Monthly Archives: June, 2018

Championing Yorkshire cheese and small producers

June 26th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

As a family, we love our cheese.

My wife Anne originates in the French Basque Country whose people are well-versed in safeguarding tradition. Nowhere is this more true than their food which plays a key role in Basque identity. In particular, people are passionate about their home-produced cheeses which they’ve grown up eating.

In France, as in Britain, we take protection of our cheeses seriously. Roquefort, was the first cheese to be protected by Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (certification based on the concept of terroir) in 1925 – although it has been regulated by a parliamentary decree since 1411!. Since then, more than 40 cheeses have achieved AOC status, including Ossau-Iraty from the Basque Country.

On arrival in Yorkshire, we were delighted to discover that our shared history following the Norman invasion and subsequent influx of expert cheese making Cistercian monks, meant that the area has a rich history of cheese production.

This legacy lives on today in a wide selection of established cheeses including two afforded protected status (Swaledale Cheese and Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese) as well as smaller Yorkshire producers making traditional cheese with milk from their own herds such as Lacey’s Cheese, Lowna Dairy and Ribblesdale.

Our latest favourite cheese is the new Wensleydale Yorkshire Brie, a soft and creamy British alternative to the French classic. Made from Yorkshire milk, the cheese has a deliciously silky texture and is delicious served with a crusty baguette (and a dollop of cherry or blackcurrant jam for Anne – but that’s a whole other story).

Navarin d’agneau de printemps (Lamb Navarin with Spring Vegetables)

June 14th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Recipes No Comment yet

My delicious Lamb Navarin with spring vegetables is a perfect Father’s Day meal. A French ragout (stew) which is easy to make and Dads will love it!

Navarin d’agneau de printemps (Lamb Navarin with spring vegetables)

Serves 4

Ingredients
• 800g lamb shoulder, chopped into roughly 60g portions
• 500ml red wine
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 500ml vegetable stock
• 50g tomato paste
• 1 bouquet garni
• 2 tbsp lamb gravy
• 2 onions
• 1 courgette
• 12 Jersey Royal new potatoes
• 8 baby carrots
• 200g peas
• Salt
• Pepper

Method
Preheat oven to 200°C.
Brown the lamb pieces in the olive oil. Dice the onions and add them to the lamb. Then add the tomato paste and red wine. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the vegetable stock and the bouquet garni.
Cover with a lid and cook in the oven for 90 minutes.
Separate the meat from the sauce and leave on one side.
Spoon off the excess oil from top of the sauce. Then add the gravy and salt and pepper to the sauce.
Add the meat back into the sauce.
Serve with carrots, Jersey Royal new potatoes, courgette and peas.

A trio of my favourite cheeses

June 7th, 2018 Posted by Blog No Comment yet

With National Cheese Day taking place this week, I thought I would share my three favourite French cheeses with you.

You might ask how I can only have three favourites when there are so many to choose from in France. As Charles de Gaulle once said: “How can anyone govern a nation that has 246 different kinds of cheese?”

It was a tough job, but these are my top three:


Ossau-Iraty

The Franco-Basque cheese made from sheep milk is traditionally eaten with black cherry jam (mainly because the Basque Country produces a lot of black cherries). However, I prefer it with blackcurrant jam which adds a lovely acidic touch. Its name reflects its South-Western France origin, the Ossau Valley in Béarn and the Irati Forest in the Basque Country.

 

 

Camembert au Calvados
Also known as Calva d’Auge, this one is a Norman cheese from the Lower Normandy region of France. I know Camembert is quite common but this one soaked in Calvados brandy for a few hours is excellent. Highly recommended!

 


Sainte-Maure de Touraine

The Loire Valley goat cheese is log shape and rolled in wood ash. A lovely soft cheese with a slightly salty and nutty taste with a walnut aroma.

 

 

 

Unlike the English, we don’t have chutneys with cheese in France, just bread. It is always baguette or pain de campagne (country bread) and served with red wine.

However, I do now prefer to eat cheese with crackers rather than bread. I think it’s lighter. Or am I slowly getting into British habits having lived here for almost six years?