If you are of the opinion that blue cheese tastes distinctly like sweaty feet, I’d like to appoint blame and point a stinky finger in the direction of Monsieur Penicillin Roquefort. With it’s mouldy appearance, pungent smell and strong flavour, blue cheese is quite a polarising ingredient pairing well with fruit, honey and walnuts.
The prevailing legend that led to the miraculous accident of blue cheese was in the Roquefort region of Southern France when a shepherd, let’s call him Clive, was tending his flock and settles down for a lunch of rye bread and sheep milk cheese in a cave. Apparently before Clive could wrap his laughing gear around his meal, his sheep got spooked and ran off like a couple of Kiwi blokes were after them. Clive hot tails it after them leaving his lunch behind. Months later he passes by the cave to find his former lunch still there, a bit stinky and with a thick coating of blue mould on top. Hungry, adventurous or sporting a death wish, who will ever know, he took a bite and a star was born. Dear old Clive didn’t get sick because the damp, limestone caves that dot southern France are filled with naturally penicillin spores. A combination of conditions and bacteria and mans willingness not to be put off by a bit of mould. Amazing, really.
Unfortunately one of blue cheese major drawbacks is it’s high calorie content, each serving of blue cheese is a loaded heart attack waiting to happen. Just looking at the stuff will raise cholesterol levels to alarming levels, but only a dedicated blue cheese hater can resist the temptation of a blue goo bomb.
Stilton, Gorgonzola, Roquefort, all wonderful cheeses and well worth of their fine reputation, but blue cheese has been one of the most misunderstood food in the world. Certainly an acquired taste, not everyone has a story about blue cheese that ends badly. Personally I never met a cheese I didn’t like, the stinker the better, bring it on. At with that cheesey introduction, good Islanders, I’l like you to indulge in some deliciously naughty recipes.
Normally with food, upon spotting grey veins accompanied by a unique smell that can melt your eyelashes means it’s time to bin it…….but for blue cheese encountering these signs means it’s time to crack open a bottle of excellent red, break the mould and explore the world of these wonderful funky cheeses……..
Sensational Stilton Cheesecake with Rhubarb Compote
1 and 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
7 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
230 grams Stilton, rind discarded and cheese crumbled, basically 1 cup
690 grams cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
3 large eggs
230 grams sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup port
1/2 cup sugar
24 pink peppercorns, coarsely crushed
900 grams trimmed rhubarb, cut into 2 cms cubes or 6 cups
Blend together the flour and sugar with an electric mixer. Add butter and
blend until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Transfer to a 24 centimetre
springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom. Bake for 30 minutes at 175C until golden, then cool on a rack.
Reduce the oven to 150C. Beat together the Stilton, cream cheese and
sugar in a large bowl. Add the flour and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Chuck in the sour cream and vanilla then pour over crust in pan.
Bake cheesecake in the middle of the oven until puffed and pale golden
around the edge, about 1 hour. Transfer cake in the pan to a rack and run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cool completely then chill for about 4 hours.
Meanwhile, boil port, 1/2 cup sugar and peppercorns in a 12 inch frying pan, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and reduced, about 2 / 3 minutes. Add the rhubarb and gently stir, simmer for about 10 minutes until tender. Chill for at least 4 hours.
Just before serving, sprinkle sugar evenly over the cheesecake then blast with a blowtorch, moving the flame back and forth over sugar until evenly melted and caramelised. You could also pair this little beauty with mango and ginger.
Bacon, Fresh Fig and Blue Cheese pizza
1 1/8 cups warm water
3 teaspoons dried yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 fresh figs, sliced
4 slices thick cut bacon, cooked slightly
230 grams Emmental cheese, grated
115 grams Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
2 cups rocket
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper
For the dough, in a large bowl combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix and let sit until all foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 2 and a half cups of flour and salt, stirring until dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the extra flour, kneading it for a few minutes. Pop it back into the same bowl, cover with a cloth and leave to rise for about 1 – 1 and a half hours to rise.
After dough has risen, punch it down and place it on a floured surface, using a rolling pin or your hands, form it into shape and place on a baking tray.
Pop the towel back over the dough and leave in a warm place for 10
Preheat oven to 190C. Cover with a drizzle of olive oil and the garlic cloves, then spread on the fontina cheese. Add figs and bacon over the pizza, then top with remaining fontina and blue cheese. Bake in the oven for 25/30 minutes until all gooey and great. Remove and top with rocket, salt and pepper and serve. Undoubtably yummyness on a plate….
Steamed Mussels with Blue Cheese and Bacon
2 kg fresh and cleaned mussels
80g shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
150 ml white wine
80 g blue cheese, cubed
150 ml double cream
pinch salt and pepper
120 g unsmoked bacon, cooked and diced
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
lots of crusty bread
Pop the mussels, shallots, garlic and white wine in a deep frying pan and
place over a high heat for 3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Once the mussels start to open, add the blue cheese and cream. Cover again and continue cooking for a further 2 minutes until cheese melts and cream begins to bubble, take lid off and give everything a really good stir. Ladle into warm bowls, garnish with parsley and serve with the crusty bread.
You are so welcome.
Galley Goddess xoxo