I woke up feeling a little odd this morning and was all off-balance. Not dizzy, as in woozy and head whirling, but falling over and just not able to stand up straight. It soon cleared after I had dressed, though came back again when I was making my morning coffee and then a third time when getting ready to go shopping. I have declared myself unfit to drive and have missed going spinning today.
Mr L had cancelled our ferry booking for today when he saw that winds were expected to be gusting to 60 mph this morning. They didn’t. In fact the sun shone, and it was quite a bonny morning. He is kicking himself that we did not go to town. Since coming back from the local shops I have discovered that the afternoon boat home has been brought forward an hour. This would have made for a very short day in town or, worse, we might have missed the boat entirely through being unaware of the change in departure time. Perhaps not a bad thing that we ended up stopping home.
We are not cooking today but plan to make inroads on our cheese parcel.
This year we ordered a ludicrous quantity of cheese from The Cheese Shed
in case we could not get to town to get fresh cheese from Kirkness & Gorie.
There’s about 2 kilos of cheese in the parcel, from ten varieties, so not exactly a silly amount of any one cheese – just very damaging overall! We had ordered it to arrive in time for Birthday Dinner and Norma duly handed it over on the morning of the 17th. We selected three cheeses for that night’s cheese board and are still eating our way through them: Eve, Dorset Blue Vinny, Cornish Gouda with Fenugreek. The Blue Vinny had a helping hand yesterday when I stole a chunk for a cauliflower cheese bake (Cauli, leeks, bacon, blue cheese sauce – scrumptious).
This is a summary of what we received:
[su_box title=”The Cheeses, as described by The Cheese Shed” style=”soft” box_color=”#5c7100″ radius=”8″]
- Truffler (235g) – cheddar with chopped Italian black truffles
- Smart’s Double Gloucester (210g) – from the legendary Diana Smart
- Eve (200g) – soft goat washed in cider brandy and wrapped in vine leaves
- Tornegus (250g) – washed rind Caerphilly, dusted with herbs
- Parke (250g) – a soft fresh cheese made with Guernsey milk, cream with added herbs and garlic
- Dorset Blue Vinny (250g) – the Westcountry’s only traditional blue
- Millstone (250g) – this hard, dry, sheeps’ milk cheese is a personal favourite
- Cornish Gouda with Fenugreek (200g) great authentic Gouda given a stunning twist
Verdict so far:
- Eve – smelly! but soft, silky, rich and delicious. Would definitely buy again, wish the cheese had been a larger one.
- Dorset Blue Vinny. Huge chunk, suffered in transit and was quietly weeping on arrival. I of course didn’t like it. Mr L is fond of blue cheeses but declared this one to be boring and too much like a common or garden Danish Blue. Would not buy again.
- Gouda with Fenugreek – I had been looking forward to this one after seeing the authentic cheeses in Cromarty a few weeks back. Sadly found it unremarkable – a pleasant texture but no discernible flavour. Will try some from Cromarty next to make a comparison.
4. The Millstone took us aback. The Cheese Shed had described it as a “hard, dry, sheeps’ milk cheese” and I suppose I had mentally modelled it as somewhat like a Pecorino. It was however far harder and much drier than either of us had anticipated. It also looked… well… manky and mouldy. In fact it ate quite well but this is definitely a cheese to be eaten in paper-thin slices, most likely with a sharp accompaniment. Not a style of cheese that we slab-eaters are accustomed to but that’s kind of the point of buying the parcel, in order to try new things.
5. The Double Gloucester was also harder and drier than the DGs that we normally see nowadays. An old-fashioned farmhouse cheese, well-matured (6 mo), it was stunning. Quite the best cheese that I have eaten in a very long time. Wish we had more of it. It was perfect for eating with bread and beer. Bring it on, we’ll buy again if we can.
6. The Tornegus was really very stinky indeed. Mixed feelings about this one. The cheese itself was quite delicious, served in thin slivers but the rind left me lukewarm – I found it too strongly flavoured and a very odd texture on the teeth. I have to say that our Tornegus looked nothing like the photos on the Cheese Shed web site, nor did it resemble their description. Ours was a smooth buttery yellow, creamy/rubbery texture – bearing no resemblance to a Caerphilly at all. I’m not sure if I would buy it again, I’d rather just go get an Epoisses.
Tonight we will separate out those cheeses that we particularly wish to hold back for our Wedding Anniversary cheese board and then select two fresh ones to open from what remains. I have made a Tomato and Garlic loaf, so that may help us to choose which cheeses will work best. Add some olives, vine tomatoes and a glass of red and that’s what I call a fine supper indeed.
I should confess that I over-baked the bread – having put to back in to crisp off, I totally forgot about it for the next twenty minutes. Silly girl.
We’ve broken a habit of several years standing and actually bought a seasonal bird this morning. It may even be cooked on the 25th, I am not sure yet. It’s a monster chicken of over 3 kilos in weight. Far too much for two, you might think but I haven’t completely taken leave of my senses. Yes, I was seduced by the attraction of a Free-range, slow-grown chicken and if this is to be the only week in the year that such a thing is to be available to me, well I’ll take that on. We can have a good roast dinner one day. The bird will then furnish some tea-time sandwiches another day, a re-heated dish that may be a pie or perhaps a curry for another meal, and finally there will be a fine broth. At this time of year when the shop shelves go bare for a while, it will be useful to have a plentiful supply at hand.
Also in the festive bag, to our deep joy, were an assortment of not-normally-available goodies: figs and nectarines, rocket and fennel, and a pack of sausage meat – but that last is seasonally common for us as I normally make sausage rolls for our picnic. What was not in the bag was the large cream that I had on order, so I shall not be making my Xmas Pudding Ice Cream tonight as I had planned. This is to be our dessert on New Year’s Eve so it’s not a crisis, I just wanted to have the work out of the way so that for once I can settle back and enjoy our anniversary celebrations without being completely worn out by my culinary efforts on the day. I shall also be pre-making the Pappardelle this coming week so that piece of work can also be forgotten before dinner. My plan to make a Smoked Salmon terrine has been pre-empted by this morning’s purchase of a Chicken Liver option, so I’ll be in charge of no more than the Melba Toast. This menu planning gets better all the time.
Since I still don’t feel too clever I suppose it’s a good thing that I have no cooking to do today. I’ll make up the flaky pastry dough tomorrow, make the ice cream on Wednesday when I have the cream and for today… just pass that hunk of Millstone in my direction, please.