Smoked Salmon & Leek Macaroni Cheese

PARTNEREDPOSTFor most of our shallow frying, Pete and I use a combination of vegetable oil and butter. We love butter for its rich flavour but it burns easily whereas vegetable oils can be heated to a higher temperature without smoking or burning; mixing butter into oil gives us the best of both worlds. A light olive oil is a good choice, neutral in flavour and perfect for cooking.

Today it’s not unusual to have at least one if not two bottles of olive oil in the kitchen cupboard – a regular one for cooking and a richer extra virgin one for salad dressings and drizzling over carpaccio or cheese – and there is much shelf space given to olive oil in most supermarkets. But when I was a kid, it wasn’t so easy to find good quality Italian olive oil here in the UK. Bertolli is one of the brands that has been available in the UK, and respected for its quality and consistency, for as long as I can remember. Far longer than I could possibly remember, in fact – it was founded in Tuscany back in 1865!

One of the products that wasn’t available during my childhood was olive oil in spreadable form. Bertolli make an Original and Light olive oil spread, both made using good quality olive oil. The latest in the range is their Bertolli with Butter, a spreadable combination of olive oil and butter. Of course, you can use it in place of butter – in sandwiches or on jacket potatoes, and in many varied sweet and savoury recipes. Indeed, Gennaro Contaldo recently worked with Bertolli to create a range of pasta recipes that are quick and easy to make, and taste delicious.

Pasta is at the heart of many of our favourite recipes – especially during colder and darker months when rich, warming comfort foods are the order of the day.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats 3

I’ve heard people say that making macaroni cheese from scratch is far too time consuming or difficult but it’s actually not that complicated and it doesn’t take hugely long either. And it’s one of those dishes that’s really so much better homemade!

Bertolli have a lovely recipe for macaroni cheese with prosciutto and leeks which we’ve adapted by substituting smoked salmon for the ham. This is very much inspired by a fabulous lunch at Mat Follas’ Bramble Cafe a few months ago.

Previously, we’ve always made white sauce by cooking the flour and butter together first to make a roux, and then adding the milk. For a cheese sauce, cheese is simply stirred and melted in to the white sauce. Bertolli’s recipe shortcuts the white sauce by heating butter, flour and milk all at once and to our surprise, it doesn’t result in lumpy sauce – it’s just as silky smooth as the traditional way! Thanks to Bertolli for this wonderful tip; we’ll be making all our white sauce bases this way from now on.

Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats 2

Smoked Salmon & Leek Macaroni Cheese Recipe

Adapted from Bertolli’s recipe

Prep 15 mins | Cook 20 mins | Serves 4 | Skill Easy

Ingredients
250 g macaroni or pasta of your choice
15 g Bertolli with Butter
1 small leek, sliced into thin discs
100 g smoked salmon, chopped into thin strips 2-3 cm long
For the cheese sauce
50 g Bertolli with Butter
50 g plain flour
600 ml semi-skimmed milk
0.5 tsp English mustard powder or 1 teaspoon mustard
175 g mature cheddar cheese, grated
25 g Parmesan cheese, grated

Note: This recipe works best with a hollow pasta which the cheese sauce can easily fill. Instead of macaroni, we use penne rigate (ridged tubes cut on the angle, slightly larger in diameter than macaroni).

Method

  • Cook pasta according to packet instructions in boiling salted water. Drain well.
  • Meanwhile melt the Bertolli with Butter and sauté leek until softened. Set aside.
  • Make cheese sauce by placing Bertolli with Butter, flour and milk in a large saucepan and bring to boil, whisking continuously.
  • Make sure your grill shelf allows for the size of the ovenproof dish you are using, then preheat the grill to medium high.
  • Add Cheddar cheese and mustard to the saucepan and stir until completely melted into the sauce.
  • Stir in the cooked pasta, leeks and smoked salmon and mix through well.
  • Pour into an ovenproof dish and sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan.
  • Place ovenproof dish under the grill until golden brown and bubbling.
  • Serve immediately.

If you’d like to serve a side dish with this, I’d recommend either a crisp green salad with a simple homemade vinaigrette dressing or a simple stir fry of courgettes or green beans in butter and garlic.

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Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats 1

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Smoked Salmon and Leek Macaroni Cheese on Kavey Eats (Tall Pin)

Kavey Eats was commissioned by Bertolli to develop and publish this recipe.

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Mat Follas’ Four Cheese Cauliflower Cheese

A few days ago I shared my review of Mat Follas’ new cookbook, Vegetable Perfection published by Ryland Peters & Small. Click through to read more and to enter my giveaway to win your own copy of the book.

The book shares over 100 vegetarian recipes using the ‘roots, bulbs, shoots and stems’ of a wide variety of vegetables. The recipes are perfect for home cooks, created in a domestic kitchen using domestic kitchen equipment and as such, they are not only delicious but very achievable.

Pete and I have thus far made three recipes from the book, Mat’s Mushroom Toad-in-the-hole, his Homemade baked beans and the recipe I’m sharing with you today, his Four Cheese Cauliflower Cheese. We really liked all three but this one is my favourite so far.

We made half the quantity, which very generously served two.

Cauliflower Cheese from Vegetable Perfection by Mat Follas (mini)

Mat labels this recipe simply as Cauliflower Cheese, but to me that understates the sheer indulgence and tastiness of his use of four different cheeses to create a really complex and cheesy sauce, so I’m embellishing the name to suit its nature!

Mat Follas’ Four Cheese Cauliflower Cheese

Extracted from Vegetable Perfection with permission

This recipe is all about the cheese. Don’t panic if you don’t have all four cheeses, just increase the amount of cheeses you do have to the same overall weight. However, if you do have all four, the combination of their flavours and textures makes an amazing sticky lava flow of cheese that cannot be beaten.

Ingredients
2 large cauliflowers
30 g butter
30 g plain flour
500 ml whole milk
100 g grated strong Cheddar cheese
100 g grated Gruyère cheese
50 g grated Parmesan cheese
120 g sliced mozzarella cheese
1–2 teaspoons English mustard
1–2 splashes of Tabasco sauce, to season
a pinch of smoked paprika
table salt, to season
olive oil, to coat
(Optional) tomato salad, to serve

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.
  • Prepare the cauliflower by trimming the leaves off, then slicing across the base in 2-cm slices, like slicing a loaf of bread. Lightly oil the cauliflower slices on both sides and season with a little salt.
  • Preheat a griddle pan over a medium heat, then cook the cauliflower slices for 2–3 minutes on each side, to just char and par-cook them. This should leave the cauliflower cooked one-third of the way through on each side.
  • Lay the slices in a casserole dish, overlapping to fit them all in.
  • To make the sauce, begin by making a roux. Put the butter and flour in a dry saucepan and set over a medium heat until the mixture forms crumbs and is just starting to colour. Slowly, add about 125 ml of milk and whisk to combine into a smooth, thick paste. With the pan still on the heat, keep adding the milk 125 ml at a time and whisk together to combine until all of the milk has been added to the sauce and it is thin and smooth.
  • Reduce to a low heat and add two-thirds of the Cheddar, Gruyère and
  • Parmesan cheeses to the sauce. Whisk gently until the sauce is smooth, then add the mozzarella cheese. Whisk until the cheese has melted and you have a smooth sauce.
  • Add a large teaspoon of mustard, a generous splash of Tabasco sauce and a pinch of salt, and whisk together. Taste the sauce and add more mustard, Tabasco sauce or salt as you like it.
  • Pour the sauce over the cauliflower, then sprinkle the remaining cheese over and finish with the smoked paprika to decorate and add a hint of smoke. At this stage, you can store the cauliflower cheese in a fridge for up to 2 days.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes (20 minutes if it has been chilled in the fridge). Check that it is cooked by probing with a fork to ensure there is no hard centre. Turn the oven up to 200°C (400°F) Gas 6 for 5 minutes to brown the cheese topping.
  • Serve 2–3 slices of cauliflower with the sauce per person with a tomato salad on the side.

 

Kavey Eats received a review copy of Vegetable Perfection from Ryland Peters & Small and was given permission to publish this extracted recipe. Vegetable Perfection by Mat Follas (photography by Steve Painter) is currently available from Amazon for £14.88 (RRP £16.99).

Parmesan & Paprika Potato Waffles

When you have a waffle maker, everything looks like a waffle!’ So says a dear friend of mine and I reckon he’s not wrong.

It’s full steam ahead on the waffle wagon here at Kavey Eats and today it’s the turn of the humble potato. Our first experiment with potato waffles used mash potato mixed with egg, a little flour, a little cheese and seasoning. The idea worked pretty well but the waffles were a bit of a faff to make, a little bland and they didn’t crisp up as we’d hoped.

So my next thought was to try the potato rösti route. I recently had great success in adapting potato rösti into a pizza base, so I was hopeful it would make a great waffle.

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For our first attempt we completely winged it, guestimating quantities and method by eye, and assuming we’d need to tweak the recipe at least once or twice before it was ready to share. But we totally nailed it on the first attempt and I’m urging you to make these for yourself and tell us what you think!

You need just three core ingredients plus a little oil to create these crispy-surfaced, gooey-centred waffles with a gentle smoky flavour and heat from the paprika.

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Parmesan & Paprika Potato Waffles

Makes 4 waffles in the Smart Waffle maker

Ingredients
500 g raw potato, grated
2 tbs vegetable oil
100 g parmesan, finely grated
1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Note: I used La Chinata smoked paprika which has a wonderful flavour and a nice kick of heat.

Method

  • Preheat the waffle maker.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil through the grated potato and microwave until soft; 3-4 minutes.
  • Mix the paprika through the grated cheese and then add to the cooked potato.

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  • Mix well to distribute cheese throughout the mix.
  • Spoon a quarter of the mix into each side of the waffle maker and close, and leave to cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove and set aside on a hot dish or in a very low temperature oven for a few minutes until all the waffles are ready.
  • Repeat with second half of the mixture.
  • Serve hot and crisp!

Parmesan Paprika Potato Waffles - Kavey Eats (2)

You may also enjoy these savoury waffle recipes from fellow food bloggers:

 

Kavey Eats received a Sage by Heston Blumenthal The Smart Waffle for review. As always, I was not expected to write a positive review; all opinions are my own and I recommend only products I truly believe in. This post contains affiliate links; please see my sidebar for further information.

Grow Buy Cook Eat | Niagara-on-the-Lake

Do you know Niagara-on-the-Lake?

No? Well you can probably guess a couple of things about it at least – that it’s near Niagara Falls, and that it’s on the shores of a lake! That’s all I knew too, but last autumn I visited for myself, and discovered a lot more.

What I came away with, as well as an appreciation of the warmth of the local population and the beauty of the landscape, was some serious envy about the quality and variety of fresh produce grown here. Readily available directly from the farm, at farmers markets and in local stores, it’s put to fantastic use by local producers, restaurateurs and home chefs.

Inn the Pines Farmgate Shop

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Very much a farming community, many of the farms have a farmgate shop – exactly what it sounds like, a shop or stall from which farmers sell direct to their customers just yards from where the produce is grown.

We stopped at Inn the Pines in St. Catharines to admire their produce, watch happily squawking chickens enjoy freshly harvested corn on the cob, and chat to owners Cheryl and Barney Barnes – that’s Barney posing on the back of his pickup and feeding the chooks. As we learned a little about some of the produce they grow and sell to both restaurateurs and home cooks, an elderly couple arrived to buy corn by the barrow-load, deftly peeling away the husks which will no doubt be thrown onto a nearby compost heap and bemused by my request to take a photo.

There’s something rather special about buying produce direct from the farmers; one of the things I can’t help but envy, as a London-based city slicker.

Whitty Farms & 13th Street Bakery

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Whitty Farms is another local farm just outside  St. Catharines, and like Inn the Pines, has been handed down through the generations. Today, it’s the turn of Doug and Karen Whitty, and just like Inn the Pines, customers can buy direct from the farm.

But there’s another treat not to be missed alongside all the fresh produce and that’s the output of 13th Street Bakery. Their butter tart may be a contender for best in Niagara, if not all of Ontario or indeed the entirety of Canada; if anyone is looking for someone to do a more comprehensive survey, point me at the application form right now!

Butter Tarts are a much-loved treat across Canada and there’s hot debate on just what a good butter tart should (and shouldn’t) be. A basic butter tart has a filling of butter, sugar, syrup and egg baked in a flaky pastry casing, often with the addition of Canadian maple syrup. Purists eschew the addition of pecan nuts or raisins, let alone anything more exotic . It’s less clear cut whether ‘traditional’ allows for a firmer or softer filling but the ongoing argument is a good excuse to taste as many examples as possible.

The Whittys, with their friends John and June Mann also set up 13th Street Winery at the same site, more of which in an upcoming post.

Upper Canada Cheese Company

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Another favourite stop for me as a cheese addict, Upper Canada Cheese Company in Jordan Station is a small local creamery producing a range of cheeses from the milk of local Guernsey cows and goats.

We tried a selection including Niagara Gold, a semi-firm washed-rind based on traditional Loire Valley cheeses, Comfort Cream, a camembert-style soft bloomed rind cheese which is best when super ripe, the maple-smoked version of Jordan Station, another semi-firm cheese and Nanny Noir, a goats milk camembert-style cheese rolled in vegetable ash and allowed to ripen for four weeks. We also tried an experimental new blue cheese – great flavour but some more work needed on the texture.

This is everything you want of a cheese shop – great cheeses and very helpful staff happy to give tasters and help every customer find just the cheese (or cheeses) they need.

White Meadows Farms Maple Shop

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Maple syrup is produced across quite a swathe of Canada and I had already tasted and purchased a lot of it during the few days I spent in Montreal and Quebec, before heading down to Niagara. (So much, in fact, that my case was overweight and I had to post a box of goodies home to myself, thus instantly rendering my bargainous purchases into some of the most expensive maple syrup ever!)

But I was still keen as maple-mustard to visit White Meadows Farms and sample their four grades of maple syrup, and to taste their range of maple syrup products – sauces and mustards, vinegars and salad dressings,  maple sugar and maple butter (maple syrup boiled until it’s dry and whipped into a spreadable form, respectively), fruit and maple jams, and of course, traditional maple candies.

Maple syrup, made from sap collected from maple trees, is graded by colour into Light, Medium, Amber and Dark. Canadian maple syrup must be 100% maple sap, and the finished product must have a sugar level of 66%, achieved by boiling natural sap to evaporate the water content which thickens the consistency and concentrates the sugars. The boiled syrup is then filtered before being packaged for sale. The colour is governed by the sap, with early season sap usually producing the lightest finished syrup. Dark is harder to find, as it’s produced right at the end of the season when the sap is at its richest and the strong flavour is not to everyone’s taste.

Dark proved to my favourite, and I bought a few bottles to bring home.

Welland Farmers’ Market

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Wellands Farmers’ Market is not as huge as the amazing markets I visited in Montreal and Quebec but it’s the perfect place to buy local produce, and there’s a great selection. However, I was focused on just one main ingredient, after our hosts chefs Anna and Michael Olson set us a cooking challenge! More on that cooking experience in an upcoming post…

The best thing about the market, aside from the top quality produce itself, were the very friendly stall holders, keen to tell us about their goods and to welcome us to their town.

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The market consists of two main buildings dating from 1919, and some outdoor marquees as well. Alongside fruits and vegetables you can find fresh meat and eggs, charcuterie, local honeys, fresh baked goods, cheese, chocolates, flowers and wine.

Kavey Eats visited Ontario as a guest of Destinations Canada. With additional thanks to Anna and Michael Olson for being our hosts, and Diane Helinski for being our tour manager and guide.

Gouda Gracious Me! Top Quality Dutch Cheese + Reader Giveaway (Closed)

Dutch cheese Gouda has a bit of an image problem in the UK, often dismissed as a somewhat boring cheese. This is no doubt because our opinions are based on the young mass-produced Gouda which has most commonly been available here in the UK in recent decades.

But, like many cheese, the best Gouda is absolutely terrific!

Kaashandel Peters aka the goudacheeseshop.com is a family business based in Harderwijk, about 40 miles East of Amsterdam. They specialise in selling high quality Dutch cheeses to both consumers and catering customers and since the launch of their web shop in 2009, have also been able to sell cheese to customers across Europe. The cheeses are cut into segments and vacuum-packed, making them suitable to store for at least 6 weeks, which means delivery to the UK is perfectly feasible.

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The Best Three is a selection of Kaashandel Peters’ top three Gouda cheeses, 500 grams of each and sells for €23.50 (plus shipping).

The three cheeses from left to right in both images above are Boeren Belegen – Stolwijker Kaas (farmhouse 6-month matured gouda from the Stolwijker region), Belegen Goudse Kaas (gouda matured for 16-18 weeks) and Oude Peter Goudse Kaas – Extra Kwaliteit (high quality gouda matured for 14 months)

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REVIEW

Boeren Belegen – Stolwijker Kaas

  • The Dutch term Boerenkaas translates as Farmer’s cheese and is a protected designation that can only be produced by Dutch farms to a traditional recipe. This cheese is made from fresh rather than pasteurised milk and is matured for about six months.
  • This was not disimilar in flavour to the Belegen Goudse Kaas (below) and had the same rich and creamy texture, but the flavour had a wonderful nuttiness too, and was significantly stronger. This reminded me of a good quality mature cheddar.

Belegen Goudse Kaas

  • This gouda has been matured for 16-18 weeks, less than the other two cheeses, but more than the youngest gouda available.
  • As you would expect, we found this the mildest of the three, a less complex flavour but still rich, creamy and with good flavour. It had a hint of sweetness and a little grassiness too.

Oude Peter Goudse Kaas – Extra Kwaliteit

  • This is a particularly high quality gouda that has been matured for 14 months.
  • Unsurprisingly, this was the strongest of the three cheeses with a pronounced (and gorgeous) nutty flavour, some crystaline salt texture but still a lot of creaminess in the mouth. A truly superb cheese and one that I’d happily choose for a special occasion cheese board.

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GIVEAWAY

It’s my pleasure to join  with Kaashandel Peters in giving away three sets of the above three cheeses to readers of Kavey Eats! Delivery to any address within the EU is included.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the giveaway in 2 ways – entering both ways gives you double the chance of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment telling me about your favourite hard cheese – what’s it called and where is it from?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the exact sentence (shown in italics) below.
I’d love to win three gorgeous Gouda cheeses from @goudsekaasshop and Kavey Eats! http://bit.ly/KaveyEatsGouda #KaveyEatsGouda
(Do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track twitter entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 24th April 2015.
  • The 3 winners will be selected from all valid entries (across blog and twitter) 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 Kaashandel Peters’ The Best Three selection, including the three cheeses listed. Delivery to any address within the EU is included.
  • The prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and provided by Kaashandel Peters.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for each individual entry to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or via Twitter so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message. If no response is received from a winner within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received samples cheeses from Kaashandel Peters and was reimbursed for my time. All opinions my own, as always.

The winners for this competition are Jackie ONeill and Philip Wright (blog entries) and @anglesey42 (twitter entry).

The Pong Christmas Explorer Box of Cheese + Competition (Closed)

It’s no secret that I adore cheese. I’ve even been known to spend more on cheese for Christmas day than on presents for the husband. What? He eats it too!

Most often I buy my cheese in person, both from the supermarket and cheesemongers like Neal’s Yard Dairy. But I’ve also bought online, especially when I’ve fancied sending cheese as a gift.

I live in hope that friends will take the hint and send (good quality) cheese back to me, but I’m still waiting…

My online cheese shop of choice is Pong, who I first encountered back in 2009, when they (like Kavey Eats) were a young start-up. Indeed, I gave them the idea for both their Ultimate Pong Box and their New Mum’s Box (for mum’s desperate for their favourite stinky unpasteurised cheeses after a long nine without), both of which, they have said, are enormously popular. Kudos, me! I’ve enjoyed their cheese many times since then and it’s always impressed me as tasty, tasty cheese.

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my happy delivery

Today, I’m bringing you their Pong Christmas Explorer Box, a super selection for your seasonal cheese board. (Try saying that fast after a glass or two of port!)

For £29.95 + delivery, this box provides over a kilo of fabulous cheese in the form of Langres AOC, Cropwell Bishop Shropshire Blue, St Maure de Touraine, Lincolnshire Poacher and Wyfe of Bath. Yep, sounds bloody marvellous to me too!

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from Pong’s website

COMPETITION

Pong are offering one reader of Kavey Eats a Pong Christmas Explorer Box of delicious cheese, including UK Mainland delivery.

OFFER

In addition to the competition, we’ve created a code to give you all a tasty 10% off your orders (excluding delivery).  Enter PONGKAVEY10 into the Discount Code box during checkout. Active through December 31st 2014.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways – the more ways you enter, the higher your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, telling me which three cheeses you’d pick for your seasonal cheese board.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey and @PongCheese on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win a @PongCheese Christmas Explorer Box from Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/n0D0Ut #KaveyEatsPongCheese
(Do not add the @Kavey twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

Entry 3 – Instagram
Share an image of a tasty piece of cheese via your Instagram feed. In the caption include the instagram usernames @KaveyF and @PongCheeseUK and both hashtags #KaveyEatsPongCheese and #PongChristmas.

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Wednesday 10th December 2014.
  • 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 (across blog, twitter and instagram) 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 Pong Cheese’s Christmas Explorer Box and includes delivery within the UK Mainland.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Pong Cheese.
  • Pong Cheese will do their best to deliver before 25th December, but please note that this is not guaranteed.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Instagram entry per person only. You may enter all three ways but you do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey and @PongCheese at the time of notification. For Instagram entries, winners must be following @KaveyF and @PongCheeseUK at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Instagram so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message. If no response is received from a winner within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received review products from Pong Cheese.

The winner of this competition is Mark Hampton (blog entry).

A Seasonal Variation: Butternut Squash, Black Garlic & Blue Cheese Bake

I don’t usually make Halloween dishes.

But I had a crate full of home-grown butternut squash in my kitchen when a friend of mine gave me a block of his home-made black garlic cheese. The handover, in a central London coffee shop, probably looked like an illicit drug tryst – the cheese resembled a very large block of resin – but cheese is my drug of choice these days!

Immediately, the orange and black colours of Halloween popped into my mind and I decided to adapt the recipe for ever popular Pete’s Cheesey Potato Bake into a Butternut Squash, Black Garlic & Blue Cheese Bake. (I added blue cheese to the black garlic cheese to give a more salty kick).

Of course, few of us make cheese from scratch at home but there are many recipes on the web that show you how to make American processed cheese slices from a combination of regular cheese, dry milk powder, milk and gelatin. I can’t give away my friend’s confidential recipe for his black garlic cheese, but you could experiment with the addition of black garlic to one of these recipes.

Because I liked the idea of the orange and black appearance, we layered the blue cheese below and the butternut squash and black garlic cheese on top, but if you use regular cheeses, you can mix all the ingredients together in the dish.

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Butternut Squash, Black Garlic & Blue Cheese Bake

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 medium butternut squash
100 grams black garlic cheese
200 grams strong blue cheese (we used Stilton)

Method

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  • Peel the butternut squash, halve and scrape out the seeds and pulp from the centre. Cube the flesh and add to a pan.

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  • Parboil the squash by bringing the water to the boil and let the squash cook for a further five minutes, remove from the heat and set aside.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 C (fan).
  • Chop the blue cheese into small pieces and scatter along the bottom of two individual baking dishes (or one larger dish).

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  • Spread the squash over the top.
  • Cube the black garlic cheese, and scatter over the squash.

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  • Bake for about 40 minutes, until the squash is cooked through and the cheese on top has melted.
  • Serve hot.

Of course, if you don’t have black garlic cheese (and don’t fancy making your own) you can enjoy the delicious combination of sweet butternut squash and salty cheese with any combination of cheeses you like.

Other winter squash / pumpkin ideas:

I’m also entering this post into the following blog challenges: Shaheen’s Vegetable Palette, Ren’s Simple and in Season, Hannah’s Credit Crunch Munch by Helen and Camilla), Emily’s Extra Veg (founded by Helen and Michelle), Nayna’s Let’s Cook for Halloween, Vohn’s No Waste Food Challenge (founded by Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary) and Sarah and Katie’s Speedy Suppers (though I’m bending the rules a touch on cooking time, the prep is so quick and easy, I hope they won’t mind).

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Pete’s Courgette, Blue Cheese & Cherry Tomato Quiche

PetecourgettePete came into the house one recent Monday evening with an overgrown courgette from the back garden, brandishing it in the manner of a cartoon caveman and his trusty club.

The quiche he made with half of it the next evening was so fantastic that I begged him to make it again the next night. Begged!

My cries went unheeded for three whole days! He made me wait till Friday before he gave in and made it again. And yes, it was just as delicious.

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Be warned though, even though the courgette is salted and squeezed out before cooking, it still releases moisture during cooking and creates a bit of a soggy bottom. Mary Berry might not approve but it didn’t bother us a bit!

 

Pete’s Courgette, Blue Cheese & Cherry Tomato Quiche

Ingredients
1 packet (320 grams) ready rolled shortcrust pastry
500g grated courgette
100g blue cheese (we used Stilton but any good blue will be fine)
2 large eggs
200ml single cream
Handful cherry tomatoes

Note: of course you can make your own shortcrust pastry, or buy it in block format and roll it yourself. From a 320 gram packet, there will be a little leftover, which you could use to make jam tarts or individual pies.

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 200 °C (fan).
  • Line an 9 inch (23 cm) flan dish with the pastry. The rolled sheet will be slightly too narrow so cut off one end and use to complete the circle.
  • Line with foil or parchment, fill with baking beads (or rice) and blind bake until golden; about 15-20 minutes/
  • Grate the courgette, add a teaspoon of salt, mix well and leave to drain in a sieve or muslin draining bag for about an hour.

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  • Once the tart case is baked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool down.
  • When ready to assemble and bake the quiche, preheat the oven to 170 °C (fan).
  • Crumble the blue cheese across the base.

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  • Squeeze as much water as you can from the grated courgette and layer over the blue cheese.

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  • Beat the eggs and cream together.
  • Pour the eggs and cream gently over the courgette  and blue cheese.
  • Halve the cherry tomatoes and place onto the tart, cut face up.

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  • Bake for 30-40 minutes until the filling has firmed up and taken on a little golden brown colour.

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  • Best enjoyed hot but can also be served warm or cold.

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For more courgette recipes on Kavey Eats see:

For courgette inspiration from others, see my suggestions at the bottom of this post.

Quick Courgette & Blue Cheese Soup | Made in a Power Blender

I guess I’m like a kid with a new toy at the moment. Here’s another power blender recipe for you, made once again in my Froothie Optimum 9400 blender.

We’re in the midst of a courgette glut (something I’m very happy about as I love them and feel rather sad in those occasional years when our harvest fails). This quick and tasty soup recipe is a great way to use courgettes. It’s also the perfect choice for the courgettes you failed to spot and which grew a bit larger than you intended; of course, you can make it with smaller courgettes too!

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Quick Courgette & Blue Cheese Soup | Made in a Power Blender

Serves 2

Ingredients
850 grams roughly diced courgette (weight after removing ends and scooping out seeds)
75-100 grams strong blue cheese
30-50 ml double cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  • Place courgette into blender jug. Pulse until courgette has been liquidised. You may need to pause between pulsing once or twice to shake the jug, and help distribute the courgette to within the blade’s reach. Don’t be tempted to add water, as it’s not necessary (and you don’t want to water down the flavour of your finished soup).
  • Once the courgette has been liquidised, add the blue cheese and cream and switch on the blender, ramping it up to the highest speed.
  • Leave it running for 6-7 minutes until the soup is piping hot.
  • Taste and add seasoning, blend for another few seconds and taste again.
  • Serve immediately.
  • Great with fresh bread or toast.

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Check out these posts for more great power blender soup recipes:

 

Kavey Eats received an Optimum 9400 blender from Froothie. Kavey Eats is a member of the Froothie brand ambassador programme, but under no obligation to share positive reviews. All opinions published on Kavey Eats are 100% honest feedback.

Special Offer: For an additional 2 years warranty free of charge on any Optimum appliance purchased, follow this link, choose your Optimum product and enter coupon code “Special Ambassador Offer” on checkout.

Courgette, Goat’s Cheese & Mint Frittata

As a late comer to making frittata my enthusiasm for this simple dish is as yet unabated. Its versatility is particularly welcome in this hot and muggy weather – it can serve as breakfast, lunch, dinner or an anytime-snack and is just as good hot or cold. And of course, the variations are endless, making it easy to use different seasonal combinations throughout the year.

Facing the annual courgette glut (a bounty I wholeheartedly welcome), a frittata leapt immediately to mind when thinking of how best to enjoy our harvest.

I love the combination of courgette and mint, and knew a tangy creamy goat’s cheese would balance the sweetness of courgette.

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Courgette, Goat’s Cheese & Mint Frittata

Serves 4-6

Ingredients
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, for cooking
500 grams courgette, washed and diced into approximately 1 cm cubes
Salt and pepper
Handful mint leaves, washed and finely chopped
6 large eggs, beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
150 grams of soft goat’s cheese, chopped into small pieces

Method

  • Heat the vegetable oil in large frying pan or sauté pan that is suitable for use on stovetop and under the grill.
  • Add courgettes, seasoning with a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper and the mint leaves.
  • Cook for several minutes until the courgette is cooked all the way through.
  • Switch on your grill to preheat, on a high setting.
  • Pour the beaten egg into the pan and about a third of the goat’s cheese, mix gently and allow to cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Use a spatula to pull the egg in a little from the edges of the pan and cook for another couple of minutes.
  • To check whether the base has set, shake the pan to check whether the frittata is starting to come loose; if it hasn’t, give it another minute or two on the hob.
  • Spread the remaining goat’s cheese across the top of the egg and courgette mix.
  • Transfer the pan to the grill and cook for a few minutes, until the egg has set and the goat’s cheese has taken on some colour.
  • Remove from the grill and give the pan another shake. The frittata should now be loose on the bottom of the pan; if it’s not quite loose, use a spatula to help free it.
  • Place a large plate over the pan and flip to turn the frittata out. I like the goat’s cheese to show on top, so use a second plate to turn it the right way up again.
  • The frittata can be enjoyed piping hot, warm or cold from the fridge. Slice into wedges to serve.

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Here are more great frittata ideas:

What are your favourite ingredients to add into a frittata?