It’s that most wonderful time of the year: hot and sunny one minute followed by hail, rain and chills the next. I go to work in a rain coat and it’s boiling, leave my jacket at home and get soaked.
In months like this my appetite, as well as my mood, still craves comfort. And I don’t know about you but cheese is a comfort blanket I know I can trust.
So many trip to the supermarket for a soft cheese have ended in disappointment: creamy but tasteless, rock hard, claggy…or somehow all three. But then a cheesy care package arrived and all my prayers were answered. *insert angelic choirs here*
Curds and Croust make small batch soft cheese in Cornwall. Made by hand in the traditional way, everything about this cheese is filled with love- starting with the creamy milk which is all sourced locally.
The Curds and Croust range*
They have a small range of four cheeses:
Boy Laity: Cornish Camembert. This bakes wonderfully, and is the perfect size for two to share.
Miss Wenna: brie. Much creamier than many mainstream bries, almost dangerously so as I could easily polish it off in one
The Truffler: brie with truffle. I am not a huge fan of things with truffle oil, so I was surprised that I found this easy to eat with crackers and good friends. The truffle is in the rind, so the longer you leave it the more truffle-infused it becomes.
Russet Squire: Cornish cider washed brie. Boom! The perfect union of cheese and booze! The apple scent and flavour permeate through and I can’t think that I’ve ever had anything like it. It’s a strong flavour so a little goes a long way, but don’t limit it to your cheeseboard. It pairs so well with pork, with apple and with root vegetables.
I’ve so many ideas I could share with you but let me start with this root vegetable stack.
This is a cheesy, earthy version of boulangerie potatoes. Initially I did think about just using potato and cheese. Don’t get me wrong, that would have been glorious in itself, but the addition of parsnips, apples, and yes more cider, made it even better.
This is a versatile dish. Serve with pork chops or steaks, with your roast beef and red wine sauce, or simply enjoy a bowl full with crispy bread.
Cheese and Cider Root Vegetable Stack
This is the grown up, flavoursome sister of boulangerie potatoes: potato, parsnip, apple and onion, doused in cider and dotted with brie. Serve with pork or lamb as a filling side dish,
- 2 Baking / jacket potatoes Skin on, scrubbed
- 4 Parsnips Skin on, scrubbed
- 2 Apples Eating apple of choice
- 1 Brown onion
- 80-100 g Brie I used Russet Squire cider washed cheese
- Dried thyme, oregano, salt and pepper
- 1 bottle Dry cider
Preheat oven to 200c.
Lightly grease an ovenproof dish - mine was 20cm square - using olive oil or butter.
Using a food processor or mandolin (be careful!) cut potatoes, parsnips, apples and onions into thin slices.
Add a layer of potato to the dish, season with salt, pepper, thyme and oregano, then add a layer of parsnip and season as above, a layer of apple (season) and a layer of apple (season).
Repeat layers until all veg is used or you run out of baking dish!
Pour around half a bottle of cider over and place the dish on a baking tray before putting into the oven for 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and add small pieces of cheese all over the top- you can add as much as you like really!
Pop back into the oven for another 20 minutes or until the veg is cooked through (a knife should pass through a stack easily)- you may need longer if your dish is small but high.
Serve hot from the oven or leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving - it holds its heat quite well.
Russet Squire is a soft brie-style cheese which has been rind washed in cider. If you are unable to find this, a good robust brie will do the job as well.
While your veg is cooking, you can use the rest of the cider to make a delicious creamy sauce. Slice an onion and fry in butter over a low heat until soft. Add salt and pepper, the cider and a small tub of double cream. Bring to a simmer, add thyme and more seasoning if needed. Serve over the vegetable stack or pork steak.
Russet Squire also makes the most perfect ham and cheese toastie – just add apple chutney and ham of your choice!
If you’ve any ideas for soft cheese recipes I’d love to know- this is the start of another cheese addiction!