Fiery Carrot and Beetroot Slaw

The beetroots that I planted this time last year are still providing me with plenty of leaves and veg but I need to make space for this year’s planting so I’m eating a lot of them at the moment*.  I also have a massive amount of carrots at the moment so this coleslaw was thrown together to tackle the bounty.  Beetroot has a really earthy flavour so it can take other strong ingredients being thrown at it so the dressing has a big kick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large beetroot, peeled and V-Sliced into matchsticks
  • 6 carrots, prepared as above.
  • 1 finely sliced red onion
  • poppy seeds (blue and white)

Dressing:

  • 1 heaped tablespoon hot english mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Ikea Dill sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground pepper

Make your dressing, pour it over the rest of the ingredients, mix and eat, simples.

*Eating beetroot can give you a bit of a fright when you go to the loo, your poo is purple! Don’t panic, it literally  scares the crap out of me every time!

Advertisements

Chocolate and Cardamon Butter

Best breakfast ever

This butter is just all kinds of wonderful.  If you only do one thing this weekend, make this butter and spread it all over hot croissants! My recipe is here. Enjoy!

Sexy Summer Fennel Salad

Bad salads are boring and depressing, great salads on the other hand make me feel happy and energised just by looking at them.  I feel that I absorb health just by being in the presence of a sexy salad, so actually eating it makes me feel positively saintly.  In fact it’s my duty to accompany such a virtuous dish with some seriously awesome sticky ribs and crispy chicken wings just to redress the cosmic balance (well, thats my excuse anyway).

I was passing my greengrocer’s when I spotted a big bulb of fennel perched plumply on top of a pile of celery, yeah, I wanted that bad boy and 70p later he was mine.  The fridge was raided and this salad thrown together.  The salad itself was fab but the star of the show was the dressing.  I had a bit of fiery honey and balsamic mustard left in the jar from my Good Fork delivery and a bit of Womersley Foods Lime Black Pepper and Lavender Vinegar left that was screaming out for a bit of fennel action.

Salad ingredients:

  • 1 fennel bulb and fennel fronds
  • 1 large apple
  • 8 radishes
  • 1 stick celery
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • fresh ginger mint, chopped
  • poppy seeds

Dressing:

  • Mustard with honey and balsamic vinegar (needs to be a really hot mustard)
  • Womersley Lime, Black Pepper and Lavender vinegar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • glug of lemon infused rapeseed oil
  • sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

My trusty V-Slicer mandolin comes into it’s own for dishes like this, it’s my favourite bit of kitchen kit and I picked it up from a car boot sale for £1 about 7 years ago.  Just finely slice and julienne all the salad ingredients. Put all your dressing ingredients together and mix well then coat your salad in the dressing.

Jubilee Choc Pops!

Ready and set in about 20 minutes

In the run up to this Jubilee weekend I have seen dozens of Jubilee Battenburgs and Union Jack cupcakes on Twitter and glossy magazines. My nod to the red white and blue mania that’s so abundant at the moment are these Choc Pops that I made for Domestic Sluttery.  If you haven’t visited the Sluttery website then you really are missing out on a whole host of awesomeness that covers food, travel, fashion, homewares and booze, yes, there is lots of booze.

Because chocolate can always be naughtier

You should most definitely check out the naughty bunting that caused a bit of a fuss the other day then buy some and make some of these naked chocolate people and head off to the village Jubilee tea party….

BBC Radio Leicester and Melton Mess

Cooking on the radio you say? Well yes indeed! Last Friday morning I had the pleasure of the wonderful Ben Jackson from BBC Radio Leicester being in my tiny kitchen at Wyldelight Cottage.  I had been practicing the art of not swearing for 2 days and was still a bit nervous until it dawned on me in the middle of the night before that yes, I could practice not swearing, but the art of “not sounding like a total twat when nervous” has always eluded me. I’ve always done it at the most inopportune moments too, normally when in the vicinity of really handsome men (throw a uniform in there and I go from sounding a bit like a twat to talking full blown nonsensical rubbish!

Luckily we had a good half hour before we started recording just catching up and talking food, that ALWAYS relaxes me and puts me at ease. I wanted to keep the recipe really simple and decided to do something in real time so listeners could see just how easy it all was.  I made my Melton Mess with Vanilla Sea Salted Caramel Sauce, it’s outrageously good too and the recipe will feature in this months Great Food Magazine which is out tomorrow. There is lots of cream, custard, strawberries, meringue and yes plenty of salted caramel sauce involved! There weren’t any disasters; I didn’t swear, I did get very excited about what I was making, I probably sounded like a bit of a twat but all in all it went really well and I will have a regular slot each month!

You can click here to listen, I start from 1 hr 41mins in, and you can tell I’m smiling the whole time as you can hear my lisp (lisps are all kinds of sexy you know!).

Melton Mess with salted caramel sauce

Ingredients:

  • About a dozen or more large strawberries
  • 2 tblsp caster sugar
  • 520ml double cream
  • 1 large meringue base or 8 meringue “nests”
  • 250ml good quality vanilla custard
  • salted caramel sauce

Method:

  1. Slice about two thirds of your strawberries and put them in a bowl, sprinkle over the caster sugar, give them a stir and leave to macerate whilst you get on with the rest of the dish. Keep the remaining strawberries to one side for now.
  2. Using an electric mixer whip the cream until it’s firm, be careful though as it’s very easy to over whip double cream and it will start to separate (and you could accidentally end up with butter!).
  3. Crush your meringues into pieces, don’t make them too small, as you want different textures to run through the dessert, then stir them into the cream.
  4. Pour your custard and macerated strawberries and their juice on top of the whipped cream and very gently fold in. You don’t want it to be all mixed in completely, just folded carefully so you have pools of strawberries and custard amongst the cream.
  5. Carefully tip the mixture onto a big serving platter, scatter the strawberries you had set to one side over the top then drizzle liberally with the salted caramel sauce. Have the pot of caramel on the table so people can help themselves to more, I warn you though: this sauce is highly addictive!

Vanilla Salted Caramel Sauce:

  •  120g soft light brown sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 tblsp water
  • 260ml double cream
  • 2 tsp Halen Môn Vanilla sea salt flakes

Method:

  1. Put the butter, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until bubbling it’s important that you don’t stir it though just swirl the pan to combine.
  2.  Once it’s all melted, let it bubble away for 3 minutes then whisk in your cream and remove from the heat. Add a teaspoon of salt flakes, taste to see if it needs any more (careful though it will be hot).  It will seem very runny but it thickens as it cools so make several hours before if you want a firmer sauce and pop it in the fridge.

I sent Ben off with a goodie bag of amazing local foods that are really overlooked in Melton.  There is such a big focus on the pork pies and stilton cheese that the other little known producers just get left behind.  This weeks goodie bag is a selection of my favourite things that I buy in Melton and not a pork pie or slice of stilton anywhere!

  • Blackberry vinegar from Bridget at Melton Sunday market
  • Smoked sausages – Grasmere farm (Tuesday market)
  • Smoked wild boar bacon – Paul aka The Roosterman (Melton Market Tues, Fri, Sun)
  • Homemade butter – Maria (Tuesday market)
  • Smoked middle bacon Derek Jones Butchers Melton (the BEST ever!) Plus a slice of their brawn
  • various jams/chilli sauce/chutney from my good self as I was spoiling him!

The next goodie bag will be equally as good and I have no idea what I’m going to cook yet but I’m really excited already!

Raw Milk – homemade mozzarella, ricotta and lots of other things!

People are divided over raw milk but I am a big fan and I am lucky enough to live near to Lubcloud Organic Dairy who not only sell raw milk but also have chosesn not to homogenise any of their products.  When I was little I had to be quick in the mornings getting to the milk bottles on the doorstep. The birds were wise to the sight of Malcolm, our milkman back on Anglesey, and would peck through the foil lids to get to the cream that had risen to the top of the bottle.  I always used to sneakily pour a glass of that amazing creamy milk before putting it back in the fridge as a reward for being good and bringing the bottles in!

These days milk is homogenised as standard, so the fat is evenly distributed and not only don’t you get that wonderful creamy layer at the top of your pint but you also don’t get those glorious little dots of fat on the inside of your glass.  Personally I think that the taste really suffers as a result of both pasteurisation and homogenisation so it’s no contest for me when it comes to flavour.

tiny dots of loveliness around the inside of the glass

Raw milk from an organic herd really can’t be beaten for flavour so I decided to see how many things I could make from 2 litres of the stuff.  I started with mozzarella…

A quick look around the internet and I found Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s recipe for mozzarella and set to work.

The curds and whey quickly separated once the citric acid and rennet were added and the curds removed and left to drain. I should point out that this really does make your house smell like baby sick and it left me feeling quite dubious that something nice could be made from something that smelt so awful.  Nevertheless the curds were removed with a slotted spoon and left to drain for a bit in a sieve.

I wanted smallish balls of cheese, so the mozzarella curd was thickly sliced, put back into the hot whey then stretched and folded back on itself a few times before being rolled into balls and plunged into ice water.

Mozzarella on whey bread

still can't believe I made mozzarella so easily!

A quick shout out on Twitter for suggestions for the leftover whey brought a resounding call for ricotta.  Another quick look online for a really simple method resulted in me finding this method which seemed by far the easiest.

The remaining whey was strained through a coffee filter and left to drip in the fridge before being turned out onto a board.

I really couldn’t wait to try the ricotta, I wasn’t disappointed. I guess I’m used to bland, mass produced stuff because the flavour really took me by surprise – there was so much of it!  I was now really excited about my bumbling foray into the world of home cheese making.

So now I had my beautiful cheeses I needed some pizza dough to showcase them on.  I made a batch of plain and polenta flour dough using 650ml of the leftover whey.  I hadn’t intended to use polenta flour but I hardly had any other flour so substituted it in and from now on I will always do this as it was amazing!  It was about 1/3 polenta and made for a beautiful golden dough with great texture.  Fingers were crossed whilst the pizzas cooked that the mozzarella behaved as it should…

It worked perfectly! The mozzarella melted and oozed and developed a lovely brown crust and most importantly it tasted wonderful, I was so happy!

I then made a polenta and bread flour whey loaf…

This loaf was eaten almost immediately topped with salsa verde from The Good Fork’s deli box and was seriously good!

So what to do with the rest of the whey? I still had about 2 pints of it left.  Another shout out on Twitter went out.  I was told by @pukkapaki that whey is wonderful for the skin and hair so I made a homemade face pack and added a ladle of whey.

Whey facepack/cleanser or as Glen calls it "that hippy shit in a bowl"

Soothing/moisturising facepack:

  •  porridge oats
  • 1 chamomile tea bag
  • 1 Detox tea bag (milk thistle, dandelion & green tea – tastes like crap but great in a facepack)
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1 ladle whey

Just mix them all and add more oats until you get a consistency you like then apply to a clean face and leave on for 10 – 15 minutes then remove with a warm cloth.  I’ve been so impressed with the effect that its had on my skin that I’m also using this as a cleanser morning and night as the porridge oats gently exfoliate the skin.  All of these wonderful beauty tips fall on deaf ears for my fella though who just calls it “that hippy shit in a bowl”.

*Update: from this morning (3 days later)

Glen: I wish you’d stop washing your face with porridge the bits get everywhere.

Me: It’s not porridge its a homemade face pack and cleanser dear.

Glen: It’s porridge with tea bags in it, you are essentially washing your face with breakfast.

Well he does have a point there but my skin is so soft and my rosacea is clearing up so breakfast face-washing will continue!*

I still had some more whey left so I decided to try Carl Legge’s suggestion of using it to lacto ferment vegetables and I gave Kimchee making a go.  It’s still fermenting away though so I’ll do a separate post on this when it’s ready.  The final bit of whey has gone to my chickens as a bit of a treat as it helps keep their eggshells hard and is a good all round tonic for poultry.

So from 2 litres of raw milk (which cost £2.40 delivered to my door) I made the most meltingly wonderful mozzarella, the best ricotta I’ve ever tasted, 2 wonderful pizzas, a loaf of delicious bread, lots of face pack/skin cleanser, Kimchee and a special dinner for the chickens, not bad going really.

*Thanks for all the lovely messages on Twitter/Facebook/here about raw milk, I am updating this post with a list of dairies (cow,sheep,goat) that offer raw milk, if you know any please let me know so I can add them*

Raw Milk Dairies:

East Midlands

Lubcloud Orgainic Dairy (cow) www.lubclouddairy.co.uk

The South East

Ellie’s Dairy (goat) www.elliesdairy.blogspot.co.uk

Hot Cross Baked Cheesecake

I have totally got my baking mojo on at the moment!  In addition to my being a writer and recipe creator for Great Food Magazine I’m also a food writer for Domestic Sluttery, and so when we were asked to get our thinking caps on for Easter recipes (that weren’t hot cross buns) this is what I came up with.

I normally only make cheesecakes that you just leave to set in the fridge but my baking confidence has really been boosted recently thanks to a series of awesome successes that I’ve made from my Bread Revolution baking book.  Now I know you’re not meant to mess around experimenting with baking as it’s more of a science and you really should follow a tried and tested recipe but I can’t help myself.  I wanted a cheesecake that despite being made from really rich ingredients actually felt silky, light and fluffy in the mouth but still had,well, a bit of balls behind it if you know what I mean?  I had a look online for recipes but nothing really lit my fire so I threw caution to the wind, bought a selection of creams and soft cheeses and made it up as I went, bit of a risk as I only had enough ingredients to do it once but no guts no glory right?

It was a really anxious wait as the cake needed to cool for a couple of hours before releasing it from its tin.  I could only do this once after all, and if it collapsed I would have cried, and Glen would have found me sobbing over a collapsed cake and would have said something along the lines of “it’s only a cake”, and I would have thrown the floppy cake of sadness at him.  Luckily he actually found me crying tears of joy as I stood in the kitchen, holding the freshly released cake tin aloft and pointing proudly at my masterpiece, “it’s only a cake” he said, harumph.  “But its not only a cake its a Hot Cross Baked Bloody Cheesecake!” I shouted triumphantly still waving my empty cake tin as if it were an Oscar, nothing was going to piss on my cake bonfire.  Then I realised something…

I had lost the natural light and so the cake needed to go back in the fridge overnight so I could photograph it first thing in the morning.  This meant that I didn’t yet know what the inside was like, it could be an awful scrambled eggy mess for all I knew.  I had a large rum to steady my nerves that night before bed.

First thing the next morning I headed to the fridge, took out my cake and carefully sliced a triangle out.  Looked good so far, but how did it taste? AWESOME! Tears of joy! I quickly took a couple of shots of the inside of the cheesecake then celebrated with a very triumphant Hot Cross Baked Bloody Cheesecake Breakfast!

EAT ME!

So if you fancy trying something a bit different this Easter then my recipe is here.  Have a look around the site though there are loads of kickass recipes there and lovely things to fill your home with too!

Preserved Lemon Pickle

One thing I have learnt is that when you have a glut of something, be that money, veg, meat or whatever, always plan for when it’s not going to be around.  I’m pretty good at doing that with everything except money!  Quite often on the market you will see big bowls of fruit or veg for £1.  It’s reduced because it needs to be eaten quickly so I buy them and preserve them for another day.

This really quick pickle uses a few of the jars stored away in the pantry and is amazing with curry (I quite often have it just simply stirred through cooked rice).

Ingredients:

  • 1 large preserved lemon (flesh removed & discarded and skin rinsed thoroughly then chopped)
  • pickled red cabbage
  • pickled cornichons
  • bunch of mint
  • finely chopped red onion
  • teaspoon black onion seeds
  • good pinch black pepper

 

Cinnamon Swirls

Recently I visited the ultra lovely folk of The Thoughtful Bread Company at their pop-up cafè in Bath.  I love these guys, their attitude, their bread (and cakes!) and now their book too.  “Bread Revolution – Rise Up & Bake” has been in my possession for less than 48 hours now and I am already smitten.  It was my fella’s birthday yesterday and I felt bad that the only package that the postie delivered was my copy of Bread Revolution so I told him to pick out absolutely any recipe he liked and I would make it for his birthday (I’m nice like that see).

Now, I don’t really do baking.  I’m not one for weighing and measuring anything and much prefer to rely on my instinct.  I’m a bit odd, I see tastes in terms of shapes and colours (recently I found out it has a name and is called Synesthesia), it’s totally normal for me and I grew up thinking everyone was the same – it actually came as a real shock to find out that other people weren’t manipulating triangles when cooking!  Anyway, Glen picked out their recipe for Cinnamon Swirls which was really handy as I already had all the ingredients in the pantry.  I’ve never made a sweet dough before and wasn’t entirely sure about whether I should keep flouring the worktop as I was kneading the dough (it was really sticky), but I did, and probably shouldn’t have as the dough was a bit tight as I went, but I carried on anyway.

I decided to try their Sugared Raisin version. I’m not a huge fan of raisins in any food (heaven forbid I find a raisin in a pot of curry sauce) but I had some jumbo sultanas and raisins set aside for making more smoked tea booze concoctions so I used them and threw in a load of flaked almonds too for good measure.

 So I rolled up my dough creation, and after some Twitter reassurance from Thoughtful Bread that a water sprayer wasn’t essential (massive relief as mine were all still full of last year’s Black Fly beating mix of washing up liquid and water), I sliced it and left them to prove for about 90 minutes.  My intention was to pop most of them in the fridge overnight but I could only fit one tray of 4 in there (damn) so I had to cook the rest, all 12 of them (double damn!).

Just 15 short minutes later and the first batch of 6 were ready.  I decided to add a good dose of cinnamon to the sugar glaze that was bubbling away on the hob (I love cinnamon), glazed them then waited for them to cool before scattering a few more flaked almonds on them and drizzling with icing.

I can honestly say I was pretty shocked by the result, they tasted even better than I imagined, in fact they tasted amazing!  The dough was so soft and light, the buns sticky and sweet, and the filling was just wonderfully sweet/soft/cinnamony/crunchy.  I have a new addiction.  The buns that went into the fridge overnight were brought to room temp today and baked off – they turned out to be even better.  I think the overnight cold prove helped the dough become even lighter and if I can manage to resist eating them all on the same day I will from now on always do it that way.

I have completely fallen in love with this recipe and for the first time ever I am actually really excited about working my way around a baking cook book.  Bread Revolution’s sweet dough has been quite the bread revelation (sorry) for me and I can’t wait to experiment more. I don’t own a food mixer, which they recommend in order to make their brioche, so it looks as if it may be their Bacon Fougasse next, or their Nettle and Chive Flowerpot Breads, or doughnuts, or rye crackers – there are just SO many I want to crack on with,  but seeing as though I have eaten nothing but cinnamon swirls today perhaps a bit of a foraging walk first for ingredients…..

Salted Caramel and Blueberry Pancakes

I really hadn’t intended to make any pancakes at all today but I needed to buy some milk so popped to the shop only to discover a pack of blueberries reduced to 99p.  Well I took that as a sign that actually yes, I should make pancakes, lots of pancakes to celebrate this little find and, as my love affair with salted caramel reigns strong, it seemed a natural pancake buddy. You can buy jars of salted caramel in the shops but they’re, quite frankly, way too tiny and you don’t get those lovely flakes of sea salt in them so its nice to make a big jug of your own, that way you can guzzle it whilst your pancakes are cooking and still have plenty left for drizzling.

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 120g soft light brown sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 1 tblsp water
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla Halen Môn sea salt flakes

Method:

  1. Put the butter, sugar and water in a saucepan and heat gently until bubbling it’s important that you don’t stir it though just swirl the pan to combine.
  2.  Once it’s all melted, let it bubble away for 3 minutes then whisk in your cream and remove from the heat. Add a teaspoon of salt flakes, taste to see if it needs any more (careful though it will be hot).  It will seem very runny but it thickens as it cools so make several hours before if you want a firmer sauce and pop it in the fridge.

Boris Cat gatecrashes the shot

Super Dukkah

Dukkah is an Egyptian side dish, and contains spices, nuts, and herbs. Use it as a dry dip for bread/roast potatoes/chips, sprinkle on salads/stews, mix with breadcrumbs and spread onto mustard covered lamb and roast, its really versatile and is absolutely wonderful added to your dough when making bread.  I tend to make a large batch and then store in clean recycled jam jars. These quantities are just a guide so you can adjust to your taste if you like chilli maybe add some dried chilli flakes. There are no real rules to Dukkah, every Egyptian family will have their own take on it so you can’t really go wrong, play around with it and you will soon find what works for you.

Half a cup each of:

Walnuts

Hazelnuts

Pistachio Nuts

Hemp Seeds

Sunflower seeds

2 Tblsp Coriander seeds

1 Tblsp of Cumin seeds

2 tsp teaspoon Linseeds

2 tsp each White and black sesame seeds

1 Tblsp Poppy seeds

1/2 tsp Flaked sea salt

few grinds of Pepper

1 tsp Ground cinnamon

1 tsp Sweet paprika

In a dry pan gently toast the first 9 ingredients, moving the pan all the time ensuring they don’t burn.  Once you start to smell the spices cooking remove from heat and leave to cool.  Once cooled pulse them in a coffee grinder (or bash them with a mortar and pestle).  You want them to still be quite coarse.  When you are happy with the mix then add the second group of ingredients and stir to mix.  Taste and adjust your seasoning.  Store in airtight jars. I tend to make a batch every 4 weeks or so although at the moment I am addicted to Dukkah on hot buttered toast so getting through it at quite a rate. Incidentally  this tasty breakfast toast topping also seems to be amazing for hangovers, must be something to do with all those wonderful nuts, seeds and spices!

Finished Dukkah

Easiest Cheesy Leeks ever

This is on our table during the winter months whenever a roast dinner is served, it is always a guaranteed hit with anyone that hasn’t tried it before (and with those that have!). Its my all time favourite leek recipe and by far the easiest one for delicious cheesy leeks.

Ingredients:

  • 6 leeks
  •  250ml cream (single or double is up to you)
  • 100g pot of FRESH grated Grana Padano cheese (all supermarkets sell these in the cheese section)
  •  knob of butter
  • pepper

Method:

Gently sweat the chopped leeks in the butter to soften then add your pot of cream and stir to bring back to temperature. Once hot but not boiling add your tub of Grana Padano and stir in gently.  It will melt almost instantly then simply season and serve. So easy.

Wild Pollen and Jerusalem Artichoke Veloute

Someone said that the difference between Twitter and Facebook is that whilst Twitter makes you realise that there are loads of like minded people out there, Facebook makes you realise how different to you most of your friends are.  One of my favourite things about using Twitter is connecting/following/stalking/getting inspired by other people who share the passion for food as I do and I recently was introduced (on Twitter obviously) to @GlobalHarvest01.  I had planned on finding him at the BBC Good Food show but got somewhat waylaid by Compass Box Whisky and things were a little fuzzy after that. So, David Mason from Global Harvest being incredibly passionate about his wild pollens and being a really nice chap sent me a sample of each of his Wild Fennel and Wild Dill pollens to play with.

I have always been a fan of using the flower heads of fennel and dill in my cooking but had never thought about just using the dry pollen which has the really pure, intense flavour of its plant. Having virtually mugged the postman for them this morning (and scaring an elderly neighbour who was just posting a Christmas card through our letterbox)  I fancied a Jerusalem Artichoke veloutè as the experimental vehicle as I wanted to play around with some other ingredients too.  I decided upon the following core: Jerusalem Artichoke veloutè, Sweet Chestnut Honey, Truffle oil, the Fennel and Dill pollens.

For the veloutè I used:

6 very large Jerusalem Artichokes

1 pint chicken stock

3/4 pint milk

knob of butter

salt and pepper

Peel and chop the artichokes (pop them in lemony water to stop them turning brown whilst doing this) then add them to a pan with a knob of butter and sauté gently until soft and starting to caramelise. Add the chicken stock, and milk, bring back to just boiling then remove from heat and using a stick blender puree until all the artichoke lumps have completely gone, pass through a sieve then season to taste and blend again this time making sure you get plenty of air into the mix and the liquid is light and frothy. Thats my really simple version anyway.

Then the fun of playing with the different flavour combinations.

Truffle and wild Fennel pollen, Sweet Chestnut Honey and Dill pollen, Fennel, cream and Mustard cress.

I tried quite a few different variations of the 4 toppings to the earthy, frothy loveliness of the veloutè, for me the winners were the Truffle oil and Fennel pollen and the Sweet Chestnut honey drizzle and Dill pollen.

So that was today’s experiment. David assures me that the Fennel pollen is incredible when combined with a chocolate ganache so will be having a play with that too and the Dill pollen is screaming out for a cured salmon partnership so thats on the list too as is a gin based cocktail!

Rose Infused Goat’s Cheese

I was born in Bath and whenever I head back to see family the Fine Cheese Company is always one of my favourite haunts to stock up on fantastic cheese.  On my last visit I discovered a fresh goats cheese called Figue a la Rose. I fell completely in love with it but it is almost impossible to find elsewhere bar online delivery and at great cost so of course I decided to make my own.

I used a young, soft, organic goats cheese from Tescos for my first time and have stuck with it for 2 reasons: 1 – it comes in its own little plastic pot so it can infuse in the smallest amount of rose water that envelops the mound of cheese so its not made soggy by the infusion and 2 – I haven’t been able to get hold of any Brockhall Farm (the Queen of British Goats Cheese)  yet as I haven’t been up that way. Believe me I cannot wait to try this with her artisan goats cheese! The Rose water can be found in pretty much any Asian food store and costs about 99p (it also makes a great toner for your face or addition to a homemade facepack!).

Method

Simply peel back the lid a little way and pour in the rose water. Pop the lid back over and cover with a bit of cling film so that any smells from your fridge don’t get in there too. Put it back in the fridge and let infuse overnight. When you are ready to use it simply tip any excess rose water away and pop it on your cheeseboard. So far this has always been the most popular addition to my cheeseboard! If you like Lavender,  try popping a couple of little lavender flowers in with the rose water infusion. Dead easy and so beautiful and delicate in flavour. Drizzle with your favourite honey (I use sweet chestnut honey) and a scatter of pistachio nuts and you are good to go.