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31/03/11 - Stilton & Argos - A New Pairing - Win A Fridge Freezer!

This month on our blog, courtesy of Argos you could win a Bush Undercounter Fridge, worth £129.99.  We don’t all have space for 6ft fridge freezers in our kitchens so for those of you who are looking for something smaller that will sit under your work top then this fridge is ideal. 

The white fridge freezer fits 103 litres of fresh food and 15 frozen, so there is plenty of room for anything you need to keep chilled or frozen!

The fridge also has a freezer compartment, energy rating of A and holds over 100 litres of fresh food – a perfect prize to fill with your favourite blue cheese or Stilton’s beer, The Blue Brew.

 


Stilton is best kept in the fridge and brought out two hours before serving, which allows it to be at the perfect texture, to put on a cracker, top a juicy burger or even crumble on a pizza – it really is a versatile cheese that has a lot more uses than just the festive cheeseboard!

To win this amazing prize, simply comment your answer on this blog to the following question (the answer can be found somewhere on the Stilton site):

How many dairies are permitted to make Blue Stilton cheese?

Plus tell us your favourite way to eat Stilton.

 

Deadline is 14 April 2011. Good luck! For more Stilton info or tips, follow us online:

www.facebook.com/stiltoncheese

www.twitter.com/iloveStilton

For more information on Argos:

www.argos.co.uk

Terms & Conditions

* The competition is  only open to UK residents aged over 18

* The prize is not redeemable for cash or resale.

* The prize cannot be shipped outside of the UK

* Delivery will be within 28 days of Argos receiving the winner’s address, and the competition  prize may vary at the discretion of Argos

17/03/11 - Stilton Cheese and Women

International Women’s Day leads our Stilton blogger Neil Sowerby to salute the important role women have played in the cheese’s evolution

 Arguably BRITAIN’s finest cheese shop, La Fromagerie, off London’s Marylebone High Street, is run by a woman – the formidable Patricia Michelson. Her last book, The World’s Best Artisan Cheeses, was particularly complimentary to Blue Stilton.

 She’s not alone. Forget the Clubbable Male-and-Stilton stereotype. I’ve found many female food lovers with a more acute perception of the cheese’s olefactory and gustatory triumphs.

 It’s similar to the ascendancy (once they were allowed) of women tasters in the wine trade. There may be a physiological reason or an innate ability to catalogue taste memories better. It’s too complex a subject for this particular hard-pressed blogger.

 Noticeable, too, is the increasing pre-eminence of female cheesemakers such as Mrs Kirkham (Lancashire), Catherine Mead (Cornish Yarg) and Mary Quicke (Cheddar) and you get my drift. 

 Quenby Hall Stilton being named Supreme Champion at the 2009 British Cheese Awards owed not a little to the assiduity of cheesemaker Sara Strong, whose reaction demonstrated her respect for tradition – the cheese’s return to its roots at Quenby.

 


 “Since reforming the dairy in 2005, we’ve worked hard to re-establish traditional farming cycles. For starters, we only use milk from local herds here in Leicestershire; and rather than discarding the whey, we pass it onto local pig farmers to use as feed. Their meat is then used in Melton Mowbray pork pies.

 “The gentler the curds are placed into the drying trough, the better. We think of it like laying a sleeping baby down in its crib.

 “Next, we hand-mill it by hand so as not to compromise the creaminess of the end product.”

An almost maternal approach to the world’s best blue cheese, I’d say!

 Of course, in the 18th century gender demarcation lines between husbandry and dairy were more strictly drawn than today, be it in a fine country pile or a more modest farmhouse. A working woman’s place was in the kitchen and in the dairy making the cheese – whilst husband farmer toiled in the fields.

 Quenby Hall, magnificently Jacobean, was built in 1627 by one George Ashby. In the 1700s, when park enclosures were introduced to control grazing, milk production went up quite dramatically.

 


 It was then that the housekeeper Elizabeth Scarborough started making and selling a distinctive unpressed cheese at local markets, based upon and named after a recipe from an Ashby relative Lady Mary Beaumont.

 In 1759, Shuckburgh Ashby took over the magnificently Jacobean Quenby Hall and restored it as a working, farming estate and purpose-built cheese dairy. He was capitalising on the success of the blue-veined cheese that was all the rage among travellers after being “exported” down to the village of Stilton. Another formidable woman, Frances Pawlett, played a major part in the development of this trade having secured a contract to supply Cooper Thornhill – owner of The Bell Inn in Stilton in the mid 1740s – with this cheese to her recipe from Wymondham, near Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire. 

 To Beaumont, Scarborough, Pawlett, Strong – and many another long forgotten female cheesemakers toiling in some farmhouse dairy... Vive les femmes!

 THIS blog’s recipe has to be by a woman, the deliciously named Linda Tubby, who created a interesting take on the classic Stilton and pear combo for the Daily Mail this weekend. I’ve cooked it and it really is a winner – Stilton and pear tart in pine nut pastry with Manuka honey. Tubby, incidentally is not a pseudonym but the real name of an accomplished food writer and food stylist!

 Ingredients

125g (4½oz) plain spelt flour

30g (1oz) pine nuts, plus 15g (½oz) for the topping

75g (2¾oz) cold butter, cubed 

1 egg yolk mixed with 2½tsp cold water 

175ml (6fl oz) double cream 

250g (9oz) blue Stilton, sliced – cut into fine shards 

4 eggs 

3-4 ripe pears, each sliced into 8 pieces, cores removed 

Manuka or other strong-flavoured honey to serve

Watercress to serve 

 

Method

Preheat oven to 180°C/gas 4 and place a tray on the centre shelf. Put the flour and pine nuts in a food processor and whizz until you have fine crumbs. 

Add the butter and process again until crumbly. Add the egg yolk and water and whizz again until the dough comes together. 

Put the dough into the middle of a 23cm x 2.5cm (9in x 1in) loose-bottomed fluted tart tin, spreading it out evenly towards the edges and sides so that it protrudes just above the edge. 

Cut off any excess pastry and use a finger to press into the flutes to create a good shape. Chill for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk together the cream and the eggs in a jug. Lay half the cheese in the bottom of the pastry case. 

Pour the cream mixture into the tart case and then arrange the pears on top with the shards of Stilton. Grind over a little black pepper and scatter over the 15g (½oz) pine nuts. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Serve warm or cold, drizzled with the honey.

It serves 4-6.

 

24/02/11 - Stilton Cheese and the paparazzi!

So where are the paparazzi? Our Stilton blogger Neil Sowerby has a dishy time at a posh London launch

 

SHADES of Blue Peter, alongside Blue Stilton. “Here’s one I made earlier” came to Tom’s Kitchen when the eponymous chef demonstrated his way with cheese twists.

 

These deceptively spicy twirly snacks are just one recipe in Cooking Creatively With Cheese: Tom Aikens Celebrates 100 Years of Long Clawson Dairy, launched at his restaurant inside Somerset House.

 

 

For the centenary volume Tom created 10 special dishes for each decade of the dairy’s existence – to stand alongside alongside an abundance of other cheesy recipes.

 

“Over the space of a couple of months I had between five and ten kilos of cheeses to do all the recipes, so my staff were eating cheese for at least six weeks,” Tom said. “Cheese every day!”

 

Why was I down in London for the launch, gorging myself on twists and more substantial Stilton-based fare? Well, I had a big hand in putting it together, including sourcing lots of tasty social history, so felt I deserved my moment in the media spotlight. 

 

Well, I sat next two nice lasses from BBC Good Food, a blond gossip writer from the Indy... and the Earl of Bradford, who owns Porters English Restaurant in Covent Garden, was there too. OK, it wan’t Posh and Becks, Brad and Angelina, but I was spared the attentions of the paparazzi.

 

The book itself (and I can be impartial about it, honest) is an A-list production, which I hope will promote the World’s Greatest Blue Cheese as well as the whole Long Clawson range. It is available on Amazon, in hardback at £7.95.

 

Meanwhile Tom is one of the south-east candidates in this year’s Great British Menu. Probably too much to expect him to add a cheesy twist to proceedings, but good luck!

 

I’M obviously not among them, but some folk might find an entire volume devoted to cheese-based recipes over-facing. Yet – vegans look away now – lots of dishes in the book are as healthy as it gets. It’s all about balance. That’s my cue for a delicious recipe just published in the food blog, mostlyeating.com.

 

The blogger, Sophie Clarke, is a registered dietitian based in Oxford. She works with individuals and companies to promote healthy lifestyles and good nutrition. 

 

Her Warm Winter Salad of Leaves, Stilton, Cherries and Walnuts does just that.

 


She writes as a prelude “Everybody knows too much cheese is bad for you and full of calories and saturated fat. Except that really this isn’t true at all – yes, cheese is fairly high calories but it’s also a good source of protein, calcium and above all JOY...”

 

Serves 2

Half a small savoy cabbage, thinly sliced (discard any overly tough parts)

1 tsp olive oil

1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 cup seasonal salad leaves

60g Stilton cheese, crumbled

2 tbsp walnuts, roughly chopped

2 tbsp dried sour cherries

 

For the dressing

2 tbsp olive oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

1 heaped tsp english mustard (hot!)

Juice of half a lemon

Pinch of pepper

 

Prep all of your ingredients before you start to cook, chopping them all as described in the ingredients list.

 

Make the dressing by mixing the ingredients together (I keep an old jar for shaking up dressings).

 

Heat a large frying pan or skillet and toast the walnuts in the pan until they start to give off a nutty fragrance. Take care not to burn them. Put the toasted walnuts aside for later.

 

Heat the 1 tsp olive oil in a pan and add the savoy cabbage. Cook, stirring regularly, until the cabbage starts to soften slightly (about 3 or four minutes). Take care not to let the cabbage brown – reduce the heat if necessary.

 

Add the red cabbage to the pan and cook for a further minute to warm the red cabbage but retain all of its crunch and colour.

 

Tip the cabbages into a mixing dish and pour over the dressing.

 

Add the salad leaves to the mix.

 

Dish the dressed salad cabbage mixture onto two plates and top with the Stilton, dried cherries and toasted walnuts. Serve immediately.

11/02/11 - If Stilton Be the Food Of Love.....

If Stilton be the food of love, snack on. Our Stilton blogger turned agony uncle, Neil Sowerby says it with chocolate covered cheese and fillet steak...

 

A MUTUAL friend introduced me to an archaeologist from Islington the other day. She was bonny and blonde – not dressed in muddied dungarees and toting gnarled artifacts in a bag, as I’d expected.

 

Over lunch we talked awhile about the delights of digging up the past and then got on to the thornier subjects of boyfriends. Such as the one whose recent Christmas present to her was only a small pack of choccies. Milk, at that. She prefers plain. He’s now dumped, but she’s hoping for better from his replacement come Valentine’s Day.

 

The course of true love might have run smoother, I posited, if the sweet treats in question had been the hand-made Cheesy Chocolates from Long Clawson Dairy. To my surprise, she agreed. Cheese hits the spot with this girl and she was intrigued by the combination (the rest of the table less so).

I hadn’t the evidence on me, of course, having scoffed my samples the previous evening with a glass of LBV port. Sweet and savoury, challenging but rewarding, like a good relationship should be.

 

Anyway, I gave her the website address, www.clawson.co.uk, where she could order her own. February 14, clad in something new from Agent Provocateur or La Senza, she could enjoy an extra indulgence.

 

 

 

The limited edition four-flavour selection, in a cute box, features White Chocolate with White Stilton and Apricot, White Chocolate with White Stilton and Blueberry, Milk Chocolate with Aged Leicestershire Red and Dark Chocolate with Blue Stilton. The latter was my favourite of the four. The pack of four costs £7.95, cheaper than lingerie.

 

 

Chocolate’s all very well but the Cupid in my soul’s a carnivore. So I’ll be serving red meat to Mrs Stilton Blogger this Valentine’s – impeccably sourced, sustainable, naturally reared, of course. The recipe I’ve chosen is from Riverford Farm, the UK’s biggest independent supplier of organic fruit and veg boxes (47,000 a year at the last count). 

 

At their Devon HQ, they also have a butcher’s, serving locally accredited meat, often from their own animals. This often finds its way into dishes at their canteen style restaurant, the acclaimed Field Kitchen. I had some gorgeous slow-braised mutton there, but that’s hardly the food of love, so fillet steak it has to be.

 

Appropriately tender though it is, fillet is not always the most flavourful cut, so the boost of a Blue Stilton sauce seems a marriage made in heaven (or should that be Devon!).

 

Fillet Steak with Stilton Sauce:

Preparation time 20 mins, cooking time 45 mins, serves 2.

 

Ingredients

 

500g mixed vegetables (choose from potatoes, beetroot, carrots, celeriac, jerusalem artichokes, squash, parsnips, red onions or shallots, swede)

2 garlic cloves, unpeeled

olive oil for drizzling

1 tsp thyme leaves and/or chopped rosemary

freshly ground black pepper

100g Stilton, crumbled pan>

2 tbsp cream or crème fraîche

1 tsp dijon mustard

pinch of ground cayenne or paprika

very small squeeze lemon juice

2 Riverford fillet steaks

oil for frying

 

Method:

For the veg: preheat the oven to 180°C. Peel the veg and cut into 3cm chunks (if using beetroot and carrot, cut them slightly smaller, as they take longer to cook; if using onions, cut into quarters, leaving the root on to hold them together; leave shallots whole). 

 

Parboil the potatoes for 2 mins, then drain. Put all the veg in a roasting tray, add the garlic and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme or rosemary and season. Roast in the oven for about 45 mins, turning halfway through, until tender and browned.

 

For the sauce: Put ¾ of the Stilton, cream or crème fraîche, mustard, cayenne or paprika in a saucepan. Season with black pepper. Heat gently, stirring until the cheese has melted. Keep warm.

 

Season the steaks on both sides with pepper. Heat a little oil in a heavy based frying pan and when the oil is very hot, add the steaks. Fry for approx 2 mins on either side (depending on thickness of steak) for medium rare steak. Remove from the pan. Leave to rest for a few mins before serving.

 

Spoon the sauce over the steak with the rest of the cheese on top. Serve with the roasted veg. 

 

Further enticing recipes from Riverford can be found in the Riverford Farm Cook Book by Jane Baxter (Fourth Estate, £16.99).

 

01/02/11 - Sumptous Stilton Valentine's Feast

 

The cards are on the shelves, red roses are everywhere – yes it can only mean one thing, Valentine’s Day is on the way! Stuck for a romantic treat for your loved one? Let Stilton save the day with this delicious three-course dinner, guaranteed to tick all boxes on February 14.

 

Something to start with, how about this little delicacy, courtesy of BBC Good Food:

Stilton On Toast With Pickled Pears


This tasty starter takes classic cheese on toast to a whole new level and the pears add to the taste sensation. Cheese and apple is a classic combination, so how about this variation – pears and Stilton. The sweet and savoury combo is the perfect pairing!

 

Then for your main, why not wow your partner with this tasty dish from ASDA Magazine:

Stilton Crust Beef


This delicious delight is best served with Yorkshire Puddings. The Stilton really adds to the flavour of the beef, giving it an extra dimension. Serve with tasty seasonal roasted veg to really bring this dish to life!

 

After that hearty meat dish, if there is any room left, why not indulge your other half with a sweet dish from the King Of British Cheese, here’s one of our own:

 Apple and White Stilton Tarts


The richness of Stilton complimented by the sharpness of the fruit creates an elegant dessert, a classic combination of cheese and apple. This tasty dessert is best served warm with a nice dollop of cream or custard!

 

Finally, are you looking for the perfect gift to accompany your delicious Stilton inspired dinner? Why not give your loved one these delicious chocolates from Paul A Young:

Port & Stilton Truffles


Paul's hand-made chocolates are available individually or in boxes of four (£6.50), nine (£14.00), fifteen (£22.00), twenty-four (£34.00) or thirty-five (£47.50).

 

See links for full recipe and ingredients

 

And there you have it, a course to suit a whole range of tastes. Who’d have thought how versatile a wedge of Stilton could be! Do you have any scrumptious Stilton recipes of your own? Leave us a comment or get in touch with your suggestions:

stilton@brazenpr.com

Follow us on Twitter: @iloveStilton

Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/stiltoncheese

28/01/11 - Stilton - The Nine Year Gap

That puts the tin hat on it. Our intrepid Stilton blogger Neil Sowerby revisits the nine year period when Stilton wasn’t on the menu...

 

A WORLD without Stilton? It seems inconceivable. 

 


 

Blue Stilton was an unlikely casualty in 1939 when the dairies were ordered to stop production. Only Long Clawson, having invested in new equipment, managed to stay open, producing the chosen cheese for rations, Cheddar. 

 

Milk not cheese was the priority. Surprisingly during the War, while the numbers of sheep, pigs and poultry fell substantially, the cattle population rose by 10 per cent because of the need for milk.

 

Ironically in the harsh post-war winter of 1947 30,000 cattle perished, a blow to the dairy industry. It was not until 1948 that Stilton production was re-established.

 

The Great Stilton Nine Year Gap came to mind the other day when I attended a Forties-themed birthday party. The birthday girl and her partner teach jive and jitterbug dancing and their fanbase and many of their friends attend special Forties weekends at holiday camps, dressing accordingly. Here’s what they were dancing to: www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPDj8w96MkY

 

What was obvious from the bash was their attention to period detail – from film noir vamps to dowdy Dad’s Army. 

 

Oh, and there was a lovely hunk of Stilton on the cheeseboard at the do. I decided I’d come across as Lord Ha Ha if I pointed out the anachronism. I don’t suppose samosas were around much in those days, either!

 

Thrift is, of course, suddenly chic again as we all, unrepentant bankers aside, tighten our belts during the current recession.

 

Hence a blog called The Wartime Housewife – http://wartimehousewife.wordpress.com/

 


 

It describes itself as “a place where you will find old fashioned skills and values applied to our very modern lives.”

 

The blogger, who I imagine leaves in a prefab, darns trousers and keeps chickens, continues:  “For years my friends and family have shamelessly taken the mickey out of me for being frugal, never letting things go to waste and scavenging in skips and charity shops before I resort to buying things from real shops. 

 

But now, gentle readers, they crave my skills and have exhorted me to take my message to the wider world.”

 

Those skills naturally include using up leftovers, including that Christmas Stilton. Natural frugality meant the Wartime Housewife had purchased just enough for the festivities, the excess created only by a generous late gift (or “the cheese that broke the camel’s back”). 

I rather like one of WH’s solutions

 

Stilton and Walnut Mousse (serves 8)

 

Utensils:

8 x ramekin dishes – greased & with a circle of greaseproof paper in the bottom

1 x medium saucepan

1 x whisk

 

Ingredients:

1oz /30g butter

2 level tablespoons plain flour

7floz/200ml milk

7floz/200ml vegetable stock

1 sachet of gelatine

40z/120g Stilton cheese

2 eggs – separated – whites whisked to form stiff peaks

¼ pint/150ml crème fraiche

2oz/60g walnuts – chopped

 

Method:

Melt the butter in the pan over a medium heat.

Stir in the flour to form a thick paste.

Gradually whisk in the milk and stock until it thickens and starts to bubble.

Remove from the heat.

Sprinkle over the gelatine and whisk until it has dissolved and is thoroughly mixed in.

Add the cheese and stir until melted.

Whisk in the egg yolks and season to taste.

Fold in the crème fraiche with a metal spoon.

Then fold in the whisked egg whites and gently stir in the walnuts.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared dishes.

Chill until set.

Serve with a green salad.

 

Freeze your Stilton

Of course, if you are all cooked out after the festive season, you can always freeze your Stilton for  a rainy day. Plenty of those ahead!

 

Cheese chunks, wrapped in cling film, will stay in good condition for four weeks in the refrigerator. If you are thinking long term wrap the cling film clad segments in a layer of aluminum foil and place in the freezer. It freezes beautifully and for up to 10 weeks, but no more.

 

When you defrost Stilton, place it in the refrigerator for a 24 hour period. By defrosting slowly in the fridge overnight the ice crystals in the cheese, which form during freezing, thaw slowly and the cheese relaxes back into shape and does not become crumbly when fully defrosted.

 

The rind need never go to waste, either. Say you are cooking a Stilton and Ale Pie. Grate the rind into the pastry mix for extra succulence.

 

Or go to the dogs.  Our Chihuahua, Captain Smidge, loves nibbling the rind, he even got a sip of my Blue Brew, but that’s another story

 

 

13/01/11 - Bye Bye The Blue Brew!

So The Blue Brew has completely sold out in record time! It’s all gone! We’re quite sad, as it was a very tasty drop and went down a storm with everyone who tried it!

 


 

We’ve checked with the brewer and he’s not sure whether he can brew anymore! Here at Stilton HQ we’re not happy about this and we would love the beer to be brought back! We have therefore come up with a campaign and need your help…

 

Here’s the idea: we want all our friends and followers to spread the word and campaign for the beer’s return; if enough people want to see The Blue Brew come back, which of course means more bottles for prizes, then we will put our petition to Belvoir Brewery to convince them to create some more!

 

All people have to do is like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and then post or @ us Bring Back #TheBlueBrew. If we get up to 1,000 followers on Twitter and up to 600 likes on Facebook, by the end of January, then we will have a strong case to put to the brewer for more beer.

 

Plus everyone who takes part in the campaign, be that old or new followers and fans, will be entered into a competition to win five bottles of beer if it gets re-brewed!

 

Simple as that, help us bring back Stilton beer!

 

www.facebook.com/stiltoncheese

www.twitter.com/iloveStilton

 

04/01/11 - The New Year, Royal Weddings and "Cheese" Cakes!

2011’s biggest social event may well be a piece of cake for our sweet-toothed Stilton blogger Neil Sowerby...

 

THE New Year, a time to look forward. I wasn’t planning to bake a cake to celebrate That Royal Wedding, but I do feel Stilton should play some part in the nation’s rejoicing. So my small contribution will be a cake featuring the world’s best blue cheese.

 


 

It’s all come from discovering a Manchester deli offering an alternative to the traditional wedding cake. Fruit cake is being replaced at the ceremonies of many locals by a tiered cheese wedding cake (no cake mix involved).

 


 

Chorlton-based Hickson & Black’s (www.hicksonandblacks.co.uk/) offers engaged couples the chance to come in and taste a variety of cheeses before opting for a selection to create their savoury cake with. They’ll even come and set up the display at the wedding venue, if it’s local. Don’t expect marzipan though. Grapes and berries, celery and tomatoes are used for decoration.

 

Investigating further, I discovered that Ian Mellis, the great Edinburgh cheesemonger (www.mellischeese.co.uk/MellisHome.asp), was the original “cheese wedding cake” innovator 12 years ago. 

His typical "cake" started with a strong cheddar at its base, work up through a Caerphilly, a Wensleydale and a Stilton (a popular accompaniment to a more traditional wedding cake), and end up topped with something small and exotic: a goat's cheese, perhaps.

For decoration, Mellis suggests nasturtiums because they're edible, or apple blossom – and sugar mice!

I’m going to quiz Hickson and Black to discover their cake secrets before creating my own version with Blue Stilton, sweet grapes and a port-based icing. I expect it will wow our street party come April.

 

Salt cod, top Portuguese reds and Stilton for afters

 

TALKING of port, I recently visited Porto, home of Stilton’s wine soulmate, the highlight of which was tasting a 110-year-old tawny.

 

Just as heartening was evidence of the esteem in which Blue Stilton is held beyond our shores, this time in Portugal. Myself and a quartet of English and Swedish wine scribes were dining as guest of the winemaker at the Quinta da Foz, high among the Douro vineyards.

 

There nestling next to the local goat’s and a Manchego from across the border, was half a Stilton, glorious golden, deeply-veined mature Stilton. Our host declared it the best cheese in the world, then apologised for having no port in the house to accompany it, but his own dense, perfumed table reds seemed a perfect match.

 

 

Locket’s savoury and a Texan completist

 

IT is 20 years since one of our finest cookery writers died. Up there with Elizabeth David as a scholar cook, Jane Grigson devoted more of her oeuvre to promoting English food and naturally Stilton made more than an odd guest appearance.

 


Doing some research on Jane, whose daughter Sophie is an eminent food writer, I chanced upon Neil Cooks Grigson, a Texan blogger’s attempt to work his way through every recipe in Jane’s classic English Food (Penguin pb £12.99, one of the essential cookbooks).

 

It must be an American completist thing. In 2009 Meryl Streep played Jane’s American culinary contemporary, Julia Childs in the movie, Julie and Julia, based upon, you guessed it, a young woman’s attempts to cook every dish in Childs’ first book!

 

My Texan namesake wasn’t entirely impressed by his own take on Jane Grigson’s Lockets Savoury, a pear and Stilton combination. I find it a lovely fresh use of cheese and fruit. Let me quote Jane’s own lucid prose

 

“Now that it is late summer many English orchard fruits are at their best. This recipe uses pears, and it’s very important to use good ripe ones; if you do buy those rock hard types that can be used as blunt weapons, just let them ripen on a sunny windowsill. 

 

“I don’t really eat that many pears, and certainly don’t cook with them often; I’m not sure why because I really like their sweet aromatic flavour. If you are like me and haven’t cooked with pears, then start with this one as it’s very simple yet effective – basically pears and Stilton cheese on toast. Why it is called Lockets Savoury I have no idea.

 

“This recipe is for one person, so just multiply up depending on how many you need:

 

“Start by toasting two slices of white bread and cutting off the crusts. Place the toast in a baking dish. Rinse some watercress and place it over the toast in a good layer. Peel, core and thinly sliced a pear (I used Comice) and place the slices on top of the watercress – no need to be neat! 

 

“Finally thinly slice 2 ounces of Stilton cheese and place it evenly over the slices. Bake for 10 minutes at 175°C, and grate plenty of black pepper on top before serving.”

23/12/10 - The Return Of Gizzi Erskine - Christmas Blog Post

Our Stilton friend Gizzi Erskine is back, here is her Christmas blog post. For more tasty ideas see the recipe section on our site, or check out some of Gizzi's:  http://bit.ly/foGAkk 



'Can you believe that it's here already? I have literally been counting down the days since January as Christmas is my favourite time of year. Not only do I love the time off and time spent with my family, (this is particularly cool as I have a niece and nephew under four), but I love that it's a time to be creative and feast. And boy do I feast! 

This year I am pushing this creativity button and I'm going to blend all the smells of Christmas into my food. Firstly I'm going to rub my turkey with a butter that's infused with clementine, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, bay and maple. I will make a spiced gravy with a hint of star anise, a gingerbread sauce and cranberry, clementine and Port. I want the house to be filled with those  fantastic smells that you imagine Christmases to smell of in fairy tales.

I want to be prepared for everything and am going to have an array of canapes ready and waiting in the fridge if any friends pop round. Stilton is always my star ingredient. I love the simplicity of some dates stuffed with a creamed stilton or a cube of stilton wrapped with smoked bacon and a drop of cranberry sauce that are ready to pop in the oven. What I'm really excited to do is make a Stilton fondue to plunge cooked potatoes or hunks of bread in spiked with a dash of white port and some double cream, Christmas is for indulgence after all. And the starter to beat all starters, a Stilton, pear, pickled walnut and watercress salad, an oldy with a twist makes life simple when you have tons of work to do. I'm drooling at the thought! 

And then when all the chaos is over, I look forward to playing some board games with my Mother and sisters, nibbling away at the cheese board, Stilton at the ready with a glass of mulled wine.

I love the holiday season. My favourite time of year. Merry Christmas to the lot of you!

 

22/12/10 - Stilton At Christmas

Our Stilton blogger Neil Sowerby is feeling all festive despite having failed to make one internet purchase on Manic Monday, deleted his Christmas card address list and finished off his chocolate-loaded advent calendar already...

 

HESTON Blumenthal, he’s the kind of inventive cove who can refresh my Christmas culinary canvas, I thought. It would probably involve roasting the turkey in three different ovens and then, for a jape, deconstructing it to look like a goose. Oh and the stuffing would be positively medieval.

 


So I was surprised to see his contribution to one of those 50 festive recipes recommended by chefs you have seen on telly.

 

Potted Stilton was the Mad Prof/Chef’s choice. With a twist, naturally. It contains my favourite sweet wine, pedro ximenez sherry (so unctuously figgy sweet it’s delicious just poured over vanilla ice cream).

 

So a good excuse to open a bottle of the best, from Fernando de Castilla, to test Heston’s best, as told to The Times Magazine. 

 

It was all quite simple to prepare. With a hand-held blender blitz 100g of Blue Stilton, 35g mascarpone, 90g butter and half a teaspoon of salt until they become smooth and homogenous.

 

Then gently warm half a teaspoon of sherry vinegar and 55ml water together on a saucepan before pouring over the Stilton mixture. Add 30ml of pedro ximenez and mix carefully. Set in a bowl in the fridge before serving.

 

If you’re too busy to rustle it up yourself it is part of the Heston From Waitrose range at £4.49 for 90g. Serve with Eccles cakes, mince pies, Christmas pudding or just spread on toast.

 

Stilton’s delicate differences

 

IN another publication, Giles Coren, restaurant critic of The Times Magazine, was extolling the virtues of Stilton at Christmas. He named his favourite (which for diplomatic reasons we won’t give you), but the real joy of his soundbite was his delight in the consistent quality  of all the Stilton dairies and the fascinating differences in “house styles”.

 

It’s like Claret. We all can recognise a good one but to differentiate between the various Chateaux takes a real connoisseur. That was one of the fascinations of attending the Stilton Cheesemakers’ annual lunch in Melton Mowbray this year. The gathering were never going to confuse one Stilton from another.

 

In harness as the Stilton blogger since that time, I think I may finally be able to pass the blind taste test!

 

Beautiful blue brew

 

I shall be accompanying my Potted Stilton with a unique beer it’s impossible not to recognise. The Blue Brew, from Leicestershire’s Belvoir Brewery was created by infusing Stilton whey into the wort during the fermenting process, creating a smooth taste and a light creamy texture. I admit was a bit wary of it. The good new is it isn’t coloured blue, rather a pleasant chestnut, and there’s only a hint of the saltiness of the core product. For £2.10 a bottle, it’s a complex beery beauty with just a heady hint of Stilton.

 

 

Fashionistas' tasty Stilton fave

 

FINALLY, I can’t resist revisiting my favourite picture of 2010 – the striking blue-veined couture gown commissioned by the Stilton Cheesemakers’ Association. The dress, designed by Sarah Gallagher, was showcased in September ahead of London Fashion Week and modelled by Corrie actress Brooke Vincent. Almost as tasty as the Blue Brew!

Strange after all!