5 tips for simple, stylish cheeseboards

Do you get stuck choosing cheese? Follow my 5 tips for a stylish cheeseboard and banish the rabbit in headlights look next time you’re at a cheese counter.  A couple of well-chosen cheeses, an easy wine and some quality bread – superb! Today’s board, through simple, was a great reward after working hard in the garden. The ivory white cheese is Cilantro’s Billy the Kid Goat Cheddar, the orange-blue Talbot Forest’s Waihi Blue. Cilantro Artisan cheese from Hamilton Talbot Forest from Geraldine My 5 top tips to easy cheeseboard 1. Choose contrasting colours, shapes or textures.  I paired fruity, hard … Continue reading 5 tips for simple, stylish cheeseboards

Watermelon, Feta and Mint salad

On a hot summer day nothing cools like Watermelon and after an afternoon gardening this simple salad with mint and feta brought succor to my parched tastebuds. The recipe is pretty loose, more of an idea really. Crisp, clean melon against salty cream of feta, aromatic mint, pretty and cooling in pink, white and green. I scoffed my bowl of salad, so be generous, the joy of this salad is the flavours and colours playing off against each other. I kept my salad simple, but you can add other ingredients. My brother Matt suggests adding toasted pumpkin seeds, while Nigella … Continue reading Watermelon, Feta and Mint salad

Gruff Junction Darfield – perfect cheese for summer

Bone white, with a layer of black ash, Gruff Junction’s Darfield is perfect for languid summer days when I hanker for young, light cheeses. Paired with a Sauvignon Blanc I want something to serve in the lead up to a barbeque, rather than at the end of a feast. This is when goat’s cheeses come into their own. And Gruff Junction make some of the best I’ve tasted. Their Darfield is a sexy cheese for summer. The pyramid square of bloomy rind opens up to reveal a dramatic seismic line. Named after the town at the epicentre of the September … Continue reading Gruff Junction Darfield – perfect cheese for summer

Grilled Cabécou and asparagus – a spring starter

At last asparagus has burst into the stores, and we hope with its arrival the beginnings of spring and the inevitable glory of summer. I love how seasonal asparagus is, and how its brief appearance reminds us of the soil and the seasons. I love this too about cheese, and in particular artisan cheese. It speaks of place and breed and particularity. I found this recipe when researching a little gem of a cheese called cabécou (pronounced ka-be-coo) and translated it from French, care of Babelfish. Cabécou du Perigord Cabécou is a tiny disc of a cheese, only 5 cm … Continue reading Grilled Cabécou and asparagus – a spring starter

Goats cheese and kiwifruit – strange but true…

Goats cheese and kiwifuit? With basil? On toast? OK Madame Fromage, Cheese Courtesan from Philadelphia, you got me tempted. What an unexpected pairing of our national fruit, and by an American, this combination turned out to be a revelation! A hot looking canapé, simple and fairly inexpensive, it’s bound to become a staple this coming summer. Just smear fresh goats cheese on bruschetta, add a slice of kiwifruit and a jaunty spring of basil. Easy as. Pair with a G & T or a chilled Sav. Delicious. I used Meadowcroft Chevré, a New Zealand-made, French-style, fresh goats cheese made by … Continue reading Goats cheese and kiwifruit – strange but true…

Secrets to a great cheese board – Shape, texture, progression (Part 1)

“I’m still fizzing about the Roquefort and Sauterne,” giggled my friend Kate after we’d devoured two cheese boards based on selecting, presenting and wine matching tips from my favourite cheese-onistas Fiona Beckett and Max McCalman. They were superb!  So in my next few posts I’ll share their wisdom with you. This post is on selecting cheese, the next on presenting and the final on wine matching. Part 1 Choosing cheeses – shape, texture, progression There are three things they say to remember when choosing cheese: shape, texture, and a progression of tastes. So I started with one cheese, an anchor … Continue reading Secrets to a great cheese board – Shape, texture, progression (Part 1)

Fantastic feta – why so many choices?

Cow or goat, goat or sheep? Brine or in oil, Danish or Greek? Crumbly or smooth, plain, sun-dried tomato or basil? Each time I buy feta there seems to be a new formulation or iteration! So today I’m on a mission to understand this salty-conundrum – what exactly is feta, and what do I need to know to make a good choice? I’ve googled and wikipeidaed, checked my cheese books, and to be called Feta in Europe a cheese needs to be Greek and made of ewes’ milk, though it can have up to 30% goat. In New Zealand it … Continue reading Fantastic feta – why so many choices?

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

Goat versus cow – Over the moon

I was in the garden today when my friend Jenny bought in a pressie – two Over the Moon camemberts – one goat, one Jersey cow. And like me last week, she’d had a great cheese tasting experience. She’d been traveling down from Auckland and had stopped in at Over the Moon’s shop in Putararu. Over the Moon is boutique cheesemaking company in the heart of the Waikato.  Jenny ended up in their tasting room where, in her words, a lady sliced cheese after cheese for her to sample. She said she only went in to go to the bathroom! We … Continue reading Goat versus cow – Over the moon

Why I love buying from a cheese monger

Buying cheese from a cheese monger is a new experience for me and one I really recommend. I love that you can take time to taste, savour and compare cheeses so you find one that is right for you and your cheese-eating occasion. And ever better sometimes you get to geek out with a fellow cheese person. I had one of those delicious experiences last week with Ludovic Avril from Le Marche Francais. This is a little hidden gem of a shop, tucked upstairs in the Woolstore at 262 Thorndon Quay. It is becoming a regular pilgrimage. I always look … Continue reading Why I love buying from a cheese monger