November 12, 2015

A Year In Cheese A Seasonal Cheese Cookbook

Cookbook by Alex and Leo Guarneri, Recipes by Alessandro Grano

By In Recipes
When faced with the massed ranks of cheeses at the supermarket the concept of seasonality hardly raises above the pail. The branded continental cheeses, the rubbery pre-sliced packs or the multiple offerings of ‘cheddar’ never seem to change; so why would anyone think that seasonality matters in cheese making? I’ve never really delved deeply into the premimum (mostly French) ‘posh’ section to see how they change with the seasons or at the deli counter where staff usually pounce before I’ve peered through the bifocals to get the label clear enough to read. They always look so disappointed when I state I’m ‘just browsing’.

But cheese is highly seasonal, even if our lifestyle negates such concepts to an ‘ideal’ way of eating. A new book – A Year in Cheese A Seasonal Cheese Cookbook – aims to redress this.

“A Year in Cheese celebrates the pleasure of eating seasonally, with over 55 classic and inventive recipes using seasonal cheese.

Artisan fromagerie Androuet stocks cheese made exclusively by producers who respect animals grazing cycles, understand optimal milking times and know the perfect duration to age their cheese. In this unique cookbook, the team at Androuet share their passion and knowledge with tips, recommendations and dishes for every time of the year.”

As it happens I was just placing my Christmas/New Years food orders online when the A Year In Cheese arrived. Based on their suggestions, the original cheeses on order I deleted but I’m going to have to find an online specialist to locate Perl Las, Mont d’Or Vacherin, Tomme de Montagne and Langres, the selection the book recommends for a winter cheeseboard.

But it is still Autumn around here, at least while some leaves remain on the tress. So to the Autumn chapter for a try out of two recipes.

Cheddar and Pale Ale Rarebit with Cauliflower

Cheddar and Pale Ale Rarebit with Cauliflower from A Year in Cheese

The first uses Montgomery Cheddar, a decent pale ale (I went for a Brewdog Punk IPA) and, interestingly, a little cauliflower. The result is damn tasty; one for a post night-on-the-town gathering; one to share.

Cheddar and Pale Ale Rarebit with Cauliflower
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  1. 50 g unsalted butter
  2. 50 g plain flour
  3. 165 ml pale ale
  4. 165 g cheddar (Montgomery)
  5. 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
  6. 6 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
  8. 1 egg yolk
  9. 150g cauliflower cut into small florets
  10. 600g pain be champagne
  11. chopped parsley to serve
For the Welsh Rarebit Mix
  1. Melt the butter over a medium heat. Once melted add the flour and stir continuously, for about 1 minute, or until the flour is cooked. Add the pale ale gradually and continuing stirring.
  2. Once thickened add the grated Cheddar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and mustard. Stir until smooth. Remove form heat and add the egg yolk.
To Complete the Sandwich
  1. Cook the cauliflower in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain well then add to the Welsh rarebit mix.
  2. Under a pre-heated grill toast six thick slices of the bread on both sides.
  3. Spread the rarebit mix on top of each slice of toast and return to under the grill for 5-8 minutes under golden brown and bubbling.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Spittoon Extra

“This is the best Welsh rarebit you’ll ever eat – the cauliflower and pale ale make it extra thick and velvety”

The second recipe is a Raclette and Emmental Croque-Monsieur with Truffle Oil, plus some chopped ham. I’m guessing a few slices of ready-sliced processed isn’t really what they have in mind.

Raclette and Emmental Croque-Monsieur with Truffle Oil
Serves 4
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  1. 100 ml full-fat milk
  2. 1 heaped tbsp. cornflour
  3. 200 g grated Raclette
  4. 450 g grated Emmental
  5. 1/2 tbsp. truffle oil
  6. 1/2 tsp black truffle paste
  7. 1 egg yolk
  8. 12 slices of sandwich bread
  9. 600 g cooked ham
  1. First the cheese topping - put the milk and cornflour in a pan over a ow heat. Stir continuously, cooking slowly until the mixture thickens. Add the Raclette and 200g Emmental. Stir until the cheeses have melted. Stir in the truffle oil, truffle paste and egg yolk.
  2. Line a baking tray with a double layer of cling film. Pour over the cheese and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.
  3. Preheat the grill.
  4. Cut the hardened cheese topping into 6 pieces, each a little larger than the slice of bread. Put 12 slices of bread under the grill and lightly toast on both sides.
  5. Divide the ham between 6 of the slices and top with the remaining Emmental. Place under the grill and when the cheese has melted, top with the remaining six slices of toast.
  6. Finally, top each croquet-monsieur with a slice of cheese topping and return to the grill until brown and bubbling.
Spittoon Extra

“Go the extra mile for this inventive take on a croquet-monsieur and you won’t regret it – it’s the ultimate version of the cheesy French icon.”

There are a while range of recipes offered from light meals and snacks, such as the two here, desserts and more substantial dishes. Spring looks at goats curd, Brillat-Savarin and fresh cheeses, Summer moves to ricotta, mozzarella and soft cheeses, Autumn focuses on Cheddar, Gruyere and semi-hard cheeses and finally, Winter, with Reclochon, Comte and the ‘bold’ cheeses.

A Year in Cheese comes from the team behind famous artisan cheese shop Androuet, which was established in Paris in 1909 and opened in fashionable Spitalfields in London in 2009. The fromagerie and restaurant Androuet specialises in seasonal cheese from France, Britain and beyond and supplies cheese to many acclaimed restaurants, including Duck & Waffle and Terroirs. Just like fruit, veg and meat, cheese is seasonal. Seasonal cheese is about listening to nature, understanding the grazing cycle of the animal that’s being milked, knowing what they’re grazing on at which time of year, and recognising optimal maturing times. This beautiful and inventive cookbook introduces the idea of seasonal cheese, starting with a brief introduction to which cheeses are at their prime at which time of year, followed by dozens of exceptional recipes each using an easy-to-find seasonal cheese.

croque monsieur from A Year in Cheese cookbook

croque monsieur from A Year in Cheese cookbook

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