It’s British Cheese Week from the 26th of September – 4th October 2009 . I am happily obsessed with cheese , the best thing to try when you travel around Britain – Hard , Soft , Cows & Goats- I always go for the cheese course rather than a desert course . After the East Midlands Food Festival I was fully stocked on many goodies including some fabulous regional cheeses.
From Right to Left ( Picture at the top)
Sparkhenhoe Red Leceister from the Leicestershire Handmade Cheese Company is the only Leicester now being made in Leicestershire. The first handmade cheese to be made on a Leicestershire farm since 1956. The beautifuly red colour comes from annatto , a natural plant dye obtained from a South American bush. Sparkenhoe is an old Leicestershire name meaning gorsey nob. This relates to the farm rather than the cheese which taste nothing like the strange mushy orange red Leceisters you see in supermarkets. My lovely boyfreind even had a chat with them about a cheesemaking post they have available.
Lincolnshire Poacher continues to win awards on the eastern edge of the beautiful Lincolnshire Wolds for it’s cheese made from unpasteurised milk matured for about 14 to 16 months. It is a very hard cheese with an upfront rich full flavour. Smoked and vintage versions are also available.
Finally Y-Feni ( named for the town where is is made Y-Feni/Abergavenny – for which I have a massive soft spot ) a mature cheddar cheese blended with whole-grain mustard and Welsh ale. I not usually a fan of cheese with bits added ( ginger, apricots, even bizarrely christmas pudding apparently) but this is just delicious and would make an excellent welsh rarebit topping which presumably is where the inspiration comes from.
I even made some mini oatcakes , easy to make nutty but not too crumbly, not sure why it has never occurred to me to make something like this before much quicker than bread , they are cooled and ready to eat in 10 minutes.
With cheese I like a little chutney fortunately there was an excellent selection at the food festival
200g rolled oats
6 tablespoons plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 heaped tbsp of unsalted butter
150ml of milk
- Preheat the oven to 190degC
- Put the oats into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add flour, salt, pepper, rosemary, baking powder, and butter and pulse until mixture resembles a crumble mix.
- Add milk and pulse until a dough forms
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1mm thick cut into 5cm rounds
- Arrange oatcakes on baking sheets ( they don’t spread so can be quite close)
- Bake in middle of oven 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly brown
- Transfer oatcakes to a rack and cool completely.