So Long, but Thanks For All The Cheese!
So long in lockdown, that is!
If you were wondering - I'm actually locked down onboard my (tiny
) yacht in the (award-winning!)
So no noticeable change in my life from any the of the last three years then.
Well, except that I'm not getting any sailing done.
I'm not sure it's strictly forbidden,
but I can't help feeling all those police launches now magically crawling the Tyne would have something uncomplementary to say about it.
Astonishing, isn't it - that in a post-industrial, technologically advanced modern Western democracy our best response to an epidemic of bad colds
is identical to that of a 12th century peasant: Let's all hide from the plague in our caves.
Thanks government big brains - what a cunning plan!
On the plus side, the marina has kindly re-opened their bathrooms allowing me and the 1½ other live-aboard residents
to once again access a toilet. And a bath.
Anyhoo, some of my more cosmopolitan friends have taken pity on my constrained circumstance (have you seen
and shipped me a gift box
of assorted fine cheeses.
cheeses from Wildes
- Tottenham's urban cheese maker!
Apparently artisanal cheese production is one of our country's essential services and so protected from the lockdown. Hoora!
Now, I don't wish to appear ungrateful but the box arrived somewhat the worse for wear. Or time.
It seems the cheesy content had been sitting around somewhere too warm for too long and all gone a bit soggy and mouldy. A bit.
I don't know where the blame lies - the parcel delivery mechanism here at the marina isn't the best at the moment
and I know the box was sitting in their heated office for a day, possibly two. And then there's the Royal Mail. Plenty of blame to go around there.
Fortunately all the cheeses were still edible (inasmuch as I did eat them), some of them were most delicious, and the accompanying port was excellent :)
A camembert-like semi-soft cheese, good depth of flavour, nutty and sweet, the texture though is a bit too close to chewing gum for me -
not quite runny enough.
A crumbly lightly-pressed brined curd cheese most resembling a Caerphilly with a sharp tangy flavour. Very tasty - I'd buy that by the pound.
A curiously underwhelming green moulded cheese with a rather rubbery texture. It does melt well though.
Oddly enough the Wildes Cheese website makes no mention of the green mould,
and their photo shows a notably mould-free porous yellow cheese with a beer-washed rind.
So now I'm slightly concerned. I don't seem to have suffered any ill effects so far though.
A slightly crumbly hard cheese with a creamy texture, mild flavour and light tangy finish. Quite edible.
Which came in the form of a Baby Blue
(and doesn't appear to be actually blue).
A delicious little roundel and my favourite of the bunch. It's soft and gooey with bags of taste and body and manages to succesfully masquerade as a blue cheese.
It also makes an excellent cheese sauce
, say with mushrooms, bacon, garlic and cream.
Now please enjoy a couple of ludicrously complex recipes I slaved over developing for the consumption of your emergency cheese rations...
And what better compliment to such a sophisticated menu than that ration-card classic: the Jelly Fluffy
Scrambled Eggs with High Cross
Scramble your eggs. Add Cheese. Serve.
Serves 1: ½ person per egg
OK not really, badly scrambled eggs are an abomination so you should learn to make them properly.
And here goes...
- a generous knob of butter
- 2 eggs per person
- a pinch of salt
- 50g High Cross or Caerphilly cheese, crumbled
- 1 tblsp crème fraîche
- a fat slice of wholemeal toast, richly slathered in butter
Crumble your Wildes' High Cross cheese (or Caerphilly).
Break your eggs into a bowl, fish out the bits of shell, and loosely stir. Season with salt.
Melt a generous lump of butter in a pan over medium to low heat.
Pour in the egg and allow to sit until it begins to set at the bottom.
Turn cautiously with a silicon spatula to avoid breaking up the curds.
Continue doing this until the egg coheres and thickens but is still on the loose side
(it will continue cooking to perfection after you remove the pan from the heat).
Stir through crème fraîche
and most of the cheese.
Serve on toast with the remaining cheese scattered on top.
London Blue Pasta Sauce
main pasta meat sauce
This works great with those packets of dirt cheap (£1.50 per kg) cooking
you find at the back of the fridge in your Local Fucking Supermarket™
Ideal for when you're locked down and living on Universal Credit.
If some kind soul has sent you an emergency Wildes
you can use your London Blue
to make this,
in which case you'll need to remove the furry rind first.
Other cheeses are also available.
I didn't measure my ingredients, so this is just a guess - your mileage may vary :)
- 250g cooking bacon, chopped
- 200g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
- 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
- 300ml double cream
- 200g Wildes' London Blue cheese, roughly chopped
- fresh parsley, chopped
Chop the bacon into about ½" chunks.
Chop the mushrooms into about ½" pieces.
Slice the garlic.
Finely chop the tomatoes.
Peel the London Blue cheese and break up into chunks.
Heat a generous puddle of olive oil in a deep frying pan.
Fry the bacon until it finally boils off all that injected water, curing salts and (probably) weird anti-biotics and begins to brown.
Turn down the heat.
Add the garlic and colour without burning.
Add the chopped mushrooms and fry until they lose a little moisture.
Add finely chopped tomatoes and stir briefly until they begin to soften.
Add cream and bring to a simmer.
Stir through the cheese until it melts.
Serve over pasta. It's a thin sauce, so something with a bit of surface to it - farfalle say.
Garnish with a grinding of black pepper and chopped parsley.
Serves up a Massive Bowl.
You know, I'd completely forgotten about making this fluffy jelly stuff with Mum as a kid
until my friend Flora
asked me for a recipe to use up an old tin of evaporated milk she'd found in the back of a cupboard.
I discovered I'd never written the recipe up, so here it is!
The strangely artifical tang of the mousse,
and the way the whipped bubbles gradually separate from the firmer jelly layer in the bowl below really take me back!
I suppose this was one of those recipes invented in the post-war years of my Mum's childhood to cover for their lack of access to real milk or cream.
I don't remember what Mum called it, but it seems to be most often referred to as Carnation Milk Jelly, Jelly Fluff or Jelly Whip.
Mum always used a red jelly (strawberry or raspberry I guess) and
Carnation brand evaporated milk
but I'm sure it's just as good with other brands
Maybe even real cream?
For best whipped volume make sure to thoroughly chill the tin of evaporated milk in the fridge beforehand.
- 170g tin of evaporated milk
- 1 packet of flavoured jelly blocks, suitable for making 1 pint
Melt the jelly with half the amount of boiling water recommended on the packet ,
allow to cool to room temperature.
Using an electric whisk , whip the evaporated milk until it has tripled in size.
While continuing to whisk gradually add the jelly. Whisk for a further 30 seconds then pour into a large bowl or individual serving glasses.
Put in the fridge to set.