I don’t know if it’s my Dutch heritage or the fact that I grew up in the Irish countryside near a farm, but I am totally obsessed with cheese. I could eat it all day and it’s probably the one food I would never even consider giving up. Admittedly I am a few days late in writing this seeing British Cheese Week was last week, but better late than never I guess.
So with British Cheese Week over and Autumn really and truly setting in, I think a cheese post is in order.
Unsurprisingly I think my fridge at home is permanently filled with at least two or three different types of cheeses, none of which ever last long and dinners at my house are rarely cooked without some variety of cheese making an appearance. When it comes to choosing my favourite cheese recipes, well I could be here all day. However, I do have a few dishes that I never tire of cooking, or eating for that matter.
When I lived in Italy I naturally developed a partial liking for both parmesan and mozzarella, both of which the Italian’s are naturally the masters of making. Melanzane Parmigiana is one of my all time favourite Italian cheese concoctions and every time I eat out in an Italian restaurant I have to order this divine dish. Conveniently this is also exceptionally easy to make. Sliced griddled aubergine, tomatoes, mozzarella, parmesan and basil. It’s best eaten straight out of the oven with the golden crusted cheese still bubbling away.
Next, not as cheese heavy but equally autumnal and delicious is a Feta Stuffed Butternut Squash. I discovered this gem of a recipe during one of my weekly perusals of Stylist magazine on the tube home. The most challenging part of this dish is cutting the butternut squash in half. If you’ve ever tried to cut a squash, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, if not, let me just say that it’s pretty tedious work and a big and very sharp knife along with some elbow grease is needed. Once you have managed to halve the squash and hollow the flesh out for roasting, this delicious dish is easy to finish. Topped with crumbled feta, sun dried tomatoes, roasted pumpkin seeds, a fried onion and fresh basil, this is really and truly gorgeous and it looks pretty amazing too, definitely one to impress your friends with.
Last but not leas, the ultimate cheese dish and the one I never get tired of; mac and cheese. I used to never eat this out as I was always of the mindset that I could make this quite easily and better at home. That’s until I tried Soho based Spuntino’s creamy bread crumbed mac and cheese with a drizzle of Tabasco, and Anna Mae’s spicy jalapeño mac and cheese. Saying that I’m still a massive fan of my home made double cheese mac and cheese which I make with ricotta, chives, sun dried and tomatoes, whole grain mustard and melted cheddar on top. It’s gorgeously cheesy and on a cold rainy October evening with a good film on TV, well it’s perfect!
Oddly enough, my biggest challenge with making mac and cheese recently has been finding chives. Who would have thought that it would be so difficult to find chives in West London, but it turns out all the local supermarkets and Lebanese and Moroccan food shops in my area only sell chives sporadically, and typically whenever I need them they are nowhere to be found. Luckily we have some rather weedy looking chives growing in our garden, a fact I keep forgetting whenever I need them.
The above are but a sample of my favourite cheese recipes, I’d love to hear about any amazing cheese dishes which you have that you think I absolutely have to try. And if it’s a cheese challenge you’re interested in, well bring it on!