Say cheese, say local, because it is lekker
A cheese that one can definitely say has become a little under-appreciated is “Cheddar”. We know it is fabulous in a white sauce and grated onto a macaroni cheese, but we forget how wonderful it is to eat just as it is. A well balanced cheeseboard always should have a chunk of delicious well matured cheddar, then a lovely ripe velvety mould cheese and a nice creamy blue; the rest is up to you, but for me this is the trinity!
A little history lesson might be in order. Cheddar cheese originates from the village of Cheddar in Somerset, South West England. Cheddar has been produced since at least the 12th century. The cheese traditionally had to be made within 30 miles, which is about 48km of Wells Cathedral.
The caves in Cheddar Gorge, which sit on the edge of the outskirts of the village, provided the ideal humidity and constant temperature for maturing the cheese. I believe that the Romans may have brought the recipe to Britain from the Cantal region of France, which makes sense to me.
Waterkloof Estate, the eco-conscious wine and fine dining marvel on the elevated outskirts of the Helderberg Winelands, recently reaffirmed its natural principles with the addition of world renowned, naturally matured Healey’s Farmhouse Cheddar to its family.
“Since opening doors in 2009, the restaurant has been a firm admirer of this world beating, artisan cheddar produced by this boutique cheesery in Somerset West. They found it so delicious that they have decided to make it part of the Waterkloof family,” says Waterkloof proprietor Paul Boutinot.
“Age is not important unless you are a Healey’s cheese or a Waterkloof wine. They both unlock nature’s true potential through traditional, time-honoured methods and adhere to natural principles, sustainable farming methods and minimal intervention,” adds Paul.
Consistently in the world’s top four cheddars since its inception in 2005, Healey’s Farmhouse Cheddar has over the years garnered quality accolades worldwide for its cheddar cheese, aged anywhere from eight to 24 months.
In 2006 Healey’s excelled at the coveted World Cheese Awards in London, bringing home Gold as well as Silver, and in 2009 it claimed Gold status at the World Cheese Canary Island Awards. More recently it churned out a Bronze medal at the 2011 World Cheese Awards.
Healey’s have followed the same traditional recipe of 150 years ago; this famous cheddar is made by hand with unpasteurised, free range Friesian milk and still matured with a muslin cloth in a natural cave like environment, which encourages mould growth that enhances the flavour development over a period of time.
These noble cheeses, which are clothed and greased to form a natural outer rind to harness its clean, full nutty flavour, contains no artificial colourants or preservatives. What a pleasure to have a cheese like this!
“In the late 1700’s, famous French philosopher, gourmand, and avid cheese lover Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin said ‘a meal without some cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye’.
Fortunately we have the best cheese in the country, which takes pride on our famous cheese platter and pairs exceptionally well with our exclusive Circumstance Straw Wine,” explains Waterkloof chef Grégory Czarnecki.
Fellow restaurateurs and foodies who also swear by the world-class quality of Healey’s Farmhouse Cheddar include Chef Rudi Liebenberg of The Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town, Ina Paarman, and Fritz Schoon, artisan baker and owner of De Oude Bank Bakkerij in Stellenbosch.
“My greatest passion is to bake bread, real bread. I have devoted my whole being to baking the most natural, nutritious, beautiful bread for our local community and I have dedicated months searching for the best local produce to serve with my bread. After tasting my way through the most amazing cheeses in the Western Cape, I found there was simply no better cheddar than Healey’s Farmhouse Cheddar,” says Schoon.
To truly enjoy your Healey’s Farmhouse Cheddar, Chef Grégory suggests you keep it in a cool cupboard or ceramic cheese dish and eat it at room temperature. I agree, as this gives the flavour time to creep out. All cheese should be served at room temperature.
Look out for it next time you shop at Checkers!
Mediterranean spring rolls
Makes 30-40. Because there are 30-40 wrappers, fry what you need and freeze the rest.
Once you learn how to roll a spring roll, you can take it around the world.
I get the whole family involved in this – roll the whole packet of wrappers and freeze them, but don’t let them touch each other. Fry as you need them!
- 1 cup canned artichokes, roughly chopped
- 4 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed
- ½ cup Italian parsley, roughly chopped
- 1 cup Ricotta cheese
- 1 cup Feta cheese, crumbed
- ½ cup grated mature cheddar
- ¾ cup pine nuts
- 1 cup moist sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup black olives, chopped
- 1 cup spinach, blanched and shredded
- 1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
- 1 packet spring roll wrappers (about 30-40)
- eggs, beaten (for sealing)
Mix all the filling ingredients together. Peel off one wrapper at a time, keeping the remainder covered with a damp cloth as they dry out very fast. Place the wrapper on a flat surface so that it faces you in a diamond shape. Place the filling in the bottom corner. Fold the wrapper over firmly, bring in the sides and with a pastry brush, paint the exposed areas with egg and roll up tightly. Continue to roll the rest.
Deep-fry in hot oil (180 ºC to 190 ºC) until golden brown. Drain and dab with absorbent paper.
©Jenny Morris More Rude Food
Fresh Ricotta-stuffed peppers
This is a great starter for a brunch
- 3 cups fresh Ricotta cheese
- ¾ cup grated mature cheddar
- ½ cup sweet basil, torn
- 1 cup Rosa tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 4 spring onions with tops, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 6 anchovy fillets, chopped
- freshly ground black pepper
- ½ tsp. smoked paprika
- 3 medium red peppers, stalks intact
- olive oil for drizzling
Mix everything into the Ricotta cheese, except the red peppers. Preheat oven to 190 ºC. Slice the peppers lengthways through the stalks and carefully cut away the pith and the seeds. Stuff each half of pepper with the Ricotta and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 25 minutes.
Serve on a bed of rocket with wedges of fresh lemon and crusty bread. Drizzle with olive oil.
©Jenny Morris More Rude Food
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