Tag Archives: cheese

The Great Camembert Cheese Debacle

The events described here took place around Christmas 2016 (not 2017 as I previously claimed).

In the lead up to Christmas I did my normal trick of buying enough food to last a family of eight for a fortnight. We are, of course, a family of four and Christmas lasts a day. If you really resist the great outdoors you may manage to make it last three days before close confinement with the family starts to make your thoughts turn to murder.

This included buying an industrial quantity of Stilton from Long Clawson Dairy and a selection of Lesser Cheeses from the supermarket. These included various waxed truckles, Lancashire Cheese with Apricots and a large wheel of Camembert.

Even for a family of cheesophiles this is a lot of cheese.

The proper word for a cheese lover is, it seems, turophile. I’m not keen on that – it’s far too close to turdophile for my liking and any confusion could result in a very regrettable selection of sandwiches.

So, that’s the first stage.

At this point it’s necessary to confess something about the fridge ecosystem. The clue, of course, is in the word ecosystem. I once produced a very acceptable blue cheddar in the fridge by leaving a large chunk of badly wrapped non-blue cheddar concealed behind the top shelf chutney jars.

There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio,  Than are dreamt of in your philosophy, as Hamlet said. The same principle would appear to apply to our fridge.

That’s the second stage.

Finally, you overfill the fridge in a chaotic manner, eat stuff, put it back, wrap it badly and have an enjoyable Christmas.

A week or two later there was a suspicion that all was not well in the fridge. This manifested itself as a slight but distinctive smell. We couldn’t see anything obvious, so I moved a few things, produced soup from a selection of mis-matched left-overs and tried to ignore it.

It carried on for a week or so, with Julia suggesting there was something on top shelf that needed attention and me avoiding doing anything about it. (She’s not tall enough to reach the top shelf and I’m very lazy).

From my observations I can state confidently that Camembert, when half used and then stored in a fridge, stays fresh for a while then starts to smell a bit. It’s probably a good idea to do something at that juncture.

If you don’t, the consequences are not good, and the change is both rapid and traumatic.

The slight whiff of ripe Camembert can escalate rapidly while you are out at work, as Julia found when opening the fridge one evening. It had risen in pitch from being a bit whiffy to something that filled the entire ground floor with the smell of week old rugby socks.

Fortunately it tasted a lot better than it smelt.

And that, my friends, is why I am banned from buying, possessing and storing Camembert.

Some Thoughts on Sandwiches

The high point of the day so far has been my lunchtime chicken sandwich. I sliced the meat from some chicken drumsticks we had in the fridge last night, added bread, mayonnaise and redcurrant jelly and ended up with sandwiches. They turned out to be rather nice. Even Julia said so, and she’s usually my sternest critic in the matter of sandwiches.

I would have liked stuffing on the sandwich too, but forgot all about cooking it until it was too late. I just checked what the Americans call stuffing, as it seemed a likely word for causing confusion. It seems that Americans call it stuffing if it’s cooked inside the bird and dressing if it’s cooked outside.

I know a local hotelier who calls it seasoning. I once asked him why.

“Well,” he said, “I have a three star hotel and provide a fine dining experience. I don’t want any of my staff asking a customer if they’d like stuffing.”

It’s back to cheese and pickle tomorrow. I like cheese and pickle.

I suppose this makes me appear both shallow and unadventurous compared to the sophisticated, cosmopolitan crowd that reads the blog so perhaps I should have pickled onions instead.


I’ve run out of Ham!

Fortunately my reserve of cheese has been able to make up the deficiency. The good thing about cheese, apart from the fact that it tastes good, is that it’s virtually interchangeable with ham. You can use tomato relish and Branston pickle on it, and if you make Welsh Rarebit you can even pair it with mustard. They can both go in omlettes, on pizza and, if you really must, in salad.

If I ever have to make a choice I may have to go for cheese, as it can go in Welsh Rarebit, as previously mentioned, and cheese on toast.

Talking of Welsh Rarebit, which makes cheese on toast into a meal instead of a snack, I was surprised to see how complicated it can be. I whisk a drop of milk into some grated cheese whilst heating gently, add the mustard and it’s ready. Sometimes I add Worcestershire Sauce and black pepper. Sometimes I don’t.  No beer, no flour, no fat, no roux.

In the Cold Dark Ground (Logan McRae, Book 10) by [MacBride, Stuart]

The tie I have saved by not shopping for more ham was spent reading an excellent crime novel – In the Cold Dark Ground by Stuart MacBride. It’s the 10th book in the series, and I’ve missed a few out, so I had a bit of catching up to do. That’s the trouble you have if you hate paying more than 99 pence for a Kindle book.

It’s Tartan Noir, with lots of Scots and violence plus dark humour, exhuberance, convolution, complication dialect and a pig farm.

Sometimes it’s a bit over the top, and sometimes a bit irritating, but generally it’s a great book in a great series. When I get caught up with my reading pile I might buy a few more in the series. I’d go so far as to say if I could only take one crime series to a desert island it would be this one.

Thanks to Amazon for the picture again.

Me, Mirth and Merriment

I went shopping this afternoon – a few groceries for Number One son as a hint that it was time to go back, and a few bits for the kitchen. And tea. By some oversight we had run out of tea, and I can’t settle knowing that Julia is likely to make that Indian spiced stuff that she likes and which I consider has no place in civilised society. I know that India has produced great philosophies and mathematics, and Mahatma Ghandi, but I’m sorry, I don’t consider them sound on matters of tea.

For those of you who are thinking of pointing out that India virtually invented tea may I just point out that the English invented football. It doesn’t mean we’re any good at it.

The car park was fuller than normal, a state of affairs which also applied to the shop.

Large numbers of resentful looking men were trailing round the shop muttering rude words at their partners whilst feral children stalked the aisles and trolley rage seemed to simmer, barely under control.

This did not bring out the best in me, and I was thinking evil thoughts, including wondering about the practicality of disemboweling a curly-haired tot with my reading glasses, when a wave of good humour rolled over me.  This is not normal. It hardly ever happens, and certainly not at Christmas, when the spirit of Scrooge stalks the badly heated rooms of my draughty hill top domain.

I looked at the couple arguing over the wife’s choice of  cheese and thought how lucky I was that we could afford all three of the varieties she was looking at. We would, of course only eat two of them before the third matured into a new variety of blue cheese (in our fridge even Stilton goes mouldy), but that, in a way. is even luckier, as we have lots of cheese and the thrill of playing botulism roulette.

After that I was on a roll, to the point of being quite charming and enjoying a laugh with several ladies in the checkout queue. When I mentioned this to Julia she muttered something about it not being the first time I’d provoked mirth in a woman.

There was something in her tone I couldn’t quite place…


Just Chilling Out

Julia is out tonight. It was something she organised a month ago and  I made her go even though she’s worried about leaving me alone.

Her worries are that I may fall over or starve to death. Starve? That set alarm bells ringing. How long is she planning on being away? Only for the evening, it seems. I can’t see that being a problem as I have enough stored fat to last a while. Look at the self-portrait if you don’t believe me. I have what estate agents refer to as an “extensive frontage”.

As for falling over, I have a mobility aid (or stick, as they used to be known) and enough padding not to damage too easily.

However, this isn’t to say that she has nothing to worry about. I may be safe, but it’s not the same as being sensible. Armed with several litres of what Bob Flowerdew calls personal liquid waste I have made a start on reclaiming the garden. We’ve been having trouble with dogs fouling a spot in the corner of the front garden and I’ve decided to fight back. We had an urban fox problem at one time, and did successfully move them on using urine (applied via watering can, in case you are wondering). Direct application isn’t really an option for a front garden in a suburban street.

I’m thinking of this as a kind way of moving them on. Stage 2, if this doesn’t work, is to use a solution of chillis. If I have to escalate to stage 3 I may have to abandon organic solutions and opt for Jeyes Fluid.

I will say no more, as I don’t want this to be used in evidence against me.

While she was out I went shopping for tea, which was Heinz Tomato Soup with a cheese and spiced shallot sandwich. It’s not the last word in healthy eating, but Heinz Tomato Soup is almost a medicine so I think I’m OK, particularly as I had an orange, a banana and a chocolate rabbit afterwards. The rabbit was half price – so it’s a vegetable and it’s a bargain.



Tell me what you eat

Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.

I’m at work today, seeing someone about a booking. I quite like working on Sundays as it’s peaceful and I can get a lot done. Apart from walking round showing our facilities, I’ve caught up with emails, sent photos to people, done some invoicing and seen what is happening out there in the wordpress universe. As usual I have found there is more information out there than I can comfortably absorb.

That reminded me I wanted to look up a quotation from Brillat-Savarin. The quotation was duly found.

“You first parents of the human race…who ruined yourself for an apple, what might you have done for a truffled turkey?”

It seems simpler, and less funny, than when I heard it on Radio 4 a couple of weeks ago, and with the mention of truffles (I swear they had been chestnuts on the radio) it’s a lot less useful for marketing the Christmas turkeys.

Fortunately I did find the quote I used in the first line of this post, so it wasn’t a wasted visit.

So, what does my eating tell you about me?

Well, I had sausage, beans and chips last night, so I’m not a gourmet. The night before that we had vegetable curry with flatbreads. That tells you I’m too lazy to cook rice, and (as the sausages establish me as a non-vegetarian) that I’m too tight to buy meat for every meal. And then we come to today’s lunch – Stilton cheese in croissants. That may mean that I appreciate good cheese and have a sophisticated taste in baked goods.

Or it may merely tell you that I still have a child at home who ate all the cheddar and bread and didn’t tell me I needed to buy more. I say “child” – he was 23 this week but while he’s raiding the fridge he’ll always be a child to me.

I should be grateful to him, because it was a rather fine combination, even though it was born from lack of choice. It is one I’m eager to repeat and a search is now on for an appropriate relish to go with it. TESCO Finest Chilli Relish is my current favourite and seems to work well with everything I’ve tried it with. I may look for something slightly more traditional, maybe something with pears or figs.

The customary food blog photograph of Stilton and croissants is, you may notice, missing. As usual with my attempts at food blogging my appetite suppressed my photographic urges and the resulting plate of croissant crumbs didn’t really do the subject justice.

Greedy, lazy, tight. If Brillat-Savarin is right I really need to alter my diet.

Anyone for truffle sandwiches on sourdough?