This issue, I am focusing on an absolute staple of our cheese counter, one which surprisingly I have not discussed in this venerable tome for over seven years, so I thought it time to redress the balance. I speak of the wonderful Shorrock’s Lancashire Bomb. Could it be England’s finest cheese? It’s certainly up there!

Now, hailing as I do from the mean streets of Rochdale, there was only one cheese eaten when I was a youngster in the 70s - Crumbly Lancashire. On moving to Kirkby Lonsdale and opening the cheese shop back in 2002, imagine my surprise when I found that the denizens of Kirkby don’t care at all for the crumbly variant, they veered towards the Creamy Lancashire. There is of course a third way, what happens when you stick the cheese in a cupboard for a couple of years and forget about it? Why, you get Tasty Lancashire of course with a sharp, chewy bite. The brilliance of the Shorrock’s Lancashire Bomb is that it takes the best of all these three different types of the cheese. First

Those wonderfully optimistic signs of spring, new growth, daffodils and tulips pushing up, have been overshadowed by Storm Ciara which raged at the beginning of February.

I awoke this morning (fourth day of high winds, at least four more to go!) to find the trampoline had been deposited on the other side of the garden. A pane of glass had been twisted out of the greenhouse and smashed onto a path. I can hardly believe that the greenhouse is still standing. So far so good but we still have more days of this storm. I’m sure my garden will recover but I do worry for the garden birds who had been showing signs of nesting, albeit a little prematurely. Where do they go? How do they survive? Water in the bird bath had blown away. The feeders need replenished every day.

I had managed to pick leeks this week and what a delicious flavour they were too, a bit ragged around


delicious! are

I’ll be surprised. showing tops Spinach

Cauliflowers signs

but of

hearting up, though if they withstand this wind

continues to flap about, but I’m convinced that once the wind dies down, there’ll be new growth for picking.

In between time, the

deep freeze reveals boxes of ready- INFO@COCKERMOUTHPOST.CO.UK

and foremost, you get the full-on bang of flavour. This cheese has been well matured, and you get a sharp, salty tang with quite a bit of salt crystallisation going on, leaving a lovely aftertaste. The next thing you notice, is how creamy cheese is. Somebody once said to me that it looks like Wall's vanilla

ice cream and I know exactly where that person was coming from. It does have a similar colour and appearance and is exceptionally creamy on the palate. Then, you get a little crumbliness to the cheese, which just adds another dimension, one that certainly appeals to my inner Rochdalian!

Andrew's family have been making this cheese on their farm in

Goosnargh near Preston since 1923, so they know what they’re doing! Using the raw milk from Andrew's own herd of pedigree Holsteins, the warm milk is piped straight to the dairy where the cheesemaking process begins. As seen in the picture, Andrew and his team mould the resulting cheese into hefty balls

(Guys, get your Fawkes stuck in!), covering them in muslin and then dipping them in wax which has the effect of preserving the cheese for up to one year. Even once opened, you are looking at something approaching a three-month shelf life, which makes the decision to buy one so much easier, it is not going to go off any time soon. Many variations have been introduced over recent years - Bomb with Garlic and Herb, Bomb with Cranberries, Bomb with a hint of ITV political pundit Robert Peston with fresh Kumquat. One of these is made up - clearly, no one is going to put cranberries into cheese! Rival cheesemakers have of course jumped on to the ‘Bomb Bandwagon’ with varying results, so make sure you look out for the original and the best, the Shorrocks Bomb. Light the blue touch paper and retire... to cheese heaven!

John Natlacen, Owner

start these off. I’m not trusting anything to the greenhouse until the damage is assessed.

sow it, grow it, eat it! by Annette Gibbons

Annette Gibbons OBE is renowned as a champion of local food and whilst supporting Cumbrian farmers and growers, she cultivates her own organic vegetable garden on the banks of the Solway Firth, when the storm isn’t raging!

made soup base, courgettes in butter and mint and thick tomato sauce. Homegrown garlic has been helping me recover from a winter

cold. I swear by its

antibacterial properties. Just have to make sure we’re all eating it!

So, what else can I do at this time of year? Stay inside, sort my seed box and sow

I’m concerned that the vegetable beds need to be kept covered to maintain condition for the season ahead. When I’m able, I shall pile on another layer of leaves and compost to keep the structure and micro-organisms. There’s plenty of kitchen waste that can be used as a mulch.

The compost heap will need a good turn this month to help aerate and stimulate the heap. We’ve had lots of rain, so I’m continuing to add crumpled up cardboard and layers of wetted newspaper to keep it in good fettle.

I hope you’re safe and warm. The wonder of nature will surely reverse the damage in the garden and give us back our growing season. I live in hope!

tomatoes and sweet peas. Annette Gibbons Our windowsills will do to

Email: ISSUE 439 | 27 FEBRUARY 2020 | 22

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