Can you imagine life without cheese? I most certainly cannot. It’s the best ingredient on this earth; it is versatile and delicious and also nutritious, and it’s a fabulous natural food. I would rather end my meal with a selection of delicious artisan cheeses with a few preserves or fresh fruit; I would give my life for a wonderfully mature Stilton cheese. What I love about cheese is that you can eat it as is; add to a salad or cook it; toast it or grill it…
I spent lots and lots and lots of time with my sons in the kitchen while they were growing up, and always gave them hints and tips on what to do around food. This is what I taught them about cheese:
Always make sure that the cheese is chilled before grating it because if you don’t, it will be melted all over the grater; and always remove the wax or inedible rind before you start to grate your cheese.
If you are adding cheese to a cooked dish as a garnish, do it just before you serve it so that it keeps its shape and doesn’t melt into a blob on the hot food.
I like to remove my cheese from the plastic wrapper and wrap it in paper so it can breathe. If you find a little mould on your cheese, just cut it away. Grate the cheese and freeze it for cooking with later.
If you have forgotten that you have a soft mould cheese in the fridge and it has cracked or if it is bulging out of its rind, I think it might have reached its sell by date; and if the cheese has an ammonia-like aroma that makes your nose twitch, it is going to taste horrible, so ditch it.
Planning a cheese board is fun and I always want to have 20 cheeses on it, but 3 to 5 cheese will do.
I always try to have different styles, tastes, and textures. I love a nice, sharp mature cheddar; a Brie or Camembert that is ripe and oozing; and then something blue like a glorious wedge of Stilton, or a wedge of Roquefort or Gorgonzola. I also take into account that there might be people who are not fond of strong cheese so I also include a nice piece of Dutch Edam or Gouda, but choose the cheese that makes your mouth love you, be it Chevre, Gruyere, cream cheese or smoked cheese – it’s your choice.
If you are serving cheese as a main meal budget for around 200g per person. After a meal about 70 grams per person will do the trick. Place the cheese on a board and don’t let them touch each other and use a different knife for each cheese as you don’t want to contaminate the flavours.
Place soft cheeses in the middle of the board and hard cheeses on the outside of the board so that they are easy to cut.
Serve the cheese with fruits and condiments that pair well with the flavour and type of cheese so that you end your meal with harmony in your mouth. My last word is make sure you take the cheese out of the refrigerator up to two hours before serving.
By Jenny Morris – Twitter @JennyMorrisChef