Thursday, 7 November 2013

Top 10 Ways With Cheese

Top 10 Ways With Cheese

A Celebration Of Cheese

I confess right here, right now, a love of cheese. There are very few cheeses on this earth that I do not like although I also confess that there are still many that I have not tried. For a food which is really so simple it is simply astounding the myriad varieties which can be had. From the mild smooth fromage frais and ricotta to the aged cheddar, from the salty fetta to the blue rocquefort, stilton or gorgonzola, cheese has as many uses as it has styles. Celebrate my love of cheese with me and maybe add a few of your own.

Image Credit

French Cheese

French Cheese

1. Swiss Fondue

An Elegant Dish With Humble Origins

Sweet Quark and Cream Fondue with Fruit and Muesli BallsNow more commonly associated with seventies dinner parties, the origins of the swiss fondue are those of meagre frugality. With nothing remaining in the pantry by winter's end but dry bread and hard cheese, the ingenuity of the peasant farmers of the Neuchatel region of Switzerland produced a tasty meal to see them out until the weather warmed and food production could again begin.

The fondue shown in the poster above uses Sweet Quark and Cream for a sweet version of this popular meal.

Sweet Quark and Cream Fondue with Fruit and Muesli Balls
Jörn Rynio
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These Fondue Sets Will Make Fondue Nights A Breeze

2. Ploughman's Lunch

A Very English Pub Lunch

Apparently the origins of this now well-known British meal are a little dubious with some evidence that the term may have been invented in the early sixties by the English Country Cheese Council as a marketing ploy to sell British cheese in pubs. A simple meal, with some variations, the essential ingredients of a "Ploughmans" are bread, a good strong cheese such as cheddar or stilton, and pickles (relish). Also common are sliced ham, pickled onions, dill cucumbers or gherkins, sliced apple and hard-boiled egg.

Photo used under a Creative Commons licence from H is for Home

Serve It Beautifully

When it comes to serving beautiful cheese, a simple platter will do. But it helps to have something large with good knives that will do the job with ease.

3. Welsh Rarebit

For Lovers Of Cheese On Toast

"Rarebit" or "Rabbit"? Although it seems that the term rarebit has become entrenched in our language, there is still argument over the correct name of this dish. According to Wikipedia "The first recorded use of the term Welsh rabbit was in 1725, but the origin of the term is unknown. It may be an ironic name coined in the days when the Welsh were notoriously poor: only better-off people could afford butcher's meat, and while in England rabbit was the poor man's meat, in Wales the poor man's meat was cheese."

According to the American satirist Ambrose Bierce, the continued use of rarebit was an attempt to rationalize the absence of rabbit, writing in his 1911 Devil's Dictionary: "RAREBIT n. A Welsh rabbit, in the speech of the humorless, who point out that it is not a rabbit. To whom it may be solemnly explained that the comestible known as toad in the hole is really not a toad, and that ris de veau à la financière is not the smile of a calf prepared after the recipe of a she-banker." Whatever your preference, the dish itself consists of cheddar cheese mixed with beer or ale, a little mustard, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and seasonings, mixed together, spread on toast then grilled until melted and golden.

Photo used under a Creative Commons licence from the hanner

4. Greek Salad

The purists will argue about the authenticity of the addition of certain ingredients. An authentic Greek salad will not have lemon or pepper or red pepper and definitely no fancy peeling of the cucumber. But I believe that part of the wonder and beauty of living in Australia is the manner in which we have embraced the food-styles of other lands and in particular those of the mediterranean nations.

We may have made a few changes here and there but that is not a bad thing. The essential ingredients of a good greek salad are plump ripe tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, black olives, oregano, salt, olive oil and wonderful fetta cheese. This wonderful video from SBS Television's series "Food Safari" shows George Calombaris making a wonderful greek salad with the addition of dill and crusty croutons.

 Photo used under a Creative Commons licence from grooble

Cheese & Wine

5. Spanakopita

Greek Spinach & Cheese Pie

Spinach and cheese just seem to go together and the greeks have perfected the combination with Spanakopita. A simple pie of filo pastry filled with spinach and a mixture of fetta, ricotta and a small amount of strong hard cheese such as pecorino, the spanakopita can be baked as a single large dish cut into diamond shaped portions or made into individual triangles.

Need a recipe for Spanakopita? This one is good.


Photo used under a Creative Commons licence from anthimeria


Greek Cookbooks

Anyone who has spent anytime with Greek people will know how wonderful their cooking is. Here is a selection of fabulous Greek cookbooks so you can immerse yourself in these culinary delights at home.

6. Palak Panir

Another Perfect Blend Of Spinach And Cheese

This spicy vegetarian dish is an Indian classic. Women in India make their own fresh cheese. Paneer is now more widely available or you can substitute Ricotta. For the recipe see this article: asafoetida

Photo used under a Creative Commons licence from di.wineanddine


The early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.

 - Jon Hammond

7. Spätzle

Schwabische Pasta

One of the wonderful people we met during our travels in the late eighties was a student from Heidelberg. We met while backpacking in India and he extended an invitation to us to look him up when we reached Germany. When we called he invited us over for a traditional Schwabische meal. We had no idea what to expect. When we arrived at his student digs we found him preparing home cooked german pasta layered with finely chopped ham and grated cheese. We had it served with salad and fresh bread while watching a slide-show of our days together in India. It was one of those memorable meals.

Photo used under a Creative Commons licence from jasonlam

Making Spätzle

German Mac & Cheese

Spätzle Press & Skimmer

Makes making spätzle so much easier

8. Risotto a la Milanese

Smooth Creamy Rice With Parmesan Cheese

For a while there I didn't make risotto. When the kids were young it just seemed too difficult to stand over the stove continually adding stock and stirring to get that perfect blend of creamy and al dente. But when you have a beautiful Osso Bucco looking for the perfect accompaniment there really is only one option.

Photo used under a Creative Commons licence from Straußer

Curious About a Particular Cheese?

A Set Of Stock Pots For The Serious Cook

Heuck 36003 4 Piece Stainless Steel Stock Pot Set
This set has pots of different sizes so you don't always have drag out your big pot for a smaller job.

The Heuck 4 piece nested stainless steel stockpot set is sure to bring an array of possibilities to your everyday cooking. The versatility is endless when using the 8, 12, 16, and 20 quart set. Each pot has a luminous mirrored exterior with riveted handles and a polished stainless steel lid. Whether it be “low and slow” cooking your favorite soups and stews, or boiling pasta and seafood, you have all the options right at hand. For best results while cooking, temperatures of medium or lower on a cook top are recommended unless boiling water. To extend the life of this set hand washing is recommended.

9. Cheesecake

Baked or Set - Either Way It's Delicious

A velvety smooth set cheesecake. A tangy baked cheesecake. My kids love it. Every time we make it, it's a hit. At the supermarket the other day we picked up a free cookbook of Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipes just for buying three Philly items. This was no flimsy pamphlet. This was a substantial book. How could we resist an offer like that? It's not all cheesecakes. There are other yummy recipes as well. But I think I know which pages we will be zeroing in on. At least at first anyway.

This photo of a Toblerone cheesecake is my own. It was made with the help of my teenage son.

10. Roquefort Cheese & Crackers

I know that there are wonderful recipes for Roquefort. But as far as I am concerned there is really only one way to eat this most sensational of French cheeses and that is as it comes with a very plain cracker so that just the wonderful flavour of the Roquefort is all that you taste as you bite into it. For a while there Roquefort was banned from Australia by whichever government authority it is that makes decisions on imported foodstuffs. The reason, apparently, was that it is made from unpasteurised milk. Having travelled through much of Europe and delighted in the markets and the variety of produce available and comparing it to some of the sterile offerings in our more modern, "enlightened" supermarkets, I was simply astounded and annoyed by this ridiculous decision. It turns out that it took a vigorous campaign over a number of years by some very devoted cheese afficionados to have that decision reversed and now we can once more enjoy this wonderful delicacy.

Photo used under a Creative Commons licence from Nicolas DARQUÉ

A Piece of Blue Cheese

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