L: Gutshofer Ziegenkäse (£1.98/100g): C: Robiola Bosina (£3.25/half):
R: Monte Enebro (£3.26/100g)
A fantastic little plate of cheese this time around from, as ever, the lovely Cheeseboard in Greenwich.
The Monte Enebro is a favourite of mine - complex and distinctive - and the Robiola is a lovely cheese which would make a great alternative to the ubiquitous Brie or Camembert.
But the star of the show, for me, was the Ziegenkäse. I'd never even heard of, much less tasted, this before. My God, but it packs a punch. An immense flavour - salty and sweetish - it reminded me a little of a parmesan. If you can find it, you should really give it a try.
The three chunks of cheese in the photo above cost £7.09.
Goat's milk Unpasteurised
Made by the Gutshofer family on a farm in the Twente area of the Netherlands, near the border with Germany. This is a hard cheese which is ripened in warm cellars; towards the end of the ripening period the cheeses are rubbed with caramel. This version was ripened for 8 months, and has a firm but creamy paste with a unique moreish slightly salty taste with a definite caramel note.
Cow and Ewe's milk Pasteurised
This is a classic, mixed milk Italian Robiola made in Northern Italy, in the Langhe region. It has a bloomy rind, a soft and supple texture and a luscious, rich interior that becomes creamy and a bit runny when left at room temperature. The flavours are a lovely mild balance - milky, slightly salty and a bit mushroomy.
Goat's milk Pasteurised
Made in Avila, near Madrid, this was created only a few decades ago by Rafael Baez after, having retired from a career in engineering, he enrolled in an artisanal cheese-making course . Monte Enebro has since won numerous awards over the years and is shipped all over the world. The exterior of this log-shaped cheese is sprayed with the same blue mold used in making Roquefort. The texture is dense and creamy with a light lemony assertive bite to it.
Homer: Lisa honey, are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?
Homer: Pork chops?
Lisa: DAD! Those all come from the same animal.
Homer (sarcastically): Yea right Lisa, some wonderful, magical animal!
Of course Homer was, albeit unwittingly, quite right. The pig is, in culinary terms, a wonderful beast - especially so for those of us ever on the lookout for inexpensive cuts. It's not for nothing that the front cover of Fergus Henderson's seminal book 'Nose To Tail Eating' featured a drawing of a porker.
So when The Observer, in a flagrant - some might say desperate - bid to boost flagging sales, featured yours truly in this weekend's Food Monthly Magazine it seemed not inappropriate to accompany the article with a couple of recipes based on a ham hock.
They aren't, however, something I tend cook on a weekly basis. In fact, I can go months without a single hock-related thought. So it was a bit weird/serendipitous that the good folks at The Ginger Pig should send me a smoked hock the very week before the article was due to appear.
So here it is: Ham Hocks II: The Sequel. It's based on this recipe from Mark Hix. I'm not sure that the hock actually needed soaking overnight, but I reckoned it wouldn't do it any harm.
Apart from the baked ham itself, you'll end up with a litre or so of glorious stock. I've put mine in the freezer for use at a later date, but right now I'm thinking of a soup with spring greens and pearl barley, the latter because I've found a months old jar of it at the back of the cupboard. Poor old pearl barley - it's like the weedy, unpopular boy who's last to be picked for football, laughed at by the popular kids such as the puy lentil, carnaroli rice or even the thick but burly chickpea.
"A morality play in cameo that comes as close as any cartoon ever has to perfection." - Jay Cox, film critic
"The Citizen Kane of animated film" - Steven Spielberg
"...one of the most perfect cartoons ever made. It’s a wonderful parable of greed, it’s beautifully animated, it’s wonderfully timed, it’s very funny, and its story is perfect for the length and yet it suggests that it is part of an ongoing cycle of something larger and greater." - Charles Solomon, animation historian
It's been a few weeks since my last post. In a frankly pathetic attempt to buy some time whilst my batteries recharge, I offer you this existentialist wonder: One Froggy Evening. The greatest cartoon ever made.
(It was selected by the United States Library of Congress in 2003 for preservation in the National Film Registry and deemed "culturally significant".)
SHORTLISTED FOR FOOD BLOG OF THE YEAR 2014