Have you gone overboard and bought just a little too much cheese? Or do you want to make a fantastic and importantly simple starter for guests? This is the recipe for you. Feel free to tweak the alcohol and spices to fit your own taste.
Adapted from recipes by Sophie Grigson & www.deliciousmagazine.co.uk
250g grated cheese, (a mixture of hard cheeses such as Cheddar e.g. Montgomery, Quickes or Keens , Double or Single Gloucester, Kit Calvert Wensleydale)
90g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tbsp of port
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp ground mace
1/2 tsp mustard (we recommend Tewkesbury mustard balls)
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
60g walnuts or blanched hazelnuts or dried cranberries, roughly chopped
Melted clarified butter
Combine the cheese and butter to a paste. Add the spices and alcohol and combine well.
Pop the cheese paste in ramekins and cover with clarified butter. Leave for at least 24 hours before eating, to allow the flavours to combine. Delicious on toast, crusty bread, crackers or oat cakes.
Mega Green Salad
I am a huge fan of salads all year round and during the festivities it is a fantastic antidote to all the heavy foods and alcohol. This recipe is tweaked according to the seasons and takes it inspiration from the King of Salads – Yotam Ottolenghi. Oh and with the addition of cheese it is not too healthy!
It is important that you choose strong, peppery and bitter leaves for this recipe so it marries well against the vinegar being used.
Bag of Watercress
4 x chicory heads
50g – Perl Las (thinly sliced or shaved)
1 x avocado – sliced thinly (try to keep each half cut intact)
4 tbsp – toasted almond flakes
3 tsp – Womersley Lime, Black Pepper & Lavendar Vinegar
1 x courgette – ribboned using a vegetable peeler
Place the ribbon courgettes in a bowl and dress with the vinegar. Leave for half an hour so the flavours combine. Wash the watercress and chicory and dry so no residual water remains. Add it into the bowl alongside the courgettes. Place the avocado and cheese on top and scatter with the toasted almonds.
Serve immediately so the leaves do not go soggy.
Other good blue cheeses to use – Oxford Blue or Cashel Blue.
Fully loaded Green Tart
Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals
As a vegetarian for over 10 years, Christmas always felt problematic for many of my relatives and I have eaten too many nut roasts than I care to remember. Things have moved on since then and this fantastic tart works well for a lunch as it can be prepared and cooked in advance. Just warm through on the day and serve with a fruit or tomato chutney.
350g cheese (I generally prefer 2 different types of cheese that contrast e.g. ½ goat ½ cows milk cheddar). I would steer clear from a washed rind cheese that may overpower.
1 tsp Dried mixed herbs
1 lemon (grate the zest)
Teaspoon of oil
400g spinach / curly kale
1 x 270g pack of filo pastry
Smoked Paprika for dusting
Nutmeg for dusting
Turn your oven on to 200C/gas mark 6. Crack all the eggs into a mixing bowl and grate/crumble the cheese into the bowl. Add a pinch of pepper, dried oregano, zest of 1 lemon and a lug of olive oil.
Put the frying pan on the heat, add the oil and wilt the spinach/curly kale until it begins to wilt or soften. Add this into the egg mixture and put to one side.
Meanwhile, take the pastry out of the fridge. Lay a large sheet of greaseproof paper, approximately 50cm long, on the worktop, rub a little olive oil all over it, then scrunch it up and lay it out flat again. Arrange 4 filo pastry sheets in a large rectangle, overlapping at the edges, so they almost cover the paper. Rub some olive oil over them. Sprinkle over a good pinch of salt & pepper and a pinch of cayenne. Repeat until you have 3 layers. Don't worry about any cracked bits.
Grate your nutmeg into your egg mixture and pour this into the pan that has the filo sheets . Fold the filo sheets over the top and put the pan back on a medium heat for a couple of minutes to get the bottom cooking, then put the pan into the oven on the top shelf to cook for 25 minutes, or until golden and crisp.
Who are Open Air Foods?
Open Air Foods was set up by the Holden & Trotter family in 2012 retailing artisan cheese and local produce in the Home Counties.
Today, we are focused on:
Retailing fantastic handmade cheese and artisan produce online at www.openairfoods.com, at local markets & in our shop
Producing seasonal catering at weddings, private functions and parties
Attending festivals with our fabulous outdoor street food.