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Entries in cheese (62)


roasted squash and caramelised onion galette


i’m not a big fan of pastry but have found that smitten kitchen has some interesting pastries that are both easy to make and delicious – her empanada pastry is wonderfully light and flaky (it’s unusual for including vinegar) and, as i discovered last night, so too is the pastry she uses to make this roasted squash and caramelised onion galette.

in this case the unusual aspect is the use of sour cream (although i swapped this for greek yoghurt as that was all i had in) and lemon juice. again it is a light, flaky pastry and a great contrast to the soft sweet squash and onions. 

i’m looking forward to making different versions of this galette – spanakopita flavours of spinach and feta is an obvious choice but i also like the idea of roasted peppers, courgettes and aubergine; or something with lamb, pomegranate molasses and pine nuts. what do you think would be good?

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courgette and chickpea salad

i’ve been eating versions of this salad quite a lot recently – it has an eye towards brighter, warmer weather but still has enough bulk to make it suitable for a chilly day.

at it’s heart are courgettes, chickpeas, lemon, cheese and cumin. my chickpeas tend to come straight from the tin and if i want them warming through i just cover them with boiling water, after draining and rinsing them, while i prepare the rest of this dish. having said that, i don’t usually bother as adding the just-griddled courgettes to the salad tends to warm everything through just enough for me.

the courgettes are sliced, tossed with a little olive oil – 1 tablespoon is enough for 2 courgettes which, along with one tin of chickpeas and the rest of the ingredients tends to be enough for two people. i use the bowl that had the oiled raw courgettes in to assemble the salad as i go, so any excess oil forms part of the dressing. the cumin – 1 teaspoon of seeds, toasted and then ground, is sprinkled on the veggies and adds a depth of slightly spicy flavour to the dressing, which has the juice and zest of a lemon as it’s final components (just add these to bowl, while you cook the courgettes in batches, stirring as something new gets added).

for the cheese component i use whatever i have in – pictured are little cubes of smoked ricotta; last night i used some crumbled feta. other ingredients depend what i have in – crunchy red peppers as pictured above, or chery tomatoes are nice. you can also add garlic, chilli, shallots or spring onions for extra oomph and i always finish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs.  a nice and easy healthy dish. perfect too for fast days if you’re doing the 5:2 diet, coming in at c200-250 calories, depending how generous you are with the olive oil and cheese.


jerusalem artichoke and hazelnut tart


i haven’t managed to get hold of many jersualem artichokes this year but when i finally did, i wanted to try something different (although my usual first choice of jerusalem artichoke risotto is never not going to be delicious). thankfully i remembered a recipe for a jerusalem artichoke, hazelnut and goat's cheese tart, not least because hazelnuts are my favourite nuts and i rarely get to use them in savoury dishes.

the tart is quick and easy to pull together. my top tip would be to make sure that the jerusalem artichokes are properly cooked through when you boil them, as they don’t cook much more in the oven (a few of my thicker slices were a bit al dente).

i used a different cheese to that in the recipe – smoked ricotta, which was new to me. this is a semi-hard cheese and as you’ll see in the picture, the grated pieces didn’t melt much. they added a lovely smokiness to the tart though and i’d happily use it again for this dish, although i think i’d also like to try mixing it with something a bit more melty to get the extra texture contrast.  

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melting mozzarella and greens

london has become quite chilly over the past few days and stodge with gentle flavours is what i have been craving. in fact, this dish started off as an idea about stuffing cabbage leaves with a creamy leek and mushroom mix, but soon shifted towards pasta when i realised my cabbage was past its best.

it was also a great way to use up a random mix of other green vegetables that needed a bit of tlc. leeks and fennel were softened in melted butter with lots of garlic. i then added some reconstituted wild mushrooms and shredded sundried tomatoes plus a handful of marinated roasted artichokes and some leftover wilted spinach. a spoonful of flour was added and cooked for a minute and then i poured in the water from the mushrooms plus a couple of spoons of double cream (the dregs of a pot from the previous week) and some crème fraiche to lighten it all up. this was mixed with almost cooked pasta, chunks of mozzarella and then topped with breadcrumbs and grated cheese (a lurid red leicester!) before being heated through in the oven.

the greens made everything taste healthy whereas the stringy pockets of melted mozzarella made it taste decadent. perfect for a chilly sunday evening.


ideas in food’s macaroni cheese 


macaroni cheese is one of my favourite comfort foods but i only make it occasionally, not least because david is not a fan. i’ve been thinking about it quite a bit over the past few months and have come across a few interesting and different ways of making it.

 until recently i assumed all macaroni cheese was generally made the same way – a roux-based white sauce, to which cheese and possibly other flavourings are added. apparently not. in america a very common way to make “mac n cheese” is to make an egg based custard rather than a white sauce. it seems that this results in a firmer texture and a more intensely cheesy flavour, although i’ve also seen people say it can have a slight eggy flavour.

and then there is ideas in food’s method which involves pre-soaking the pasta so it needs very little cooking liquid/time and making the cheese sauce from evaporated milk, butter and cheese. lots of cheese. the aim is to create a very pure cheese flavour without the distractions of flour, milk, eggs etc.

i decided to give the ideas in food method a try and made this single portion with a quarter of their recipe.

you need to trust the recipe – the pasta is soaked for an hour and when i looked at the amount of evaporated milk to which butter and cheese are added i really didn’t think there would be enough sauce for the pasta. but it was fine. very quick and easy to pull together too. it was also more than enough - this is a very rich dish. i only managed to eat half of it. it was like eating melted cheese in which cooked pasta had been suspended – i’ll leave you to decide if this is a good thing or not!

it is all about the cheese and so as long as you have good cheese – i used a mix that was leftover from a cheeseboard – it will be delicious. just very rich. i don’t know if i’ll make this again unless it’s as a side dish and tiny portions are all that is needed.

i’m going to try the egg version of macaroni cheese next.

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