Cider and Cheese Fondue for BBC Radio Leicester’s Food friday

mmm melty cheesy boozy goodness…

So last Friday was my turn to do BBC Radio Leicester’s Food Friday piece with the fabulous Ben Jackson and what better way to kickstart my morning than cider and cheese. I was a *touch* hungover after an unexpected but very much welcome few glasses of wine the night before and as it turns out, cider cheese fondue is in fact a seriously good hangover cure!

I always have a blast when Ben comes to visit, he is so passionate about food, cooking and particularly local food that we spend most of our time swapping food news, stories, new food finds/cookbooks we’ve found and basically just immersing ourselves in a month’s worth of goings on. Then I cook, we laugh, I usually add lots of booze to something and we eat, good times.

Here we are making cider and cheese fondue (1hr40mins into the show) where I actually use the phrase: “Hey it’s Winter, lets get our booze on”, yeah thats me with a hangover, yeah I have no shame.

Good local cider and ace cheese are the solid foundations to a heavenly gooey dish, fancy giving it a go? Here’s how (you could even cook along to us making it by clicking on the blue link above, totally interactive, so techno hip):

Cheese and Cider Fondue:

Ingredients:

  • 500g grated cheese (I used 100g Emmental, 200g Sparkenhoe Red Leicester, 200g Smoked Lincolnshire Poacher)
  •  1 tablespoon corn flour
  • 450ml cider (I used local Scrambler sparkling cider)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch dried thyme
  • few slivers garlic, fresh or dried
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion granules
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon Calvados
  • 1 heaped teaspoon porcini powder
  • pinch dried chilli flakes
Method:
  1. Grate your cheese into a bowl, add the corn flour and mix well.
  2. Combine cider, thyme, garlic and lemon juice in a saucepan and bring to boil. When boiling reduce heat and add a handful of cheese. Stir in until its melted.
  3.  Keep adding cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly until all the cheese is used.
  4.  Add your onion granules, nutmeg, black pepper, porcini mushroom powder and chilli flakes then stir in your calvados.
  5. Serve hot with chunks of crusty bread, boiled new potatoes, crisps, chunks of ham, chips, whatever takes your fancy!
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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.

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.