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Posts Tagged ‘Blue cheese’

Mushroom, Cider & Blue Cheese Soup

We made this soup on the strangest St Patrick’s day ever. There was no parade, the restaurants have all closed down and city streets are virtually empty. There is lots of panic buying going on, the supermarket aisles for tinned goods and toilet rolls have been decimated. We’re not down though, we’re positive we’ll all get through this and hopefully be stronger and better people on the other side. We’re continuing to buy fresh food, there’s lots of it available, and cook nice recipes like this soup by Gill Meller.

Mushroom, cider & blue cheese soup – serves 4 to 6

  • 500g wild and cultivated mushrooms (we used all chestnut mushrooms as it’s not autumn and wild ones aren’t available)
  • 25g butter, plus an extra bit, for frying
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 small potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 tsp thyme leaves
  • 750ml veg stock or chicken stock
  • 250ml dry cider
  • 100ml double cream
  • 75g blue cheese, plus extra to serve if you like
  • a small bunch of parsley, finely chopped, to serve

Clean the mushrooms with a damp piece of kitchen paper and roughly chop them but keep about 100g over to fry and use as a garnish. The mushrooms for the garnish can be sliced.

Melt the butter in a large pan with a splash of olive oil, over a medium heat. When it starts to foam, add the leek, potato, onion and garlic. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until the onion is soft but not browned. Add the mushrooms and thyme and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the stock, cider and some seasoning, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until tender. Purée the soup until smooth (or smoothish if you’re using a stick blender).

Add the cream and blue cheese to the soup and gently return to a simmer. Season to taste and keep warm over a very low heat.

Heat a knob of butter and a splash of oil in a frying pan and sauté the reserved mushrooms for 8 to 10 minutes or until well cooked and golden brown. Season the mushrooms.

Serve the soup in warm bowls with the mushrooms and parsley sprinkled over. You can also sprinkle over some more crumbled blue cheese if you like.

(Original recipe from Time by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2018.)

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Fig, Blue Cheese & Walnut Salad

There are figs going cheap everywhere at the moment and we’re trying to find lots of things to do with them. This salad by Thomasina Miers is delicious and full of autumnal flavours.

Wine Suggestion: if you feel like wine with your salad choose a fresh, unoaked white. There’s plenty of options but we like Jean-Michel Gerin’s le Champine Viognier from the northern Rhone which sits nicely with all the components here.

Roasted red onion, fig, blue cheese & walnut salad – serves 4

  • 2 red onions, peeled and cut into 8 wedges
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 4-5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1-2 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 6 ripe figs, sliced in half widthways
  • 75g walnuts
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 head radicchio, finely shredded
  • 100g watercress
  • 120g blue cheese, we used Gorgonzola as we had some for another dish

Heat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6.

Scatter the onions over a large baking tray, season generously and drizzle with a tablespoon of the vinegar and olive oil to coat. Toss with your hands, lightly scatter with brown sugar, then roast for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the figs cut side down on a different tray, and season with salt, pepper, a little brown sugar and a drizzle of olive oil. Roast in the oven with the figs for another 10-12 minutes or until the figs are slightly softened and releasing their juice and the onions are crisp at the edges.

Drizzle the rest of the vinegar over the figs. Put the walnuts in a small baking tray and roast for 5 minutes. Roughly chop.

Pour the juice from the fig roasting tray into a small cup, then whisk in 2-3 tbsp of oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season to taste.

Arrange the leaves on a large plate, top with the red onions and figs and dot around the cheese. Scatter over the walnuts and drizzle over the dressing.

(Original recipe by Thomasina Miers in The Guardian.)

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Cheeseboard soufflé

Another useful recipe for all the leftover cheese following the holidays. The soufflé is deliciously light and the pear and walnut salad (scroll down for recipe) is the perfect accompaniment.

Wine Suggestion: a classic, and to our mind excellent wine match is bubbly, and at the moment we’ve been exploring the different Cremant’s found around France. Tonight it was the Domaine Manciat-Poncet Cremant de Bourgogne from the Maçonnais (chosen and provided by our friend Michelle), and a good choice indeed.

Cheeseboard Soufflé – serves 4

  • 50g butter
  • 25g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 200ml milk
  • 300g hard cheese, cut into chunks (we used Comté, Cheddar & Parmesan)
  • 100ml double cream or crème fraîche
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • grating of nutmeg
  • pinch of cayenne pepper

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Brush a 20cm soufflé dish with a little of the melted butter, then dust with flour.

Stir the rest of the flour into the melted butter in the saucepan, then bubble together for 1 minute. Gradually pour in the milk to make a white sauce, then add two-thirds of the cheese and continue to stir over the heat to melt.

Leave to cool slightly, then mix in the rest of the cheese, the cream and the egg yolks. Season and add the nutmeg and cayenne pepper.

In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Fold into the cheese sauce, then carefully transfer into the soufflé dish. Bake for 25 minutes or until puffed up and golden.

Serve with the winter salad below.

Winter seasonal salad

Pear, blue cheese & walnut salad – serves 4

  • 110g bag of mixed salad leaves
  • 100g blue or goat’s cheese, crumbled
  • 50g shelled nuts – we used walnuts
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 3 tbsp of salad dressing

Toss the salad ingredients together. Once the soufflé is cooked, dress the salad and serve.

Cheese board soufflé 2

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Penne baked with three cheeses

There is a never-ending supply of leftover cheese in our fridge but never more so than at this time of year. This is a super-easy pasta dish which will help to use up the cheeseboard leftovers.

Penne baked with three cheeses – serves 2

  • 200g penne
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 350ml milk
  • 75g hard cheese e.g. cheddar/gruyère, grated
  • 50g blue cheese e.g. stilton/gorgonzola/roquefort, crumbled
  • a handful of breadcrumbs (we used panko)
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan

Heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6.

Cook the pasta until al dente then rinse under cold water to stop it cooking any further and drain.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually stir in the milk, stirring continuously, to make a white sauce. When the sauce has thickened and is starting to bubble, add the hard and blue cheese and stir until melted. Season to taste, then mix with the cooked pasta and pour into an ovenproof dish.

Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together and sprinkle over the top, then bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

(Original Recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, December 2009.)

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Cauliflower risotto

Using one of our favourite vegetables, that strangely we haven’t cooked for a while. Perfect comfort food for chilly evenings.

Wine Suggestion:  not as easy to suggest a wine as we thought given the conflicting flavours but we found that the Quinta Soalheiro Alvarinho Reserva a surprisingly good match. This combined a vibrant freshness with a layer of subtle oak, mineral nuttiness from the fine lees and a textured persistence that both balanced the food and didn’t overwhelm it. This wine continues to surprise with it’s quality and brilliance.

Cauliflower, leek & blue cheese risotto – serves 4

  • ½ a head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 25g butter
  • 2 leeks, cut into rings and washed thoroughly
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 1 litre hot chicken stock
  • 25g Parmesan cheese
  • 100g creamy blue cheese, e.g. Cashel blue or dolcelatte, broken into small chunks

Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water until just tender, then drain well and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the leeks over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the risotto rice and stir around until glistening with the butter. Now add the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously until each has been absorbed before adding another. It should take about 25 minutes to add all of the liquid and by this time the rice should be cooked. A few minutes before the end, carefully stir in the cooked cauliflower and stir gently so you don’t break it up to much, then add the Parmesan and blue cheese.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011.)

 

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Penne with blue cheese sauce

We seem to have a piece of blue cheese that sits permanently on the shelf on our fridge door. It changes every week but never completely disappears and so we find ourselves constantly on the search for weeknight dinners to put it to good use. Not a bad problem to have.

Wine Suggestion: We’ve cooked dishes similar to this many times and have found they work best with white wines with body: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Soave … if it has a touch of oak or richness then all to the good.

Penne with blue cheese sauce – serves 4

  • 350g penne pasta
  • 200g frozen leaf spinach
  • 85g Danish blue or other blue cheese, crumbled
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 250g tub mascarpone cheese
  • 25g Parmesan, grated

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack, add the spinach 3 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Drain the pasta and spinach and tip into a shallow heatproof dish along with the blue cheese, chilli flakes and lots of black pepper.

Put spoonfuls of the mascarpone over the top of the pasta. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and grill for 5 minutes or until the mascarpone has melted and the top is golden. Serve with a green salad.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food Magazine, October, 2000.)

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Baked gnocchi with broccoli, blue cheese and walnuts

We won’t apologise for yet another blue cheese-themed dish. We love cheese but are unlikely to have a cheese course during the week and therefore regularly end up making a meal out of it. Tis also the season for copious amounts of cheese, which is not only delicious but expensive – don’t waste it. If you’ve eaten all the blue cheese then brie or goats’ cheese should also work well.

Wine Suggestion: You need to balance the richness of the dish and the salty cheese so we chose the 2007 Ridge Santa Cruz Chardonnay which, despite it’s 10 years of age, was fresh and vibrant. The developing character of old Chardonnay really works well with blue cheese, especially when cooked in a dish. We also toyed with opening some white Rhône as this would work too.

Baked Gnocchi with Broccoli & Blue Cheese – serves 4

  • 500g fresh gnocchi
  • 200g tenderstem broccoli
  • 150g dolcelatte or other creamy blue cheese, crumbled
  • 150ml single cream

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

Cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling water. It’s ready when it floats to the surface, scoop out with a draining spoon.

Cook the broccoli in the same water until just tender, then drain.

Mix the gnocchi, broccoli, cheese and cream together in a large bowl with plenty of seasoning. Tip into a buttered baking dish and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Serve with salad if you like.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, December, 2011.)

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Blue cheese gnocchi

We’ve been seeing more good quality pre-prepared fresh gnocchi around and it’s really handy for a quick dinner. Here’s how to make it tasty with some blue cheese and spinach.

Wine Suggestion: this was a little tricky given blue cheese’s affinity for sweet wine, and we didn’t want this with our meal. A glass of Oloroso sherry was considered but we ended up with a Puglian Primitivo-Nero do Troia blend from Michele Biancardi which is both savoury and fruity. The fruity, plummy sweetness was the foil for the cheese and the savoury tannins played a dance with the gnocchi and spinach.

Blue Cheese Gnocchi – serves 4

  • 500g fresh gnocchi
  • 250g bag baby spinach
  • 100ml/3½ fl oz crème fraîche
  • 4 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 100g blue cheese – a soft variety would be good but use whatever you have

Cook the gnocchi in a large pan of boiling salted water according to the timings on the pack. Stir the spinach into the pan with the gnocchi, then immediately drain in a colander and shake well to get rid of the water.

Put the crème fraîche and grated Parmesan into a small ovenproof dish. Add the hot, drained gnocchi and spinach and stir. Crumble the blue cheese over and season with black pepper.

Put the dish under a hot grill until the cheese is bubbling and golden.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Broccoli, walnut & blue cheese penne

We almost always have a bit of leftover blue cheese in the fridge and much as we love a cheese board, we don’t tend to have them on weeknights. So here’s a simple weeknight pasta – broccoli, walnuts & blue cheese – yum!

Broccoli Walnut & Blue Cheese Pasta – serves 2

  • 200g penne pasta
  • 250g broccoli florets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • a handful of chopped walnuts
  • 100g blue cheese e.g. dolcelatte, cubed
  • 1 lemon

Cook the pasta in a large pan of salty water and add the broccoli 4 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan and gently fry the walnuts for a minute.

Scoop 4tbsp of the pasta cooking water out and add to the walnuts before draining. Return the pasta to the pan and add the walnuts and blue cheese. Stir gently until the cheese melts. Squeeze over some lemon juice before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Penne Stilton

We often have lumps of leftover Stilton in the fridge after the weekend and particularly after Christmas. If you find yourself in a similar situation try this simple pasta dish for a mid-week dinner. If that doesn’t solve the problem here’s a few other ideas:

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Creamy baked Brussels sprouts with stilton

Pasta with Blue Cheese Cream

Roussillon Baked Potatoes

Pork and Pears

Wine Suggestion: delicious with the Bott-Geyl Points Cardinal Metiss, a dry but rich and full white made from all the Pinot varieties you can think of, including the red and pink ones. When young this wine is fresh and enticing but with an extra year in the bottle it fills out and the aromas seem to ramp up a bit more with hints of honey, pears and apples and a lovely dry spice on the palate. More than a match for the powerful flavour of Stilton.

Stilton & Penne Pasta – serves 4

  • 400g penne pasta
  • 25g butter
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped sage
  • 100g Stilton, cubed
  • handful toasted walnuts, chopped

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then gently fry the onion until golden. Add the garlic and sage, fry for a further 2 mins, then remove the pan from the heat.

Drain the pasta and reserve some cooking water. Stir through the onions, Stilton and 2 tbsp cooking water, then sprinkle with the toasted walnuts to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Roussillon baked potatoes

Very simple and utterly delicious. Baked potatoes reach a whole new level when you mix the cooked potato with the toppings before baking for a second time.

Roussillon baked potatoes – serves 2

  • 2 baking potatoes
  • 30g butter
  • 4 streaky bacon rashers, 2 chopped
  • ¼ onion, finely chopped
  • 30g blue cheese, crumbled (we used Roquefort)
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • ½ tsp finely chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºC/gas mark 6.

Wash the potatoes and pat some salt flakes over the skin, then bake for about 1 hour or until tender.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a frying pan until foaming, then add the chopped bacon and onion. Cook until the onion is soft but not coloured.

Halve the potatoes, scoop out the insides without breaking the skins. Mash the scooped out potato with the fried onion & bacon, cheese, egg, parsley and some freshly ground pepper (we prefer white pepper for potatoes but black is fine too). Pile the potato mixture back into the potato skins, top with the 2 uncooked bacon rashers and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.

(Original recipe from Food From Plenty by Diana Henry, Octopus Publishing, 2010.)

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Wedges with bacon “soil” and gorgonzola

These are very delicious and perfect to share out of a big bowl in front of the TV on a Friday night – or at least that’s what we did. The bacony crumbs are a revelation! We expected the bacon to be problematic and to dry out in the oven but not in the slightest, the cooking just seems to intensify the flavours a bit and the “crumb” texture spreads through the dish perfectly.

Potato Wedges with Gorgonzola Sauce – serves 4

  • 1 kg medium floury potatoes
  • 8 smoked streaky bacon rashers
  • 1 tbsp dried chilli flakes
  • 4 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 250ml double cream
  • 150g Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6.

Scrub the potatoes and leave the skins on. Cut them in half lengthways, then into chunky wedges. Cook in boiling salted water for 15 minutes or until getting close to tender. Drain and tip into a roasting tin.

Fry the streaky bacon in a little oil until very crisp or barbecue them like we did. Put the cooked bacon into a food processor with the chilli flakes, groundnut oil and smoked paprika and whizz until it looks like very fine crumbs. Tip the crumbs over the wedges and toss gently to coat. Bake for about an hour or until crispy and sizzling.

Warm 250ml double cream in a small non-stick pan, add the Gorgonzola and stir gently until melted. Trickle the warm sauce over the wedges to serve or serve on the side as dip.

(Original recipe from Eat by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2013.)

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We love cheese after dinner but it seems a bit indulgent during the week and therefore we inevitably end up with chunks of cheese lurking in the back of the fridge. We try our best not to waste any food but something as expensive and delicious as cheese (particularly the cheese pantry stuff as opposed to the supermarket plastic-wrapped kind) is even more of a travesty to not use. That’s when recipes like this one are perfect for a mid-week treat without having to indulge in a two-course evening meal.

Broccoli & Stilton Soup – to serve 4

  • 2 tbsp flavourless oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, sliced
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 medium potato, diced
  • a knob of butter
  • 1 litre of good chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 head of broccoli, roughly chopped (including stalks)
  • 140g Stilton (or other blue cheese), crumbled

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onions until soft but not coloured. Add a splash of water if they start to catch.

Add the celery, leek, potato and butter. Stir until the butter melts, then cover with a lid and sweat for 5 minutes.

Pour in stock and add any chunks of broccoli stalk. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.

Add the remaining broccoli and cook for another 5 minutes. Whizz until smooth, then stir in the stilton. Season with black pepper (you are unlikely to need salt) and serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Pork and Pears

We really only made this because there was leftover blue cheese in the fridge but it’s a perfect combination of complementary flavours. Good with some purple sprouting broccoli on the side.

Pork and pears – to feed 4

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 red onions, cut into eighths
  • 2 large pears, quartered and cored – leave the skins on
  • few sprigs rosemary, leaves roughly chopped
  • 4 pork steaks, about 175g each, trimmed of excess fat
  • 50g blue cheese, cubed

Heat the oil in a roasting tin on the hob (use 2 rings), then add the onions, pears, most of the rosemary and seasoning. Fry for 5 minutes or until just starting to caramelise.

Heat the grill to high. Season the pork, then arrange among the veg and fry for 5-10 minutes, until golden and cooked through. Scatter with the leftover rosemary and the cheese, grill until the cheese melts.

Wine Suggestion: White wine works well with these flavours and ingredients; try a Pinot Gris, a slightly off-dry Chenin Blanc, or even a fruiter style of Roussanne

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food.)

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When stuck with too much leftover blue cheese (Stilton in this case) we whipped up a quick mid-week pasta dish.

Pasta with Blue Cheese Cream – serves 4

  • 350g short pasta (we used penne)
  • approx. 175g Stilton or other blue cheese, cut up small
  • 150ml double cream
  • pinch of sugar
  • chopped parsley or sage

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the pack. Drain the cooked pasta and put it back in the pot it was cooked in. Add the cheese, cream, sugar, lots of black pepper and parsley. Stir gently over a medium heat until the pasta is coated with the sauce. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.

Wine Suggestion: This is quite a rich dish and so needs an equal pairing like Pinot Gris, the slight sweetness of which will also work with the salty blue cheese (similar to the effect of adding a pinch of sugar to the sauce).


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Each time we see this recipe in Nigel Slater’s Tender Vol. 1 we salivate. We had almost forgotten about Brussels sprouts after having so many over Christmas. Just as well we caught them while still in season cause we definitely weren’t prepared to wait another year to try this. Stick a dish of these down in front of someone who doesn’t like sprouts and we defy them not to like them.

These were perfect with our barbecued striploin steaks (as ever from Tom in O’Toole’s in Glasthule village) though Nigel suggests they could also be served as a main with pasta – Jono has already swiped the leftovers to try with pasta for his lunch tomorrow!

A rich dish of sprouts and cheese for a very cold night (serves 4 as a side dish)

  • 750g Brussels sprouts
  • butter
  • 180g blue cheese – we used Colston Bassett Stilton
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard
  • 400ml cream
  • 100ml milk
  • a handful of finely grated Parmesan

Prep your sprouts and cut them in half. Bring a large pot of water to a fast boil, salt lightly, and drop in the sprouts. Bring back to the boil and time for 3 minutes. Drain well and place them in a lightly buttered, shallow, ovenproof dish.

Crumble the blue cheese over the sprouts.

Put the mustard in a bowl and stir in cream, milk and a good twist of black pepper. Stir and then pour over your sprouts. Scatter the Parmesan over the top and bake at 180C/gas 4 until lightly coloured and bubbling (about 15-20 minutes).

Yum!!!!

 

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Celery and blue cheese are the type of things we often have lurking in the back of the fridge. Here’s one of our favourite recipes for using it up.

Enough soup for 4 people:

  • Chop a large head of celery, peel and roughly chop an onion and half a head of celeriac.
  • Melt a thick slice of butter in a big pot, add your chopped veg and cook for around 20 minutes, until soft.
  • Pour in 1 litre chicken stock and add a bay leaf. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for half an hour, stirring now and then.
  • Blend until smooth and check the seasoning (you probably won’t need much salt as you’ll be adding salty cheese). We like to pass through a sieve too for a smooth, silky consistency.
  • Serve with blue cheese crumbled over the top.

You could probably add a swirl of cream too if you’ve some of that.

Original recipe from one of our favourite cookbooks: Nigel Slater’s Tender Volume I.

 

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