Saturday, 9 April 2011

Homemade oatcakes & Champion cheese 2010

At last I had the opportunity to try the World Cheese Awards Champion Cheese 2010. During the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham in November last year over 200 judges from 19 different countries judged more than 2,500 cheeses from 29 countries during the morning session (I wish I could have this job!). These were whittled down to 47 super gold award winning cheeses by the afternoon session. The Supreme Panel, made up of 15 experts from 11 countries, each chose their favourite cheese to go forward to the final judging. Cornish Blue from the Cornish Cheese Company, was finally crowned the World Champion Cheese.

I ordered 200g Cornish Blue pot, as it was a present for my partner. Next time definitely will go for at least 0.5kg! Pot is beautiful, so the gift is well presented and worth its price. This delicious cheese was pressed into a special collectors' edition 'Cornish Ware' ceramic pot and hidden under red wax. After the cheese feast this pot can have a second life – it is too pretty to be discarded. Those interested in this lovely blue and white stripe ware called Cornish Blue should visit manufacturer’s website.

I have tasted many different cheeses before but none of them was so delicious. Exactly up to my taste! Handmade, matured 12-14 weeks, very delicate, yet slightly bitter. Its consistency is very interesting nearly fluffy, yet creamy. It is slightly sour, but sweet, smells lovely – apple like.

If you will have opportunity to taste it – go ahead! You will not regret it. This cheese made me realised how little I know about cheese and I should try more and more different ones.

This is all about the cheese and now about the oatcakes. I though that great cheese deserves good homemade oatcakes. I wanted to make them more savoury than neutral. So I search though the internet and this recipe is a compilation of few that I have found. They are not as crunchy as shop bought I will try to make them thinner or bake longer next time.

Makes about 20

225g medium oatmeal + extra for dusting
1/2 tsp celery salt
some roughly crushed black pepper
1 tbsp melted butter
about 150ml lukewarm water

Heat the oven to 160 C (fan).

Place all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Make well in the centre of this mix and add water mixed with butter. Use a palette knife to mix everything together. The mixture will be initially a bit wet, but then will gradually absorb all the liquid to give a soft dough ball.

Lightly dust a work surface with oatmeal. Tip out the dough and roll out to about 3-4 mm thickness. Use a round cutter to cut out the oatcakes or use any shape cutter you have. Re-make the dough using any trimmings and continue to rolling out and cutting out the oatcakes.

Place the oatcakes on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for about 20 minutes, carefully turning the oatcakes every 5 minutes. (This should stop them from going stodgy). Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Store in airtight contained, up to 5 days.

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