Summer cheese, and the going is easy… on Sunday Brunch 6 July 2014.

6 Jul

Summer cheese: A cheese made from Summer milk or a cheese that reaches maturity in the Summer. What cheese are well suited to the summertime eating? First of all, we will see three cheeses that are available in the trade, they may be purchased or they may inspire you to create your own! Then we will use a fresh curd cheese to create some savoury and sweet cheesy bites.

Our first cheese is the Lingot de Saint Nicolas

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it is made from unpasteurized goat’s milk in Herault, Southern France by orthodox monks, it is a white aged goat cheese. For the purpose of this item, we are going to try the young Lingot, it is rather creamy, quite elastic ( take a long time to melt in mouth ) which makes for a rather long lingering floral and slightly caprine taste with hints of thyme essence which is raising curiosity, indeed goats are not too keen on munching on thyme the monks are closely guarding the recipe, when the guys from http://www.mons-cheese.co.uk/ visited the monastery they could not see any fresh or dried thyme in the cheese making room which led them to think that thyme essential oil had been added to the  fresh curd. I am happy with the monks keeping their secret. Not to worry if you do not find this products, you can ask your local cheese monger for a young unpasteurized goat cheese!   Our second cheese is Brockley’s  Blackwoods cheese company very own Graceburn, IMG_20140707_162017[1]   it is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk supplied by Commonworks organic dairy in Kent, this milk is being used by another of the cheesemakers presented on Sunday Brunch last year in July, Kappacasein who have received this year the James Aldridge price for best British cheese for his Bermondsey pressed. coming back swiftly to Blackwoods’ Graceburn, the cheese is in essence made like a feta, a lactic set and a brining of two weeks minimum then the cheese is marinated in olive oil and herbs for a typical Mediterranean feel. I have stuffed some dried prunes, cherry tomatoes and large olives for the item. It works great in salads! Go and find the maker here http://www.blackwoodscheesecompany.co.uk/

Our third cheese is Alta Nepita from Corsica,

alta nepita

It is a pasteurized ewe milk lactic cheese flavoured with summer savoury. Its making rolls back to Roman times, they liked to think that the herbs had aphrodisiac properties. It is hugely aromatic, i enjoy it young for this item, the contrast between the fresh heart and the rind is fantastic. It was supplied to us today by www.unenormandealondres.co.uk 

As i mentioned during the live appearance i chose Alta Nepita as its herbs coating allows me to jump onto another subject which is about preparing yourselves cheesy bites from either a selection of store bought herbs or your very own one grown in your garden.

Regardless of where the herbs are coming from, preserving these herbs for a later use makes sense, you may have been advised to freeze them, drying is actually quite straightforward.

I pick my herbs from the back garden,

garden herbs

they will keep on producing from Spring to late Autumn so you potentially could dry quite a quantity which may well be enough from Winter to the next Spring.

How good would it be to use your very own dried herbs in the middle of the Winter?

In order to dry the herbs, i lay down a layer of them on a wire rack, place this wire rack in a cupboard in a well ventilated ambient room, your herbs should be dried within a week, once done store them in a freezing bag, in a cupboard. Dried herbs are sold at a premium in the stores so you are making yourself a reserve of premium

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Or a brown paper bag as shown below where i have been drying a few branches of oregano.

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here is an example of before/after showing some stinging nettle that i collected early Spring, as well as actual garden herbs, thyme in my hand, oregano at the back. IMG_20140412_213140[1]

And there a picture of the nettle that had finished to dry up.

dried nettle

If the herbs have been dried well they will simply shrivel and once you rehydrate them they will almost look as if they had never been dried up. It is good to note that dried herbs are stronger than fresh therefore you won’t need as much to reach your desired seasoning.   For the last bit of the Sunday Brunch item, we used a fresh curd supplied to us by Blackwoods cheese company, i am confident there is a local cheese maker or monger who could supply you, if they don’t, it may be that if more of you readers ask for it, it will become again more available. If you fail to find any, you may use some kind of cottage cheese for our mini cheesy bites.

You must use this fresh curd below cold as it will be easier to handle, one portion equal a teaspoon that you will roll in the palm of your hands, it is important as you will handle food to wash your hands thoroughly before doing so, we do not want any food poisoning, do we?

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This fresh curd has been lightly salted for a preservation purpose, on the show we prepare a few one with rosemary, thyme, mint, paprika, you may use black pepper, dried shallots, … , anything you fancy really. And to finish the sweet cheesy bites which will use the very same fresh curd.

This is an example of sweet cheesy bite

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The small fresh curd ball has been rolled as explained above, you may use a variety of  ingredients to prepare your sweet bites, on this picture i made some small round basis with a mascarpone chocolate cake, coated the bottom half of the curd with dessicated coconut, coated the other half with cocoa powder, i hold them together with an orange strip which i dried in sugar ( the sugar peel is edible as it is ) and a drizzle of ground candied orange peel.

You may be as creative as it gets, pistacchio, roasted nuts, malt chocolate powder, dessicated coconut, seeds, … , the list is endless.

I hope you enjoyed this appearance, i ll see you next time…

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