I’m a tiny bit obsessed with cheese at the moment. That’s a lie, I’m always obsessed but here is a particularly gooey, overloaded offering containing caramelised onions, bacon, herbs and buttery pastry dunked into melting luxurious cheese.
1 baking camembert
2 sheets of puff pastry
3 tbsp caramelised onion chutney
75g crispy smoked bacon bits
1 egg whisked
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface. Place a large mixing bowl on top of the pastry sheet. Cut around the bowl to form a circle (around 9-10 inch diameter).
Repeat step 2 with the second sheet of pastry.
Place one circle of pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Spread caramelised onion chutney over the pastry, leaving the middle centre clear. Sprinkle bacon bits over the chutney and then cover with the second circle of pastry.
Place the camembert cheese in the centre of the circle of pastry and then cut around to form a circle. Discard the cut pastry and lay the cheese in the open centre.
Cut the circle of pastry into 16 equal segments. You can do this by cutting the circle first into 4 equal segments. Then, cut each segment in half and then in half once more, ending with 16 segments in total.
Lift one segment, twist once to the right and place it down. Then lift the segment next to it and twist once to the left and place it down. Keep going around, alternating the direction of the twist. Finally, bring up edges of two segments with opposite twist and press together.
Brush the pastry with egg wash. Make 3-4 slits on top of the cheese and then drizzle cheese with a little honey. Sprinkle rosemary leaves over the cheese and pastry. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
Rip off the pastry branches and dunk them in the gooey cheese. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
OMG! This is amazing. It’s like the easiest lasagne ever but no need to stand there layering stuff up. Instead you dunk garlicky buttery crisp bread into oozy cheese sauce and rich bolognese. A word of caution though, let it stand for 10-15 minutes once removed from the oven or prepare for a scalded mouth for the next 2 days. I learned the hard way.
For the garlic butter toasts:
4 slices white bread
1 Tbsp butter
3 garlic cloves, grated
Parsley or oregano, chopped For the fondue:
100g gruyere, grated
3 tsp corn flour
1 cup white wine
A splash of milk
Salt & Pepper
25g parmesan, grated For the Bolognese:
1 Tbsp oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 red bell pepper
2 garlic cloves, grated
250g beef mince
1tsp each oregano, thyme, chopped
1 Tbsp tomato puree
400g can chopped tomatoes
Salt & Pepper
Preheat oven to 180ºC.
Roll slices of bread flat with a rolling pin. Add the crushed garlic and herbs to the butter and melt in the microwave for 10 seconds. Brush the bread with garlic butter on both sides. Cut into four triangles, corner to corner.
Place flat on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes flipping half way through until golden brown and crisp.
To make the Bolognese, add the oil to a pan over a high heat and brown the beef mince. Add the onion, carrot and peppers, reduce the heat to medium and continue to brown gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
Add the herbs, seasoning and tomato puree. Stir to combine.
Add the chopped tomatoes and a little water then let the Bolognese simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
Mix together the cheese and toss in the cornflour.
Heat the wine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cheese mixture a handful at a time until you have a thick smooth sauce.
Pour in some milk and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken.
Spread Bolognese on the bottom of a dish. Pour fondue mixture over top and grate parmesan to cover. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling.
Italian Stromboli loaf loaded with artichokes, olives, sausage, gooey mozzarella and rich tomato sauce. I seem to be making a lot of stuff under the guise of baked bread stuffed with cheese recently but it’s not something I plan to change any time soon. This is a really satisfying, comfort food. It takes a while to put together but is surprisingly simple and totally worth the effort. You can put whatever you want in the middle. Jalapeño and chorizo is another winning combo. My little brother even likes ham and pineapple in his.
1 quantity pizza dough (see my recipe for pizza dough on ‘pizza’ post)
1 jar pizza topping sauce
1 bunch fresh basil
3/4 cup artichoke heart pieces, drained
1/2 cup chopped green olives
1/2 pound cooked Italian sausage, crumbled
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
Cracked black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pizza dough on a piece of parchment paper, into an 11 X 15 inch rectangle.
Spread 1/2 cup pizza sauce over the dough, leaving a 2 inch border around all sides.
Top the tomato sauce with fresh basil leaves. Layer the sausage, olives, artichokes and cheese over the basil leaves.
Then lifting the parchment paper, gently roll one short end toward the other short end, creating a log with the seam facing down.
Brush the loaf with melted butter then sprinkle with pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow the Stromboli to rest 10 minutes before slicing. Serve the remaining pizza sauce in a bowl to dip the Stromboli slices into.
Fatayer is a pizza-like dough stuffed with a herby cheese filling in this case. They are found throughout North Africa and the Balkans in differing variations and are traditionally served during breakfast or as a snack with a hot drink.
The combination of the salty cheese, fresh parsley, fresh mint, and nigella seeds makes these fatayer irresistible. I used feta cheese since it is more readily available but if you wish to make the fatayer more authentic, use akkawi cheese.
I have also tried a combination of ricotta and mozzarella cheese, using half of each, which was equally tasty but more subtle and creamy. Experiment with different cheeses and see what you like best. I prefer the tart tanginess of feta.
Tip: Shape the fatayer as soon as the dough finishes resting. To keep the fatayer from puffing up too much and losing their shape, it is important to bake them right away. I made the cheese fatayer into boat-like shapes, which is the way they are traditionally made, but you can use any shape you prefer, including making them into mini pizzas.
450g strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nigella seeds
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon caster sugar
2 x 7g sachets fast action dried yeast
300ml warm water
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
200g crumbled/grated cheese of choice (I used 100g feta, 50g parmesan, 50g boursin)
½ bunch of parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch of mint, finely chopped
½ tsp baking powder
3 spring onions, finely sliced
Freshly grated black pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 large egg
For the dough: Place salt, caraway, nigella seeds and flour into a large bowl. Add the sugar and yeast but do not let the yeast directly contact the salt.
Pour in the water and olive oil. Mix together with your fingers.
Work the dough into a soft warm ball then slap it onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until soft and elastic.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled, large bowl and lightly oil the dough itself so a crust does not form. Cover the bowl with a plastic bag and leave in a warm place for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.
For the filling and constructing: Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well until combined.
Divide the dough into 6-8 equal pieces.
Roll out into an oval shape.
Put 1½ teaspoons of the filling in the middle and spread.
Lift one edge and press the ends. Do the same with other edge making a boat-like shape.
Place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes. Serve warm.
Sometimes you just want something quick and simple for dinner but that shouldn’t mean boring. This camembert garlic bread is quick, easy flippin’ amazing too. I mean it’s cheese and bread and garlic so it’s hard to go wrong really.
You could try experimenting with this bread by stuffing different ingredients in the bread such as tomato sauce, chorizo, mozzarella, basil, pesto, bacon, whatever you want really.
1 whole camembert
2 garlic cloves, grated
3 Tbsp butter
½ tsp dried rosemary
1 loaf of crusty bread
Sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Remove all the packaging from the camembert and use the outer box as a stencil to cut a circular hole in the centre of the crusty loaf. Do not cut all the way through. Remove just enough bread so the camembert can sit snuggly in the centre of the bread.
Remove the top rind of the camembert and place the cheese in the hole you just cut into the bread, cut side up.
With a serrated knife, score the bread several times lengthways and then widthways to achieve a checkerboard effect.
Add the garlic, butter, rosemary and a pinch of salt to a bowl and microwave for a few seconds to melt the butter. Spread this mixture between the scored lines you just made in the bread.
Sprinkle the whole thing with a little salt and set on a baking tray. Bake in the lower part of the oven for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is oozing, the bread is crusty and the garlic is fragrant.
Rip squares of the buttery garlic bread and dunk them into the gooey cheese. Shake your head in amazement.
I have just arrived home from a holiday in the Picardy region of Northern France. I have to confess I have lost my enthusiasm for blogging recently due to my poor student bank account taking a battering and my house-”mates” whose kitchen cleanliness leaves little to be desired. After a trip to this beautiful part of France however, I have returned with a new passion for cooking and all things cheese!
In case you’re not familiar with Maroilles, it’s a soft cow’s milk cheese with an orange rind that’s made in Northern France. Those simple facts sound harmless enough but there’s a little more to it than that. The aroma of Maroilles can be scary. If you don’t eat it quickly, it could start to set off fire alarms and endanger low-flying aircraft. On the other hand, it tastes great.
One of the most common dishes using Mariolles is the Tarte au Maroilles. You can find different versions of this tarte around Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy but the most traditional form has a yeasted dough base rather than a layer of pastry. You can of course use a shortcrust or even puff pastry if you want a result similar to a quiche. Indeed, I personally prefer a crisper base that puff pastry achieves but I have provided the recipe for the authentic yeasted base here.
If you can’t get hold of any Maroilles, then you could substitute another cheese that isn’t too soft and ripe but does have a powerful flavour: Chaumes, Reblochon or Pont-l’Évêque come to mind.
For the base:
½ tsp easy bake fast action dried yeast
300 g strong white flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
15 g softened butter
1 egg, beaten
100 ml milk
20 ml water
For the topping:
300 g Maroilles
200 ml crème fraîche
Plenty of pepper and a little salt
Freshly grated nutmeg to taste, optional
Add all of the base ingredients to the large mixing bowl and combine then on a lightly floured work surface, knead the mix for 10-15 minutes. You should have a light, slightly sticky dough. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour.
Butter a 25 cm or 26 cm diameter pie dish. (The tarte topping tends to bubble up more than you might expect and so a deeper dish is useful.) Knock the dough back and roll it out until it covers the base of the pie dish. Some recipes suggest that you should fully line the dish by spreading the dough up the sides, but I was told in Picardy that it should remain flat.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Slice the Maroilles quite thinly and cover the dough base with the cheese. You don’t have to remove the rind of the cheese, but unless the cheese is very fresh then it can be quite strong. I personally love the flavour and leave it on. Beat the egg and stir it into the crème fraîche. Season this mixture with the pepper and salt. Pour the mixture onto the tarte and spread it out to cover the whole of the surface (you don’t need to be too fussy or precise about this). Grate nutmeg over if using. Bake in the oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the top is golden and puffed up.
Serve warm with a fresh green salad and a cold beer.
These ham hock and pea croquettes are made from a stiff béchamel, rather than mashed potato that so many versions of croquettes seem to be bulked out with. They need to be eaten hot – so hot you burn your fingers on the crisp breadcrumb exterior as you rush to bite into the oozing, cheesy, molten centre. The smoky ham and tangy mustard make the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer or cider.
Makes about 40
75g plain flour
500ml whole milk
100g mature cheddar, grated
1 tbsp mustard
Salt and white pepper
200g cooked smoked ham hock, shredded into chunks
100g frozen peas, defrosted
flat-leaf parsley a handful, finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
150g panko breadcrumbs
groundnut oil for deep frying
Melt the butter in a pan and then stir in the flour to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in the milk until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer over a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add the cheese and mustard and stir until melted, then add the ham, peas and parsley and season. The mixture should be quite thick and paste-like. It will thicken a little more once chilled too.
Scoop into a tray or dish, cool, then chill completely in the fridge. (This can take 2-3 hours, or you could make it the day before.) Scoop out large tablespoons of the mix and roll each into small logs, around 5cm long and 2cm thick. Flouring your hands slightly will help prevent the mix from sticking to everything.
Put the beaten egg on one plate and breadcrumbs on another. Roll the croquettes in the egg then the crumbs. Repeat so you have two layers of egg and breadcrumbs.
Fill a pan no more than 1/3 full with oil and heat to 180C (or until a cube of bread browns in around 30 seconds), then deep fry the croquettes in batches for 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden. Scoop out and drain on kitchen paper (you can keep the cooked croquettes warm in a very low oven). Serve with English mustard and cold beer.