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Archive for the ‘Cheese’ Category

Spring Onion Quesadillas with Guacamole SaladWe really miss cooking for friends and family which is what we do almost every weekend (and some other nights too!). So instead of prepping for the evening we’ve been making more of an effort at lunch. Last week we had these unusual quesadillas outside in the sunshine, sure beats lunch at the desk!

Spring onion quesadillas with guacamole salsa – serves 2

  • 10 scallions, trimmed
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp
  • 2 soft flour tortillas
  • 10 slices of jalapeño chilli (from a jar)
  • 85g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 avocado, halved, and peeled
  • small pack of coriander, plus extra leaves to serve
  • ½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways and sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 Little Gem lettuces, cut into thin wedges (we used a bag of peppery salad leaves as that’s what we had)

Bring a pot of water to the boil and add the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender, then drain and run under cold water. Set aside to dry on kitchen paper.

Toast the pumpkin seeds in a hot dry pan until slightly golden, then tip into a bowl and leave to cool.

Heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Drizzle the scallions with a tsp of the olive oil and season. Griddle for a couple of minutes on each side until lightly charred.

We find it much easier to lay the ingredients over half of the tortilla then fold over the top and cook on either side but you can lay all the ingredients on one tortilla, then top with the other one, it will be trickier to turn though.

Lay the spring onions over each tortilla. Sprinkle over the jalapeños and the cheese, then fold the rest of the tortilla over and press together, brush the outside lightly with oil. Cook in the griddle pan for a minute or two on each side or until the cheese has melted and the outside is crisp.

Meanwhile, whizz 1 tbsp of oil, the avocado, lime juice, coriander and 1 tbsp of water together to make a dressing. Season, then toss with the cucumber and lettuce. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and the rest of the coriander leaves.  Serve with the quesadillas.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Fontina, Prosciutto & Sage French Toasts

One benefit from working at home is all the nice lunches we can make. Mostly using bits and bobs from the fridge. These French toast sambos are great and you can experiment with the filling, though we reckon cheese is a must.

Fontina, prosciutto and sage-stuffed French toast – serves 4

  • 8 slices of crusty bread
  • 300g fontina (we used Gruyere), sliced
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • a few sage leaves
  • 2 eggs, beaten and seasoned
  • butter for frying

Put layers of the cheese, prosciutto and sage onto 4 slices of the bread. Cover with the rest of the bread to make sandwiches, then dip into the beaten egg, soaking on both sides.

Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan and fry the sandwiches. Press down on them as they cook until browned on both sides and the cheese has melted.

(Original recipe by Janine Ratcliffe in Olive Magazine, May 2014.)

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Cauliflower Cheese

I don’t remember not knowing how to make this, and therefore presume that everyone else does too. Here’s the recipe in case you don’t have it in your head. Sorry about the imperial measurements but that’s how my Mum taught me.

Jules’ Cauliflower Cheese – serves 4-6

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 oz butter
  • 2 oz flour
  • 1 pint of full cream milk
  • 3 large handfuls of grated mature cheddar cheese

Steam the cauliflower until tender when pierced with a sharp knife. Start checking after 5 minutes and be careful not to overcook.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the flour and stir for a minute or two over a medium heat.

Start gradually adding the milk, just a splash at a time at first, and stir continuously. Add some more milk every time it has been absorbed. Careful not to rush this or the sauce can turn lumpy.

When all of the milk is in the sauce, it is important to continue to stir until the sauce has thickened and comes to the boil. Take the pan off the heat and stir in 2 large handfuls of grated cheese and some salt and freshly ground white pepper.

When the cauliflower is tender, drain it and return to the pan to steam dry, then tip into an ovenproof dish.

Pour the sauce over the cauliflower and top with the remaining cheddar cheese.

Put the dish under a hot grill for about 5 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown on the top.

 

 

 

 

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Creamy Quiche Lorraine

A quiche that wobbles, just set, is a wonderful thing and this almost oozes. It feels luxurious and decadent, despite having simple ingredients and we’d cook this in any season. We used a local flour mill, Dunany in Drogheda for a non-bleached plain flour which accounts for the colour in the crust. Serve with a green salad.

Wine Suggestion: our choice would be an Alsace Pinot Gris, or if you can find it a dry Muscat like Zind-Humbrecht’s Grand Cru Brand Muscat. Coming from the amazing Brand vineyard this is reliably dry and will redefine for you what Muscat is. Neither of us were fans of this grape, but as always, the right wine can change opinions.

If stuck open the latest vintage, but if you are able to wait a year, or two, or more this will reward you ten-fold. The musky spices, texture and flavours match the cream, cheese and pancetta in a way nothing else will quite achieve. Failing this a close second is a richer Pinot Gris, which may be easier to find.

Quiche Lorraine with butter pastry – serves 6

  • 200g cubetti di pancetta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 250ml double cream
  • 200ml crème fraîche
  • 100g gruyère, coarsely grated

FOR THE PASTRY:

  • 225g plain flour
  • 150g chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 egg yolk

Make the pastry first by putting the flour and butter in a food processor with a pinch of salt. Whizz until it looks like breadcrumbs then add the egg yolk and 2½ tbsp of iced water and whizz until it comes together. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes. Roll the pastry out thinly and use to line a 20cm x 4cm deep, straight-sided, loose-bottomed tart tin. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the sides. Chill again for another 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Fry the pancetta in a little olive oil until cooked then drain on kitchen paper. Beat the whole eggs, egg yolks, double cream and crème fraîche together and season.

Line the pastry tin with baking paper, fill with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and return to the oven for another 5 minutes. Trim off the excess party with a sharp knife.

Turn the oven down to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3.

Scatter the bacon most of the grated cheese over the pastry base, add the egg mixture and top with the rest of the cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until just set and lightly golden. Leave to cool for a bit before serving.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, April 2014.)

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Red Onion, Mushroom & Blue Cheese Pizza

We’ve been experimenting with our new Ooni Pro pizza oven. This is the very first pizza we made and it turned out pretty good. The recipe is by Gill Meller (of River Cottage fame) and we’ve since seen that he’s working with Ooni – a match made in heaven!

Wine Suggestion:  a joyful red, preferably Italian to match the mood. Tonight the Rocca delle Macie Chianti Classico, but we’ve equally enjoyed wines from Abruzzo, Piedmont and Sicily to name a few with pizzas like these. Just make sure it isn’t too heavy or alcoholic though – light to medium bodied.

Gill’s Favourite Pizza – makes 3 large pizzas

FOR THE TOMATO SAUCE:

  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes (good ones!)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 bay leaf

FOR THE BASE:

  • 500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g salt
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp instant dried yeast
  • 320ml lukewarm water

FOR THE TOPPING (PER PIZZA):

  • 3-4 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 1 ball of mozzarella, torn
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • ½ small red onion, thinly sliced
  • 75g blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 or 3 thyme springs, leaves picked

To make the sauce, heat a medium pan over a moderate heat. Heat the olive oil in the pot, then add the garlic. Sizzle for about 30 seconds, then add the tomatoes,  half a tin of water and the bay leaf. Cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring now and then. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

To make the base, put the flour, salt and olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a dough hook. Combine the yeast and water in a jug and whisk to dissolve. Pour this over the flour and allow the machine to run for 4-5 minutes or until the dough is soft and smooth. You can also knead by hand but it will take a lot more effort and about 10 to 12 minutes.

Lightly grease a bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to prove for 3-4 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 240C/475F/gas mark 9½ (or if you have a pizza oven you can get it going).

Heat a baking sheet or pizza stone inside the oven.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knock it back, then left it rest for a few minutes. Dust the dough with more flour, then roll each ball out thinly. Remove the hot baking sheet or pizza stone from the oven and lay on the pizza dough. Top the pizza as quickly as you can. Gill suggests tomato sauce followed by mozzarella, mushrooms, onion, blue cheese and thyme. Trickle some olive oil over the top and season well. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until crispy and golden. Serve straight away and repeat with the remaining dough.

(Original recipe from Time: A Year & a Day in the Kitchen by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Spaghetti Carbonara

We’re not in the least offended by a splash of cream in a carbonara but this is the traditional version made with nothing but eggs, pecorino and pancetta. The quality really matters when you’re using just a few ingredients so definitely go for the best you can find or afford.

Wine Suggestion: An Italian white like a Pecorino from the Marches springs to mind, but some of the fuller textured wines from Lugana or Friuli from the North, or a Greco from the South make a good alternative; a layered texture and freshness is what your looking for to match this dish.

Spaghetti all carbonara – serves 4

  • 400g spaghetti
  • 100g pancetta lardons or guanciale
  • butter
  • 1 clove of garlic, halved
  • 4 eggs
  • 100g pecorino (or Parmesan), grated

Cook the pasta, according to the timings on the pack, in plenty of salty water.

Meanwhile, put the pancetta into a cold frying pan and bring slowly up to a high heat. When the pancetta has started to release its fat, add a knob of butter and the garlic, then turn down to medium. Fry until the pancetta is browned but not too crispy or it will harden. Discard the garlic and keep the pan warm.

Beat the eggs with most of the cheese. When the pasta is done, drain it, and keep a few tablespoons of cooking water. Tip the pasta back into the hot pasta pan, but off the heat. Add the egg mixture and pancetta and toss everything together quickly. Season with plenty of black pepper and add a bit of water to loosen the sauce if needed. Serve sprinkled with the remaining cheese.

(Original recipe by Lulu Grimes in Olive Magazine, October 2011.)

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Friday Night Tartiflette

Reblochon season begins in May so it’s time to indulge in a Tartiflette. If you want to try a sophisticated version then we recommend the Chicken Tartiflette we posted this time last year but it does take a bit of time and effort. This one is much quicker and almost as tasty.

Wine Suggestion: We’d suggest an oaked Chardonnay that has a good balance between fruit and texture, but not too tropical or oily. We quite often go for the Rustenberg from Stellenbosch, or one of the Javillier Bourgogne Blancs as we have good access to these and they over-deliver in quality, but there are many other options you could choose.

Tartiflette – serves 4

  • 500g new potatoes, sliced into 1cm thick slices
  • 200g rindless streaky bacon, cut into 2 cm cubes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, finely sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 100g cheddar or gruyere, grated
  • a couple of sprigs of thyme, leaves removed and chopped
  • 200ml cream
  • 200g Reblochon cheese, sliced into thin wedges

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Cook the potato slices in boiling salted water until tender – start checking after 10 minutes, then drain.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the bacon bits until light brown and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Cook the onion in the bacon fat for a few minutes until softened then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Spread the cooked potatoes over the bottom of a baking dish. Scatter over the onion and garlic, then the cheddar cheese, thyme and bacon. Pour over the cream, season, and top with the slices of Reblochon.

Bake in the hot oven for 15-20 minute or until browned and bubbling.

Serve with a green salad.

 

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