Different Seasons for Cheese Making

As with fruits and vegetables, cheeses are best enjoyed when nature intended them to be – in season. Just like how an apple won’t taste as crunchy and as sweet in February as it will in September, a fresh young goat cheese will taste dramatically different when scoffed April than in December.

The fact that cheeses are seasonal isn’t common knowledge in our modern supermarket-loving and ready-meal-eating era. Many people don’t realise that cheeses can taste dramatically different depending on the time of year they were produced.

Before we delve into the details, bear in mind that the seasons hardly affect mass produced commercial cheeses. For the sake of your health, your taste buds and the animals making the cheese, we would always recommend avoiding commercially made cheeses. Start spending your cheese money on better quality artisanal cheeses and we promise you wont look back – even if you cant afford quite as much cheese as before, you will enjoy it twice as much!

Different Seasons for Cheese Making
Different Seasons for Cheese Making – how they influence the flavour of the cheese

How Do The Seasons Affect The Taste of the Cheese?

It makes sense that the flavour of cheese is closely linked with the soil the animals graze on. Cheese is produce after all, just like the strawberries in your fridge or the sweet potato in your cupboard. All influenced by the land.

There are hundreds of different types of cheese and each one will differ slightly in flavour and texture. Lots of factors influence the flavour – the type of milk used, the breed of animal the milk has come from, the content of the soil that the animal grazes on, the method of drainage and the time of year the cheese is produced. The latter can make a surprising difference to the flavour of the cheese, even if all the other factors remain exactly the same.

The fact that some cheeses are only available at certain times of the year goes some way to show how influential the seasons are on the flavour of the cheese.

For example, some of the best goats’ cheeses in the world are produced in the flora rich fields on the mountains of the Alps and the Pyrenees in Spring and Summer. The unique climate produces abundant wild herbs and lush grasses which the goats graze on, which help to produce a flavour incomparable to mass produced goats cheese where they are fed hay year round.

Traditionally made, fresh artisan Goats cheese is produced in Spring. Compared with mass produced goats cheese, you get a much richer flavour and more enjoyable experience because the latter is produced with milk from hay fed goats that are kept indoors rather than pasture fed goats who live outside. (I expect the goats are happier living outdoors too!)

Goat Cheese is best enjoyed in Spring and Summer
Goat Cheese is best enjoyed in Spring and Summer

No Milk = No Cheese

The other factor that makes cheese seasonal is that goats and sheep aren’t producing milk year round because they aren’t breeding year round. They only produce milk from early spring until late summer, which means that ‘fresh’ goats cheese available in the winter months will be made from powdered or frozen milk. This extra processing has a negative impact on the flavour of the cheese.

Even though cows can produce milk throughout the year, April to October is also generally the best time to enjoy cows milk cheese because of what they get to graze on during these months. Think the luscious green grasses of spring, the beautiful wild flowers and abundant wild herbs in summer and even the second growth of new grasses in late summer and early Autumn. This all impacts the flavour of the cheese enormously.

 

Spring and Summer

Cheeses produced in Spring and Summer is the perfect period for most cheeses because the animals have been grazing on spring pastures including rich grasses, flowers, clover and herbs. Fresh, un-aged Goats cheese and Ewes cheese are best enjoyed during April to July because this is when they produce the richest milk.

 

Autumn and Winter

Just like us, most animals prefer a warm and comfortable environment in the winter. This means that they are moved indoors and often fed on a silage-based diet. (Silage is a type of fermented conserved grass, gathered in the summer). Naturally, this change in diet affects the flavour of the milk that the animals produce. It tends to produce a slightly sweeter yet more robust cheese.

Cheese produced during this time can still be enjoyed but it may not present an optimal flavour.

Stilton is best enjoyed around Christmas
Stilton is best enjoyed around Christmas as it is aged for 3-5 months

Aged Cheese

It still pays to enjoy an aged cheese at the right time – you just need to do a bit of maths! For example a cheese made in August but aged for 6 months will still taste very good in February.

Aged cheeses are less susceptible to changes in the seasons than fresh or young cheese, so these are a safer bet during the cold winter months for optimal taste and enjoyment.

 

Which Cheeses Should I Eat When For Optimal Flavour?

  • Spring: Fresh Goat and Ewes Cheese
  • Summer: Soft Bloomy Rind Cheeses
  • Autumn: Blue veined cheeses
  • Winter: Stilton and Vacherin Mont D’Or!

Mature Cheddar Cheese Scone Recipe

Cheese Scone Recipe using mature cheddar cheese
Cheese Scone Recipe using mature cheddar cheese

Whenever I turn out a particularly good meal, my mum always get the credit for it. Why? Because it was my mum who taught me how to cook and who first sparked my interest in creating good food because she is so passionate about it herself. I know it is a cliché but my mum really did teach me everything I know about good cooking!

My mum is honestly the best cook I know. She easily creates tasty meals from scratch and knows all the tricks of the trade. Although she wasn’t that patient with me in the kitchen (often tutting as she came to have a look just when I was taking some shortcut or other) she was always ready to help and give advice.

This mature cheddar cheese scone recipe was created by my mum. I asked her to share it with me and teach me how to make them and luckily for us, she willingly obliged.

This cheese scone recipe is incredibly versatile and can be doubled with ease for when you are catering for a crowd. Serve it on it’s own with some good butter or alongside a steaming bowl of roasted tomato soup. These cheese scones are also perfect for brunch, simply topped with a poached egg and some hollandaise sauce.

Mum and I hope that you love this recipe as much as we do!

Mum carefully watching over me as I rub in the butter
Mum carefully watching over me as I rub in the butter

Mature Cheddar Cheese Scone Recipe

This is the tastiest cheese scone recipe I have ever tried
This is the tastiest cheese scone recipe I have ever tried

Ingredients

  • 250g of self raising flour, sifted
  • 5g of baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 62g of unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 100g of black bomber cheddar, grated (plus 25g more for the topping)
  • 1 egg at room temperature
  • 38ml of full fat greek yoghurt
  • 50ml of full fat milk

You will also need a 5cm round cutter to cut the scone dough and a baking tray. Makes 8 scones.

Cheese scone recipe - before baking
Cheese scone recipe – before baking

Method

Heat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.

Sieve the flour and the baking powder into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and mix to combine. Chop the butter into small squares and add into the mixing bowl. Using your hands, rub the butter into the flour mixture until it forms the texture of soft breadcrumbs. Then rub in the grated mature cheddar cheese.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yoghurt and milk using a hand whisk. Once it is all well combined, make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour it in.

Using your hands again, mix everything together until a soft sticky dough is formed, incorporating all the liquid. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper and lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Your dough cutter will also need a light dusting of flour too.

Once the 20 minutes are up, tip the dough onto the floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth (this only takes a couple of minutes). Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is 3cm thick. Cut out the individual scones with the dough cutter (press straight down – never twist!) and place them upside down onto the baking tray. Sprinkle with the extra cheddar.

Bake in the centre of the oven for between 15-20 minutes or until the scones are well risen and golden.

Take out of the oven and allow to cool before serving. You can serve all sorts of different things with these scones. Just plain with butter. Alongside a steaming bowl of tomato soup. Or underneath a perfectly poached egg and some hollandaise sauce for a delightful brunch!

This cheese scone recipe will keep for a couple of days when stored in an air tight container

 

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

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Pan Fried Halloumi Recipe with Roasted Sweet Potato Mash

Since we moved into our new home I have been more conscious about food waste. Right before we moved in, we collected all of our tins, spices, fruit and veg from our old house to bring over to our new home. I resisted the urge to go to the supermarket as I didn’t want to throw away any of this perfectly usable food, so I created a few recipes to try and use up as much of the food we already had as possible and this Halloumi Recipe with roasted sweet potato mash was created for this purpose!

We had some sweet potatoes left over and a packet of our delicious Organic British Halloumi cheese so I chucked in some great spices and created a really easy Halloumi Recipe that makes an excellent midweek meal for 2!

As you may have guessed, we LOVE spicy food so the mash has quite a kick. It really balances out the sweetness of the sweet potato but if you aren’t keen on chilli then by all means give it a miss.

Pan Fried Halloumi Recipe with Roasted Sweet Potato Mash
Pan Fried Halloumi Recipe with Roasted Sweet Potato Mash and fresh peas

 

Halloumi Recipe Ingredients

  • 5 medium sweet potatoes (Approx. 700g in weight), peeled and chopped into 2cm chunks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of black mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of chilli flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
  • 1 packet of our Organic British Halloumi cheese, sliced into 6 equal slices
  • 250g of fresh or frozen peas

 

Method

Set the oven to 200. Arrange the sweet potato in one layer on a baking tray. Evenly sprinkle over the mustard seeds, chilli flakes, cumin seeds and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle with the olive oil and rub lightly with your hands to ensure all pieces are covered. Place in the oven for 35-45 minutes or until the sweet potato is soft.

When the sweet potatoes have 5 minutes to go, heat a frying pan (no need for oil) over a high heat. When the pan is hot add in the Halloumi slices. The cheese will start to release some liquid. Once most of that liquid has dried up (usually takes a couple of minutes) the Halloumi should have some colour on one side, so flip over and again wait for most of the liquid to dry up. Once both sides are nice and brown, the Halloumi is ready.

Finally put a little water in a pan and briefly boil the peas – I only cook them for a minute so they are still fresh and retain some bite (if fresh, frozen are cooked in seconds!).

Remove the sweet potato from the oven and place into a large bowl. Mash it up with a potato masher, taste and adjust the seasoning if required.

Pop the sweet potato in the middle of the plate, surround it with lush green peas and place the Halloumi on top and you are all ready to enjoy!

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

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What’s the Best Cheese for Melting?

Hot melting cheese is the ultimate comfort food. What can be more satisfying than a piping hot cheese toasty? We know that the café and fast food chain toasties are made with processed cheese. Great for melting, not so good for you!

So for those looking to use non-processed cheese in their next homemade cheese toasties (or lasagne, fondue or quesadillas), or any other recipe for that matter, we break down the best way to melt cheese and look at some of the best cheese for melting.

Choosing the best cheese for melting means looking at the moisture content of the cheese
Choosing the best cheese for melting means looking at the moisture content of the cheese

Best Cheese for Melting

Gruyere

Our ultimate favourite and best cheese for melting is Gruyere. Made with raw milk from cows grazing on the hills in Western Switzerland. It displays a wonderfully smooth texture when heated (providing you melt it right!).

Taleggio

Taleggio is a washed rind cheese, so emanates a serious aroma! Serious cheese addicts will love a bit of Taleggio melted onto toasted sourdough and topped with a fruity chutney. Certainly a contender for the very best cheese for melting amongst cheese lovers. Delicious!

Fontina

The queen of melted cheese. Buttery and slightly fruity. Remember to remove the rind when melting this cheese.

Young Gouda

Young Gouda melts brilliantly, mainly due to the fact that warm water replaces the whey during the production of this cheese. This lowers the acidity content, giving it a sweeter flavour.

Other good melting cheeses include Comte, Emmental, Asiago and Reblochon.

 

What Makes a Cheese Good for Melting?

 

Why are any of the above cheeses, the best cheese for melting? The simple answer to this question is: A combination of age and moisture!

Cheese is made from protein, fats, salt and water (and any other added flavourings like herbs and spices). These vary in quantity depending on the type of cheese. The fats and proteins are held in place by a protein matrix. This gives the cheese its solid texture.

When you heat cheese you are softening the protein matrix, the protein itself and the fat. Depending on the cheese in question, this produces some pliability of varying degrees. When heated to a high enough temperature, the protein matrix will collapse, releasing the protein and fat and causing the cheese to melt.

The moisture content of the cheese will largely determine how it melts. The longer a cheese ages, the less water it has. Some aged parmesan can carry a water content of just 30% or less, compared with fresh cheese which has a water content of up to 80%.

Low moisture = harder, more crumbly cheese (like cheddar). Firmer cheese requires a high heat to melt it because the protein bonds that hold together the fat and protein have a tighter formation and are therefore harder to breakdown.

High moisture = softer, more pliable cheese. Softer cheese (like feta) is much easier to melt because of the higher moisture content. Even in a large chunk, a higher moisture cheese like Fontina will melt better than a large chunk of parmesan.

The salt content also influences how well a cheese melts. Larger quantities of salt will draw more moisture out of the cheese, producing a drier, firmer cheese.

 

Tips for Melting Cheese

 

The last thing you want when melting cheese is to be left with a thick, stringy or grainy mess that has separated and left you with a layer of liquid oil on top. Here are our tips to try and avoid this.

  1. Only use the cheese that is suggested in the recipe: Usually we embrace recipe tweaks (to suit our tastes and what is in the cupboard!) However with cheese that requires melting we would always suggest sticking to the recipe! For example, if your recipe says to use gruyere, you simply cannot substitute this for that chunk of feta at the back of the fridge or some mozzarella. You will not get the same result! There are over a thousand different cheeses, each one made slightly differently from the other and therefore each one melts differently.
  2. Grate your cheese: Sounds obvious but if you are attempting to melt a firm cheese, ensure you grate it instead of chopping into cubes.
  3. Add some lemon juice or white wine: You can add a little lemon juice or white wine to a cheese to help achieve a smooth melt. This is because of the acid content (or alcohol content in the case of the white wine) in these foods which helps to break down the cheese proteins.
  4. Add Cornstartch to melting cheese: Adding Cornstartch to the cheese will act as an anti-clumping agent, giving you a smoother finish.

Which cheese do you believe is the best cheese for melting?

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

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Best Cheese for Burgers – The Cheese Market

I have never met anyone who doesn’t love a good burger!

Unfortunately the humble burger had a bit of a bad reputation in years gone by. Burgers used to be a menu staple on only the most un-inspiring of restaurants (think fast food chains). You were served a decidedly grey patty (meat unknown) which was topped with some limp lettuce, a soggy tomato, smothered in rich ketchup and encased in a tasteless bun. Don’t forget the thin slice of florescent orange ‘claims-to-be-cheese-but-looks-nothing-like-it ‘cheese’. Yum.

Burgers have come a long way since then! A really long way. Gourmet or ‘posh’ burgers are now all the rage – with exciting variations on the traditional burger making it onto the menu in top restaurants across the globe. Some restaurant chains even specialise solely in providing a top notch burger.

The quest to create the ‘ultimate’ burger rages on in both restaurants and home kitchens across the UK.

Many would agree that to achieve a great burger, you need to top it with a fantastic cheese. The cheese is one of only a few key ingredients that combine to make one of the most satisfying and enjoyable meals you can eat.

 

Best Cheese for Burgers

Lets explore some of the best cheese for burgers and give you some examples of British Cheeses that you could use the next time you make a burger at home.

Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar and Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue are both great for burgers
Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar + Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue are both great for burgers

Cheddar

Cheddar is the classic cheese to top your patty with. It is a great all-rounder; it melts well, has a nice strong flavour and will win over even the most fussy of guests. Cheddar is the safest choice when you’re next cooking burgers for friends.

Our recommendation for the best British Cheddar for your burger is the Wookey Hole Cave Aged Cheddar.  A nutty and tangy true farmhouse cheddar.

 

Brie

When considering the best cheese for burgers we have to take a look at Brie. Why? Because Brie melts beautifully! Although it isn’t necessarily as strong as mature cheddar, it still has a good amount of tang to get the taste buds going. Brie is so creamy and decadent. Definitely gourmet and that mix of creamy and salty is totally moreish. Wow.

Cooked mushrooms go particularly well with Brie. For vegetarians (and non-veggies!) a Portobello mushroom and Brie burger is a winning combination.

Our top choice of a British Brie-Style cheese is Waterloo; made from unpasteurised Guernsey milk, it has a rich buttery texture and melts like a champion.

Waterloo Cheese pairs perfectly with cooked chestnut mushrooms or a grilled portabello in a bun
Waterloo Cheese is one of our picks for the best cheese for burgers

Goat Cheese

Some would call this an unusual combination but we love it! A good goat cheese can complement a burger nicely. Goat cheese is tangy and light. Tangy cheese balances out the savouriness of meat patties nicely and the lightness of a goat cheese prevents the burger from feeling too rich and greasy.

Our recommendation for a good British goat cheese to squeeze between your buns? Tor goat cheese has a fresh, clean aroma with a slightly salty, citrus flavour.

 

Smoked Cheese

Intensely flavoured smoked cheese really spices up a traditional burger. You don’t need much to make a real impact too. Smoky, savoury, creamy, salty, tangy = delicious. Who is going to say no to a burger topped with some naturally cold smoked (and organic!) cheddar cheese? Our recommendation is the Godminster Oak Smoked Cheddar

Our quest for the best cheese for burgers: Includes this smoked cheddar
Our quest for the best cheese for burgers: Includes this smoked cheddar

Blue Cheese

We appreciate that not everyone loves blue cheese but popping a bit into your burger may well change your mind! If you are a blue cheese fan, pair your creamy yet salty blue with sweet caramelised onions and you can’t go wrong. Our pick for the best cheese for burgers in the British blue category?  The award winning Colston Bassett Shropshire Blue; it has a creamy, sweet taste, silky smooth texture and is more mild than a typical Stilton.

 

Best Cheese for Vegetarian Burgers

We are huge fans of the veggie burger and a certain cheese in particular often plays the starring role. A big piece of Halloumi is a great substitute for a meat patty in a burger for vegetarians, because of its satisfyingly salty, chewy texture. You can easily marinate a slab of halloumi with some roasted Mexican spices or just a pinch of paprika to give a real depth of flavour and add interest to your veggie burger. There are hundreds of recipes for great veggie patties and they deserve a great cheese melted over them just like a regular burger does!

 

Avoiding Gluten?

Most cheeses are certified as gluten free, so you can certainly still enjoy a really good burger if you swap out the bun. We usually find that unless you bake gluten-free bread yourselves, the supermarket stuff can leave a lot to be desired. One of the best ways to enjoy a gluten free burger is to wrap the ingredients in a large fresh lettuce leaf. We all know that fresh crunchy lettuce is a must have for a good burger anyway, so it really makes for a great bun substitute.

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

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The Ultimate Mac & Cheese

Are you a fan of Mac & Cheese? Take a look at our infographic and find out what you can do to take it up a notch next time you’re in the kitchen!

(click image for full size)

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How Cheese Is Made

A History of How Cheese is Made

Cheese is really an ancient food and is thought to have been around for over 2000 years. The story goes that cheese was discovered by accident when a nomadic traveller crossed the desert with milk stored in a bag lined with an animal’s stomach. The milk separated into curds and whey and hey presto cheese was born!

We explore how cheese is made
We explore how cheese is made, including the different processes for different cheeses

How Cheese is Made: The Beginning

The process of cheese making always starts with the same first steps: which is taking milk from a cow, sheep or goat (and occasionally buffalo, camel and even moose!) and separating that milk into the curds (the solid part) and the whey (the liquid part), using a process called curdling.

You achieve this by adding a fermenting agent, traditionally an animal rennet but more commonly with a vegetarian rennet now, so that vegetarians can also eat the cheese. Sometimes a lactic starter is added instead of rennet, or sometimes both are used depending on the type of cheese being created.

 

How Are Different Types of Cheeses Created?

From here, it is the hundreds of small differences in the processes that follow which creates the many different types of cheeses you see today and their unique flavours and textures. Generally all cheeses go through the same 4 processes detailed below.

How Cheese is Made – The 4 Main Processes

  1. Curdling – as described above
  2. Draining – The removing of the whey to varying degrees depending on the cheese being made
  3. Pressing – Shaping the curds by pressing them into forms or moulds.
  4. Ripening – Leaving the cheese to ripen /mature over a set length of time.

It is the differences in these last 3 processes especially that produces the vast array of different cheeses available.

 

How Are Soft/Fresh Cheeses Made?

Soft cheese is generally created by using a lactic starter to curdle the milk, producing fine grains of curd. With the exception of Feta Cheese, soft and fresh cheeses are not pressed or ripened. Mozzarella is treated slightly differently. To create Mozzarella, the curds are submerged into hot water and then stretched.

 

How Are Semi-Soft/Semi Crumbly Cheeses Made?

Here, lactic acid and rennet are both used together to separate the curds from the whey with these types of cheeses, to create their unique textures. After this, the curds are cut into big cubes, which helps to lock in moisture.

With cheeses like Brie Cheese, the rind is covered with a mould. This gives the cheese a soft bloomy rind and helps to ripen the inside of the cheese.

 

How Are Semi-Firm / Firm Cheeses Made?

Firm and semi-firm cheeses are generally created by using a rennet to separate the milk into large grains of curd. These curds are then heated to make them set. Finally the curds are left to ripen for between 3-24 months. Different maturing times will produce different flavours and textures in the cheeses. For example a 24 month vintage mature cheddar cheese will taste stronger and more crumbly than a cheddar matured for just 3 months.

 

How is Blue Cheese Made?

With blue cheese, a mould called Penicillium Roqueforti is added to the milk. The mixture is then left for usually around 6 weeks before it is poked with several stainless steel needles. This allows oxygen into the cheese to promote the growth of mould, giving the cheeses the distinct blue veining.

Blue cheese is made differently to other cheeses
Blue cheese is made differently to other cheeses

Is Cheese Always Pasteurised?

Nowadays, the milk used to make cheese is generally pasteurised. However, you can still get unpasteurised cheese from local farm shops and artisan cheese sellers. Many cheese purists believe that you get a better flavour from unpasteurised cheese.

Most Popular Cheeses Around the Globe

What Are the Most Popular Cheeses?

People often ask us which cheeses are the most popular. Having done some research, the answer to this question isn’t as straightforward as it first appears, because the answer depends on several different factors.

For example, the most popular cheese in the world is actually deemed to be Cheddar (based on recent worldwide sales). However, if you look at the most popular cheeses in any given country, this brings up a wide range of answers, from Feta to Brie and even Mozzarella. If those living in countries like France, Spain, Italy, Greece and the USA were surveyed to rate their favourite cheeses, it is likely Cheddar wouldn’t even get a look in for a top three position.

Furthermore, the only logical way that people like us can even try to gauge which cheese is the most popular is predominantly based on the reported sales figures each cheese. However, popularity won’t be the only factor to affect sales figures. Availability of cheeses will also have an effect. Cheeses that are produced on a smaller scale by artisan producers (like Gorgonzola or Stilton for example) simply will not produce anywhere near the amounts to rival the production of Cheddar or Parmesan.

Lastly, the most popular cheeses in a particular country is also significantly influenced by the cheeses that that country actually produces. This makes sense as eating cheese that has been made locally to you reduces the travelling time from ‘farmhouse to table, so to speak.

Some of the Most Popular Cheeses Include Cheddar, Parmesan + Mozzarella
Some of the Most Popular Cheeses Include Cheddar, Parmesan + Mozzarella

 

Most Popular Cheeses by Country

As previously mentioned, the most popular cheese in the world appears to be cheddar as it reported the highest sales.

The most commonly eaten cheese in Spain (by sales) is Manchego – again, this is most likely due to a high production and a plentiful availability in shops, unlike different Spanish cheeses from smaller scale producers.

Cheddar is the UK’s most popular cheese, accounting for just over half of all cheese sales for households in Britain in 2013. This makes sense too, as Cheddar is made in the UK and has been for centuries.

For the USA – Mozzarella seems to be the most popular cheese based on sales figures, followed by Cheddar and Parmesan. It seems the main use for Mozzarella in the United States is for putting onto Pizzas though! It would be unlikely to see some Mozzarella on a cheese board – no matter where you are in the world!

For France, Camembert style cheeses are most popular, followed by Brie and then Roquefort. Again, these are all cheeses which were created in France and have been produced here for many centuries.

Again, it won’t come as a surprise that Greeks love their feta and it definitely beats out any other cheese for annual sales in Greece.

 

Generally Popular Cheeses around the World

In our opinion here are some of the most popular cheeses across the globe:

  1. Parmigiano Reggiano (Parmesan)
  2. English Cheddar
  3. Roquefort
  4. Brie
  5. Gruyere
  6. Feta
  7. Mozzarella
  8. Manchego
  9. Gorgonzola
  10. Epoisses

Why Not Try Our Different Types of Cheese!

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Tunworth Cheese Pastry Parcels

I am a bit obsessed with using up leftovers to help avoid food waste. So when I found myself with some leftover pesto from the Mushroom Walnut Parsley pesto recipe I made over the weekend and some perfectly ripe Tunworth Cheese I went on a mission to create a tasty meal out of them.

These Tunworth Cheese Pastry Parcels turned out to be unexpectedly good! I shouldn’t really have been surprised though as, in my humble opinion, there is hardly a better food combination than crisp pastry and hot melting cheese!

These filo pastry parcels are filled with Tunworth cheese, buttery mushrooms, caramelised onions and the walnut parsley pesto.

If you haven’t tried Tunworth cheese yet, you are in for a real treat! For hardcore cheese lovers, you would be hard pressed to find a better British cheese than Tunworth. Made in Hampshire by Hampshire Cheeses, it is a bloomy-rinded, soft cows milk cheese that melts in a magnificent fashion. Ideal for this recipe! When eaten on its own, it has a lovely creamy texture and a long-lasting sweet, nutty flavour. If this hasn’t convinced you to try it, then maybe the fact that it has won Supreme Champion at the British Cheese Awards not once, but twice! If you love cheese but haven’t yet tried Tunworth, I highly recommend it.

 

Tunworth cheese filled pastry parcels with caramelised onions and mushrooms
Tunworth cheese filled pastry parcels with caramelised onions and mushrooms

Tunworth Cheese Pastry Parcels Recipe

Serves 4 as a starter at a dinner party with a salad or 2 as a weekday supper with buttered baby new potatoes

Ingredients

– 1 medium red onion, peeled + cut in half lengthways and then thinly sliced into half moons

– 2 tablespoons of olive oil

– 1 tablespoon of butter

– 250g chestnut mushrooms, rubbed clean and roughly chopped

– 120g of Tunworth Cheese (You can use more or less depending on how much you like this type of cheese)

– 8 sheets of filo pastry

– 4 tablespoons of the mushroom walnut parsley pesto from our previous recipe

 

Recipe Instructions

Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add thinly sliced onion and sauté slowly, stirring often, until they are soft and translucent. Takes around 15 minutes. Set aside.

Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the frying pan with 1 tablespoon of butter over a high heat. Add chopped mushrooms and sauté until all their liquid has released and evaporated. Takes around 10 minutes.

Lightly oil a baking tray. Carefully separate 2 sheets from the filo pastry. Lay them flat on top of one another on a clean surface (I use a large clean chopping board) and spoon on a heaped tablespoon of the pesto mixture into the middle. Spread into a small circle.

Divide the caramelised onions into 4. Spoon a portion onto the pesto mixture. Repeat with the mushrooms. Slice the cheese in 8 pieces. Add the cheese onto the mushrooms and onions. Taste a small pinch of all the ingredients together to check if it needs seasoning.

Pull the corners of the pastry up over the top of the mixture and pinch together hard about 2.5cm from the top of the pastry to combine, leaving a sealed parcel. Repeat to create the other 3 parcels. Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until pastry is crisp & golden brown in colour.

Serve with new potatoes or salad and enjoy!

Mushroom Walnut Parsley Pesto Recipe with Goats Cheese

We had a great long weekend here in Sussex and although the sun didn’t shine every day, we had lots of it yesterday to keep us smiling! The cloudy weather was actually a blessing in disguise as it gave me the opportunity to spend time in the kitchen to perfect a recipe that I have been working on for a while now. Here is the recipe for a mushroom-walnut-parsley pesto which I mixed into courgette noodles and then topped with a generous amount of one of my favourite goats cheeses of all time – the Rosary Garlic and Herb Goats Cheese.

This goats cheese is made in the UK and was the Supreme Champion at the British Cheese awards in 2014. It has an exceptional mousse-like soft texture and is subtly flavoured by a bit of garlic and some herbs. I can eat this simply stirred into pasta on its own with just a little olive oil, it is that tasty.

Combined with the earthy quality of the mushrooms and walnuts in this recipe, this cheese really shines and turns this humble dinner into a very special evening meal.

I made this recipe gluten free by using courgette noodles but if you are not following a gluten free diet then you can easily swap these for normal wheat pasta.

 

Mushroom Walnut Parsley Pesto
Mushroom Walnut Parsley Pesto topped with creamy Rosary Goats Cheese

Mushroom Walnut Parsley Pesto Recipe with Goats Cheese

Serves 2 as a main evening meal. The pesto can be stored in an air tight contained and kept in the fridge to be used within 4 days.

 

Ingredients

– 2 medium courgettes (or 160g of dried wheat pasta if preferred), sliced into noodles by using a vegetable spiralizer or a vegetable peeler.

– 50ml + 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

– 2 tablespoons of butter

– 500g of chestnut mushrooms, rubbed clean with kitchen paper + roughly sliced

– 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

– 1 medium clove of garlic (finely chopped or grated)

– 80g of walnuts, raw or toasted – your preference!

– 25g of flat leaf parsley

– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

– 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

– 100g Rosary Goats Cheese, sliced into 4 circles

– 25g of pine nuts to serve

 

Recipe Instructions

In a frying pan, heat one tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over a high heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through, tender and have released all their liquid. This should take around 15 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.

Using a blender, add the finely chopped garlic, walnuts, parsley, 50ml of olive oil, salt, pepper, 1 cup of the cooked mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of water and pulse until thoroughly combined.

Heat a tablespoon of butter over a medium heat in the frying pan used to sauté the mushrooms. Add the courgette noodles and sauté until just heated through. Stir in 4 heaped tablespoons of the pesto to warm the mixture through. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.

**If using normal wheat pasta, then cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, drain and then stir the pesto through the hot pasta in the pan. Again, taste and adjust the seasoning if required.**

Spoon the mixture into bowls and top with the remaining mushrooms, the sliced goats cheese and the pine nuts. Enjoy!

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