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 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
– 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
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.
There are hundreds (if not thousands) of different cheeses produced all over the world. Knowing a little about the different types of cheese can help you decide which you think you might like when trying and discovering new cheeses. It also helps when making recipes that use cheese too as some cheeses melt better than others and some are better for grating, spreading or simply enjoying on their own as part of a cheese board.
There are several different methods used to categorise cheese. Generally though, cheeses are most commonly categorised in the following ways:
Country (and area) of origin
Methods by which they are created
Type of milk used
Length of Ageing
Different Types of Cheese by Texture
This is the most common way that cheeses are categorised.
Fresh cheese describes the types of cheeses that are ready to eat pretty much from the moment they are made. They aren’t aged and therefore have a high moisture content. This also means that their shelf life is quite short – usually only 5-7 days – and they are best eaten on the day of opening. Fresh cheese has a fresh light flavour and can be described as bland. However they are usually lower in fat and sodium than their harder counterparts, so good for those following a low fat diet. Examples of fresh cheese include Ricotta, Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese and Mozzarella.
Unlike fresh cheese, soft cheeses do require some time to mature so that their flavours can develop. They are characterised by their really soft texture. They still retain quite high levels of moisture though and really should be eaten within a couple of weeks (stored correctly) as they will spoil. They are easy to spread on crackers or biscuits. Examples of soft cheese include Brie and Camembert
Easy to guess from the name that this category is for cheeses that sit in between soft cheese and hard cheeses. They have a semi-hard texture (sometimes described as rubbery) and aren’t matured for very long. Examples of semi-hard cheeses include Edam + Gouda.
Firm Hard Cheese
These cheeses go through a process where they are pressed to remove most of their moisture and whey. This ensures they have a long shelf life. The cheeses are then matured for a minimum of 12 weeks right up to several months. Firm hard cheeses like Parmesan and Vintage Cheddar are often matured for up to 2 years. These cheeses carry a strong flavour! They are perfect for grating over pasta or using in vegetable bakes.
Crumbly Hard Cheese
The difference between Firm Hard Cheese and Crumbly Hard Cheese is that even though the latter are still pressed to remove most of the moisture + whey, they are only matured for around 4-8 weeks, which makes them relatively young in comparison to the firm hard cheeses. As they aren’t matured very long they have a crumbly texture and a fresher, more subtle flavour. Examples of crumbly hard cheese include Lancashire Cheese and Caerphilly.
Blue cheeses get their own category for special reason. Even though you can get blue cheeses that would fit in with most of the above mentioned categories, they are still unique from other cheeses. That is because of the addition to the cheese of a blue mould – penicillium roqueforti – which is added to either the milk or to the curds just prior to the cheese being shaped. The usual process also involves the cheese being pierced with a stainless steel contraption which lets air into it to activate the mould. We think that Britain really leads the way with blue cheese – and not just because of our Stilton! Blue cheese is perfect crumbled over salads or added onto roasted mushrooms.
These usually also sit in a category of their own because they all contain added flavour through different foods being added to them – usually either fruits, nuts, garlic or herbs and spices. Cheeses that fall in this category include the Rosary Garlic and Herb Goats Button – it’s a beautiful goats cheese with a mousse like texture that has been subtly blended with garlic and rolled in delicate herbs. These cheeses sit very nicely on a cheese board.
Other Methods of Categorising Cheese
Country of Origin
This describes where the cheese first originated from and the specific methods by which it was originally created. Some countries have gone and given a special status to the name of the cheese so it can only be given the name – like Roquefort or Manchego for example – if it is produced in that area and using the strict traditional methods. This helps ensure quality. Cheddar originated from Somerset, but it does not yet have protected status and therefore the quality can differ dramatically from one cheddar to the next.
Type of Milk Used
Cheese is always made from milk (unless it is vegan cheese and then it is mainly made from cashew nuts or nutritional yeast) but where the milk has come from makes a big difference to the flavour. Cheese is most often made from cows milk, sheep’s milk and goats milk. Sometimes buffalo milk is used to, like to make this British Buffalo Milk Blue Cheese.
Goats milk has quite a strong flavour, often being described as ‘goaty’ in taste, because of the subtle farmyard-y quality. Don’t let this put you off trying it though – some of the best cheeses around are made from Goats milk.
Cows cheese is mild and sweet in taste and gives a subtle creamy flavour when young. Sheep cheese sits somewhere in the middle of the two flavour-wise. It is also referred to as Ewes Milk Cheese.
How Long the Cheese is Aged For
Cheeses are aged to remove moisture, producing a more intense flavour and a denser finished product. This is done in a temperature controlled environment so that bacteria can work on the cheese. The longer they have to work, the more creamy they get, until once enough moisture has left, they become crumbly once more (for example with Parmesan and vintage cheddar which are usually aged for a couple of years!) Sometimes cheese can be categorised by how long it is aged for as this is a defining factor in how the end product turns out.