When you think of Lancashire cheese, what comes to mind? Creamy, tasty, crumbly and nowt else? Wrong, there’s tons of other stuff. Consider the blue cheeses, including the award-winning Blacksticks Blue, a creamy, smooth-textured cheese made by Butlers, who also make a range of traditional and other speciality cheeses.
And you’ve probably heard about the Lancaster Bombers – but what about the Lancashire Bomb? There’s a whole range of bombs, from the traditional black bomb (a creamy cheese in black wax) and the cracked black pepper bomb packed full of flavour to the garlic and herb bomb which has a superb flavour without being overpowering. And don’t forget about the chilli bomb and the whiskey bomb, the list goes on and on. They’re all made by the Shorrock family from Goosnargh.
Then there’s goat’s cheese and lots of it. Dolphinholme Goats Cheese comes from the Bowland area of Lancashire. This farm produces the whole lot from the soft goat’s cheese to the conventional crumbly and smoked, all available from Booths and Waitrose as well as the Lancaster farmers’ market on Saturdays.
I’d like to introduce this wonderful Lancashire produce to you. Here are two simple recipes with ideas of how to use them in a meal.
CHEF TONY SAYS: This first recipe I’ve made in restaurants before but I’m taking it up a notch for you lovely people.
Sundried Tomato and Spicy Roast Pepper Goat’s Cheese Spread
Place peppers, tomatoes and basil in a food processor with a pinch of sea salt and about three turns of a black pepper mill. Blitz up, remove lid, scrape down and blitz again. Scrape down one more time and add the goat’s cheese, blitz till blended thoroughly. Store in an airtight container or serve straight away with an antipasto style starter. Or you could have it on its own just with toasted bread and olive oil. Or quite simply use as cheese on toast.
Warm Goat’s Cheese and Grilled Vegetable Salad
CHEF TONY SAYS: Use any vegetable that can be grilled – asparagus if it’s in season – or praps aubergine. Some veg will need to be boiled first like the carrots and beetroot I’m using in this recipe.
1 large courgette
1 large red onion
1 large carrot
2 beetroot raw
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
4 thick cut goat’s cheese slices from a log skin on
For the dressing:
Virgin olive oil
Crush your garlic clove, chop your shallot up and slice your chives finely. Put them all in a bowl and add salt and pepper. Pour on one part balsamic vinegar to three parts oil. Stir together, check for taste and put in a bottle or bowl in the fridge.
First boil the beetroot for about 45 minutes til a knife can easily pierce the centre. Remove from heat and cool under running water. Prepare the carrots by peeling and slicing on an angle into thick slices, boil for about five-eight mins depending on thickness, cool down as per beetroot.
While the beetroot is cooking, prepare the rest of the vegetables. Peel and cut the red onion into wedges, toss in oil with salt and pepper, slice the courgette like the carrots. Cut the peppers into about four quarters removing the seeds.
Once the beetroot is cooled peel and cut into wedges.
Bring a griddle pan to smoking point, toss your vegetables in batches in oil and salt and pepper and cook on both sides til bar marks appear, and the veg is cooked (if you’ve sliced any items too thick you could finish cooking in the oven).
Once all the vegetables are cooked, cool down (you could prepare and cook the veg the day before) and place in a large bowl. Toss in a simple dressing and serve on two plates.
Heat a frying pan with a little oil and sear the goat’s cheese on both sides til golden brown. Place on top of the vegetables with a final drizzle of dressing and enjoy!
Next week: cooking on a portable griddle.
PROPER FOOD FOR PROPER APPETITES
Each week, discover recipes to nourish the soul, all compiled and concocted by Chef Tony, a gastronome with 15 years’ of experience cooking across the North West. Chef Tony has worked in some of the region’s best kitchens, including the award-winning Nutters in Rochdale and The Lowry at Salford Quays.