Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Tipsy on Cheese - hic! (Adventures in Cheese)

Have you ever opened something which says it includes wine or spirit, only to find it smells of the drink but there's no taste of it at all? Isn't it disappointing?!

We picked up a piece of Belton Port Wine Derby and wondered if the same would happen: it didn't!

Unwrapping the beautifully veined cheese from its case, the aroma of port wine was strong enough to make my mouth water. Slicing off a piece I tentatively popped it in my mouth and immediately enjoyed the wonderful sweetness of port and the wine flavour along with the traditional Derby cheese texture. Wow! It was good!  The wine gave the cheese a fruitiness, described by its maker as "real blackcurrant undertones." 

Belton Farm, in Shropshire,  has been a cheese-making farm for more than a century, surely one of the great British cheesemakers! 

"Honestly h'officer, I've h'only been eating cheese... hic!"

PS It's also suitable for vegetarians!

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Fettled in Yorkshire (Adventures in Cheese)

Our latest Adventure in Cheese is Yorkshire Fettle, a superb substitute for Greek Feta in recipes that call for it.  Made by Shepherd's Purse near Thirsk, in North Yorkshire, this is a Mediterranean salad-style cheese, which is made with milk from English ewes and its slightly tart creaminess is perfect with olives, tomatoes and lovely fresh bread.

The Shepherd's Purse website has this to say about Yorkshire Fettle,
This is Yorkshire's version of feta. Made with whole ewes’ milk, we handmake and hand-salt each cheese to encourage the piquant, lemony flavour and slightly crumbly texture. Matured over a minimum of two weeks, the salt infuses the whole cheese. We then hand-wax each truckle to lock in the fresh flavour and creamy texture. Originally called Yorkshire Feta, we renamed it Yorkshire Fettle in 2008 due to Greece being awarded the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin). This was Judy Bell’s very first cheese, produced in 1989. It’s won international awards, and was featured on Paul Hollywood's BBC One cooking program, Pies & Puds.
All I have to add is, it's yummy, try it and see for yourself!

Chocolate Topped Flapjack

You'll know this family loves flapjack by our previous posts, and the boy keeps trying out new ideas... this time it was, "Do you think chocolate covered flapjack would work?" I said, "Try it and see!", so he did, and this is how it came out...

It tasted good too, slightly softer than our usual flapjack, so if you'd like to try it for yourself, here is how he did it...

550g oats
250g block margarine
140g sugar
1 tablespoon of Meridian organic molasses*
4 tablespoons of golden syrup
300g dark cooking chocolate
2 teaspoons of vanilla essence (use an alcohol based type not a syrup based one of the chocolate will seize when melted.)

Put the oats into a large mixing bowl. Prepare an oven proof dish or deep baking tray by greasing and lining it with baking parchment.

Put all the other ingredients into a heavy saucepan and heat until all is melted and starting to bubble. Pour the mixture carefully into the oats (it will be very hot so take care!) and mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into the baking dish and put it into the centre of the oven at Gas Mark 4 for 30 - 40 minutes.  When cooked remove from oven and allow to cool.

For the chocolate topping melt the dark chocolate into a bowl or jug, add the vanilla essence, and pour over the cooled flapjack in the baking dish. Leave to set before removing the flapjack from the baking dish. Cut into squares with a warm knife (it will cut easier if it's warm!)


*Meridian organic molasses can be found in ASDA, Holland & Barrett, and in other healthfood shops. Other supermarkets may have them too but we buy ours from the fabulous Waterside Cafe in Kendal.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Truffly cheese: Villa Truffo (Adventures in Cheese)

If you love cheese and you love truffles, this is the cheese for you!

Treur'Villa Truffo is a delicious creamy Dutch farmhouse cheese made with unpasteurised milk and traditional rennet, with the addition of  Black Italian Truffles. Known as Truffle Gouda, it is ripened on wooden planks for only 8 weeks, and comes sealed in a black wax coating.  It is perfect with rosemary crackers or fresh bread. Mmmm!

Villa Truffo won two Gold Stars at the 2013 Great Taste Awards. The Judge's comment was: "A special farmhouse cheese with a beautiful look and a nice creamy texture. The aroma of truffle is amazing!"

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Leftover Mash Frittata

We had some leftover mashed potatoes and didn't fancy potato cakes, so how to use them up?  The Son disappeared into the kitchen, followed by lots of rattling and clinking noises, and reappeared half an hour later with a plate, a fork, and the instructions to "try this Mum", so I did and it was very tasty!

This is how he made it:

Leftover Mash Frittata


4 medium eggs
1 cup leftover mash
4 green olives mashed
1 cm salami cut into small cubes
2 green chillies - remove any stalk and finely mash with seeds

Put all ingredients except eggs into a bowl and mix well. Crack eggs into same bowl and mix well.  Put a little olive oil into an omelette or frying pan to prevent sticking. Pour in egg/mash mixture when pan is very hot. Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes. Serves 2-4.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Salmon and Courgette Rice

Another of our experimental recipes, this was very tasty, and by not over-cooking the vegetables they don't go soggy. The secret is to cook them quickly in very hot oil to retain their crispness and individual flavours.

Salmon and Courgette Rice  Serves up to 4


1 cup (250g) Arborio or Risotto rice
1 medium sized courgette, sliced
1 stick celery, sliced into small pieces
4 round radishes
1 red  Jalapeño or Anaheim pepper, sliced in to rings (discard seeds if you don't like it too hot)
1 cup sliced fresh or frozen green beans
1 small onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 green OXO cube
6 black olives, halved
1 small salmon steak
1 sachet of Oyster and Spring onion sauce (Aldi or Blue Dragon)
Boiling water as needed for stock
A little olive oil for the wok / frying pan to prevent sticking

All in one pan method: 
Put oil into wok and heat quickly, add onion, garlic, pepper and green beans and cook for 2-3 minutes, add olives, cougette, radishes  and celery and cook for further 2 minutes, add rice and sufficient water to cover rice plus the OXO cube, cook for 10 minutes or until the rice has absorbed most of the liquid. Make sure it doesn't start to stick. (Tip: don't over-stir the rice, it tends to start to break down and go very starchy if you do.) Once the rice is cooked mix in the oyster and spring onion sauce (rinse sachet out with a little boiling water) and flake in the salmon steak (Tip: pop the steak into a bowl and break it up with a fork until it makes small pieces.)  Once salmon and sauce is heated through serve in bowls. Enjoy!

Two-pan method:
If you don't have a large enough wok to cook this as we did above you can steam or boil the rice in a separate pan, cook everything else as above, and then combine the rice at the end. Alternatively, you can serve it so the rice forms a bed on which the salmon and courgette mix sits. Whichever suits you best - it's not cast in stone!