We’re cheese lovers here. In all its forms, it has a place in our fridge, and there’s no better time to enjoy it than at Christmas. There’s a time for good old cream cheese, mixed with a chilli sauce (Luchito is our favourite) it makes a cracking dip. At the other end of the spectrum, we love a nutty Gruyere or punchy Stilton. The problem with cheese (dare we say it) is that all too often the last pieces are neglected and forgotten, left in the door of the fridge, abandoned in favour of new flavours and destined only for the mousetraps.
Save your rinds! Parmesan, or any rind of a hard cheese, gives depth and balance to soups and stews. Add to anything whilst it simmers, it will slowly melt and give everything a divine, deeply savoury flavour. Simply remove before serving.
Cheese twists make perfect canapés. Spread a dollop of Dijon mustard onto a sheet of ready rolled puff pastry. Grate over any leftover cheese, even the gnarly, ignored pieces, leaving a 1 inch gap around the edges. Sprinkle with some toasted caraway seeds or cayenne pepper for extra bite. Roll it up and refrigerate. After an hour, slice thinly and cook for 10 minutes in a moderate oven, until cheese is melting and pastry crisp. You could try using some G’NOSH Muhummura in place of the mustard, but omit the spices – unless you have some real chilli lovers coming for supper!
Cheese scones are a delicious way to use up some of those festive leftovers. Follow a basic savoury scone recipe, omitting any sugar and add all your excess cheesy bits. You can throw in herbs too; chives, parsley and tarragon are all delicious. We make mini ones, skewer them onto kebab sticks and serve with soup.
That’s right. December. It’s come around so fast we’ve barely got our flip flops off, which hopefully means it’ll be time to put them on again before we know it. In the meantime, we’re embracing the cold, as some fruits and vegetables are at their very best at this time of year. We’ve picked our top 3 and some of the best ways to enjoy them.
Part of the parsley family, a parsnips flavour actually improves when the ground gets frosty. Try them raw in a winter slaw, with shredded cabbage, radishes and carrots. Make a dressing with Dijon mustard, natural yoghurt, a splash of vinegar and plenty of salt and pepper. Finish with parsley for a fresh take on an old favourite.
Another crowd pleaser is a classic curried parsnip soup. Warming and easy to prepare, it’s a staple when the weather gets bleak. Just add curry powder to your vegetables when you are sweating them down. This is a great way to get spices into your diet at this time of year too, they’re crammed with anti oxidants and natural immune boosters to stave off colds.
We’re nuts about nuts. A seasonal favourite, chestnuts are a store cupboard staple for the next few weeks. Try them mashed into Hummus like our friends at Cook Vegetarian Magazinefor a Christmas twist on this ubiquitous dip.
Walnuts are also in season, and are a key ingredient in a classic Muhummura. Try adding some chopped and toasted to the G’NOSH version for extra crunch!
Even just a bowl of these in the kitchen lifts the spirits. We add segments to salads with raw fennel and rocket, and you can use the peel in cocktails and mulled wine. If you’re not mad keen on the flavour, stud with cloves and hang on your Christmas tree. They’ll smell almost as good as they taste.