apparently, there’s been a shortage!

ChickenSavoyarde-0733

This is a very simple dish and doesn’t take long to make, especially if you have a food processor to grate the cheese and make breadcrumbs.

 

Chicken Savoyarde

Adapted from original Tamasin Day-Lewis recipe, here.

Serves 3-4

Ingredients
350-400 grams leftover roast or poached chicken meat, chopped into bite sized pieces
40 grams breadcrumbs
25 grams comte cheese, grated
butter, for greasing
For the sauce
45 grams butter
35 grams plain flour
300 ml chicken stock, heated
190 ml dry white wine
170 ml double cream
75 grams comte cheese, grated
2 heaped teaspoons French mustard
2 level teaspoons dried tarragon
salt and pepper, to taste

ChickenSavoyarde-0723

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 210 degrees C.
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Keep the heat low to medium, to avoid browning.
  • Add the warm chicken stock, the white wine and the cream and stir thoroughly to combine with the flour and butter roux.
  • Stir in the cheese, mustard and tarragon. Taste and adjust seasoning.

ChickenSavoyarde-0725

  • Cook for a further 15-20 minutes, stirring regularly.
  • Meanwhile, butter a gratin dish and spread the chicken meat across the bottom.
  • Pour the sauce over the chicken.

ChickenSavoyarde-0727 ChickenSavoyarde-0729

  • If you are preparing the dish ahead of time to bake later, stop at this stage and store the dish in the fridge until ready to cook. Whilst the oven preheats, finish the preparation, as follows.
  • Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese evenly over the surface of the sauce.

ChickenSavoyarde-0730 ChickenSavoyarde-0732

  • Bake for about 25 minutes, until golden brown on top and bubbling around the edges.

ChickenSavoyarde-0734 ChickenSavoyarde-0736

This is fabulously delicious, though not one for those watching waistlines! We used the chicken fat skimmed off the poaching liquid stock to roast some potatoes to serve with the chicken.

 

Please excuse the poor quality of images, they were taken on my ancient mobile phone!

 

I’m submitting this to Can Be Bribed With Food’s new Love Food Hate Waste challenge and Fabulicious Food’s Family Friendly Fridays event.

bribedwithfoodlovefoodhatewaste badge-familyfriendlyfridays

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