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Burt’s Cheeses of Ollerton
sow it, grow it, eat it! by Annette Gibbons
Annette Gibbons OBE is renowned as a champion of real Cumbrian food. She hosts Cumbria’s Fine Dining Club and also enjoys her organic vegetable garden.
A silver lining to the hot weather, besides constant blue skies and heat has been that slugs and snails in our garden have retreated and left our radishes alone. So, for the first time in years we’ve enjoyed fat, succulent radishes which haven’t gone woody or been eaten by them. I’ve often wondered why some of them are called breakfast radishes, we ate them for lunch recently with the last of the asparagus, crisp red and green lettuce leaves and a dollop of garlicky mayonnaise. I’d probably crunch on them for breakfast too. The Saturday supplement suggested roasting them which was a revelation. Olive oil bound them with almonds and dates and preserved salty lemons, it was quite delicious, and I’ll be sowing more seeds to do it again!
With the advent of summer, has come a drying wind which means I’m conserving water in the kitchen and not letting it go to waste. Cold washing up water goes on the herb bed next to the kitchen door. I’m having to make decisions on which plants don’t mind an arid period and those which do. It’s interesting to look at the origins of different plants to see where they thrive in the wild and adjust their conditions in our garden. I had planted strawberry plants into terracotta pots in a windy corner which had dried out completely whilst I was away, leaving me with crispy fragments, never to produce a berry again! I win some, lose some.
Next year, I must remember to grow on courgettes and squash in the greenhouse until they’re much bigger, tougher and less attractive to slugs. My over-enthusiasm meant that that the first three plants were all demolished overnight. I had of course watered well to give the new plants a chance but ended up enticing the pests!
Successive sowing of your favourite vegetables guarantee a good supply all through the summer and today’s job is to plant another row of broad beans, so we can have plenty to eat plus some to freeze. The beans have been soaking on the kitchen window sill until they show signs of breaking out into a root and shoot and only then do I plant them. I’ve used the same technique for runner beans and French too! My added weapon in the kitchen garden is to use some of the soil from the hen run which appears to be helping in the plants’ fertility. We shall see.
It’s such a busy time in the garden and so many tasks to get done but I love to walk around on a late summer evening as moths start their feed and the bats start theirs. I love the peace and earthy smells. Enjoy your garden too.
Do you enjoy eating out but can’t decide where to go and what to choose?
Annette’s popular Dining Club visits Cumbrian eateries, where the evening is planned for you. If you’ve just moved to the area and would like to meet new people who also enjoy good food and wine this is a perfect night out. Long-standing locals are welcome too! Ring 01900 881356 to request a newsletter by post or email firstname.lastname@example.org
to have one sent directly to you.
A couple of distinctive cheeses for you this month which are eating well this summer, both from the small- scale artisan folk at Burt’s Cheeses of Ollerton near Knutsford, Cheshire. Both are new to our cheese counter for summer 2018.
Burt’s Cheese started out life in January 2009 as a hobby for Claire Burt on her kitchen table following a career in the dairy industry that had given her the experience. Claire tells me: “After winning Gold at the International Cheese Show, Nantwich 2010, I decided to pursue the business full-time. Today, Burt’s Blue is an award-winning Cheese and we were very proud to be named by the Observer Food Monthly as Best Producer!”
Burt’s Blue is made using pasteurised cow’s milk from local dairies, it has a semi-soft texture which is punctuated with blue veins, giving it a wonderful depth of flavour and character. Each cheese is handmade, this means they aren’t identical and each batch will vary slightly from the next. Excellent with a good, earthy French Pinot Noir.
Our second offering is The Drunken Burt cheese, Burt’s Blue with a difference! Instead of piercing the cheese during ripening,
which encourages blue veins to develop, the
cheese is washed in Cider. The ‘paste’ of cheese takes on some of the golden colour of the cider, also some of the flavour characteristics, sometimes you almost pick up a smoky note from the oak barrels. You can expect the ‘younger’ cheese to have a slightly ‘chalky’ centre, which then softens as it continues to mature. As you would expect, this cheese pairs well with a great British cider - we stock quite a few in the shop as I am personally a cider drinker as The Wurzels so memorably sang! My favourite current tipple is Aspall Organic Cyder, chewy, earthy and packed with tannins but, at over 7% volume, handle with care!
John Natlacen, Owner www.churchmousecheeses.com facebook.com/churchmousebarbon
I hope your month was as good as mine! There was no need to go abroad with weather like we have had. Al fresco was definitely the thing! With this in mind, how about...
Easy Share Deli Rolls Ingredients
500g packet of ciabatta bread mix Jars of:
145g fresh pesto
100g cooked artichokes in olive oil (drained and chopped - keep a little of the oil) 3 roasted peppers, drained and chopped
250g chopped mozzarella Handful of Basil, roughly chopped
I did said easy! Here we go...
Make up the bread dough by following the instruction on the packet. Instead of the tablespoon of oil in the instructions add a tablespoon of pesto instead. Leave the dough to rise until double the size.
Lightly oil a springform tin with the oil from the artichokes. Set aside 2 tablespoons of pesto and 1 tablespoon of the chopped, roast peppers. Mix the rest of the ingredients in a bowl for the filling.
Weigh your dough and divide into 12 equal pieces by weight. Roll them into 12 dough balls. Take a rolling pin and roll out into discs.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4.
Divide your mixed filling into 12 parts and place each in the centre of a disc. Shape each disc around the filling to form a ball again. You can do this by pinching the edges together and rolling until a smoothish, round shape.
Arrange your 12 dough balls (seams down) in the cake tin. Cover with an lightly oiled sheet of clingfilm to prove again - should double in size.
Once proved, remove the clingfilm. Brush the top of the rolls with the 2 tablespoons of pesto that you set aside. Scatter the tablespoon of roast chopped peppers on top of your rolls and pop in the oven.
Bake for 50 minutes until golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes. Then unclip the tin and allow the bread to cool completely on a wire rack.
You are now ready to tear off your easy share deli rolls and enjoy! Perfect for a picnic if the weather stays.
ISSUE 426 | 23 JUNE 2018 | 34
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