J Friend and Co – from the land of cheese and honey

I love interactive food – food that asks you to savour and share and describe. Food that is not just content to be, but that asks you, and those around you, to discuss its being. It’s why I love doing tastings and the J Friend and Co’s Cheese Pairing Honey Collection is, literally, the bees’ knees for a DIY cheese tasting. J Friend and Co http://nzartisanhoney.co.nz Three glorious, oozy pots of honey, dripping golden delight onto slabs and slices and smears of cheese. This is a great concept. Get a goats, a blue and a Brie, a pack of J … Continue reading J Friend and Co – from the land of cheese and honey

Labneh – easy to make yoghurt cheese for Spring platters

I’m loving fresh cheeses as Spring continues to unfold. They hint at upcoming months of outdoor eating, platters of tapas and mezze, and little glasses of something bubbly. This week I’ve been making Labneh, a Middle Eastern yoghurt cheese. Well, making is a bit of an overstatement, really it’s an easy assemble and, although you need 24 hours start, it’s fail-proof, looks impressive and tastes great. Labneh, or laban, is yoghurt that’s been seasoned and strained. It becomes thick and super creamy, with a hint of yoghurt’s lemony zing. It’s then a versatile addition to a summer platter. I’ve been … Continue reading Labneh – easy to make yoghurt cheese for Spring platters

Secrets to a great cheeseboard – Prep, place and accessories (part 2)

We eat with our eyes first, then our noses and last our palettes, I read once, but I reckon we also eat with our imaginations! I mean what is eating with the eyes? Sure, there are some down right sexy looking foods, perfectly ripe strawberries, a gooey Brie, the sensuous fall of honey from the spoon. But bound up in there is also anticipation, triggered by the remembered.  Past experiences flooding back, priming the taste buds with imaginings of upcoming joy! This post then my cheese-y friends, is about transforming your cheeseboard so it calls to your guests like sirens … Continue reading Secrets to a great cheeseboard – Prep, place and accessories (part 2)

Banon – cheap at twice the price

“Meadow, oyster, mushroom, butter!” my friend Bronwyn cried on tasting Banon, the small, mottled goats cheese that emerged from its rustic chestnut leaf and raffia wrappings on Saturday nights’ cheese board.  What a wonderful surprise for my guests that such a strange little package could hold so much taste and bring forth such a delighted response. Wrapped in chestnut leaves soaked in wine or eau de vie (Marc), Banon is a distinctive unpasturised AOC goats cheese from the infertile but sunny soils around the town of Banon in Provence. The chestnut leaves help it last the winter and as it … Continue reading Banon – cheap at twice the price

Wine and cheese tastings

Last night was the first time I added wine to my cheese board at Cheesy Bookclub and  the girls loved it! I’d tried a cheese and wine combo before inspired by Fiona Beckett’s post on her Cheeselover blog and wanted to share the revelation. Her pairing of Gewurtz, Munster and cumin seeds a) made me feel like a true cheese person, and b) was a sublime combination. A new turn on my journey as a cheese nerd – wine and cheese. But if I had a strong cheese to eat at the end of a cheese tasting, what would go … Continue reading Wine and cheese tastings

Grandma Singleton’s Red Leicester

Standing at my local supermarket the other day I had a cheese dilemma as I was confronted by a sea of ordinariness. Newtown New World doesn’t do artisanal cheese and, like a junkie, I was afraid I would miss my fix of exceptional fromage. The search was on to see what was the best they could offer. And today Grandma Singletons Red Leicester was best of class. British cheeses are a mystery to me, they seem the much plainer cousin of those glamour French fromages, the exotic Spanards and the rumbunctous Italians. The Brits seem a little more pedestrian, a … Continue reading Grandma Singleton’s Red Leicester

The safe and summery hands of Comte

Selecting a cheeseboard for a group of friends is one of my favourite foodie things. You have to match the cheese to both the folks and the occasion, and of course for us in Wellington, you are limited by the cheeses available. And whilst I love ‘extending’ my palate and those of my erstwhile companions, I also know that some palates are more pedestrian than others. On nights like these I employ the balanced strategy to my cheese board – where I make sure I have one guaranteed crowd-pleaser to balance out an other potentially more difficult cheese. At times … Continue reading The safe and summery hands of Comte