Sunday, 12 February 2012

Chilly, Chilly Winter Days...

February has been a very chilly month indeed here in South Wales...

On the plus side, there has been some lovely views from the garden with the trees all crispy and frosted overlooking the cold frozen snowy Welsh valley below.

In the garden, the plants have had a generous coating of cold snow, yet they still keep flowering...

Retreating indoors, I have resorted to baking bread yet again.

 There is something very soothing indeed in making your own bread...

For quickness today, I have done another smoked Welsh soda bread-on the table and ready to eat in just under an hour...

Accompanied again with my good old chutney-please see previous posts for the recipe.  I would very heartedly recommend this to pop then under the grill for a very warming brunch/supper in this chilly, chilly, early new year.

And the cheese...

For this I used the wonderful Lincolnshire Poacher...

This is a lovely British cheese artisan unpasteurised cheese, similar to a cheddar but having subtle, slightly nutty tones.

Like all true artisan cheeses, it can vary in flavour throughout the year depending on whether the milk was from cows grazing on summer meadow grass or winter silage and, of course, how long the cheese has been matured.

Last time I had Poacher, it was mild, with an intriguing slightly sweet alpine taste, but this recently bought wedge has a more complex, slightly caramelised nutty quality to it.
And this is what I love and appreciate about true artisan cheese.

Many shop-bought cheese is pasteurised and factory made to make sure it is completely uniform in taste but is so then lacking in overall character.

 I want to know where my cheese comes from... I want to meet the cheese makers, talk to them-even see the cows if I am in the vicinity! 

Anyway off my soap-box now and back to the lovely Lincolnshire Poacher.

It came with its rind still on-always a good sign as I feel as this imparts so much flavour. It does need to come out of the fridge for an hour at least, to release its complex flavours as the cold just kills the subtly of the overall taste. 

It worked extremely well with my Balsamic Pumpkin Chutney. No need for butter on the bread, just slather some of the chutney on first-again let it come up to room temperature if it is from a jar in the fridge-then place on top some generous chunks of Poacher. Sit back and sink your teeth into a good bite...

I would also recommend a glass of good cider or fresh apple juice to accompany the experience...

 Just writing about it makes me feel hungry for some more once again!

The makers of Lincolnshire Poacher have a very interesting website 

If you do visit it be sure to click on the links to hear the old song which inspired their name and see the video of their cows enjoying their ‘happy cow brushes’!!

Please, please, give your local cheeses and cheese makers a chance to shine in your cooking.

Enjoy these frosty mornings but as you savour these wonderful snowy and chilly icy views, just remember Spring is hopefully just around the corner...hopefully...

And enjoy those early spring flowers so full of promise...



  1. Super photographs and a really interesting post. A big thank you for promoting good old Lincolnshire Poacher cheese. I'll definitely be giving your chutney a go. Home made bread and chutney, with a really good cheese - food fit for the gods!

    1. Hi Elaine,

      Thank you again for being so kind to leave a comment. You must be lucky enough to get some Poacher directly from the source so to speak being so local-you lucky people!

      The chutney is lovely-although I do say so tucking into the second jar. Each time I make it, it is never quite the same. This year’s batch is very ‘syrupy’ and unctuous...yum, yum, yum...

  2. My local cheese is Tunworth. Have you come across that one? It's a little like Camembert: soft and gooey on the inside when ripe. It's good for baking (and then dipping bread in).
    I think that British cheeses are on a par with French ones these days. We have come a long way in the last generation in terms of food.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thank you as always for being so kind to give a supportive comment. It does mean so much to get feedback and not to feel nobody is reading my posts...

      I would absolutely be delighted to taste your Tunworth after having read about it on your Blog.

      But not for want of trying...

      I have ordered it four times now from Waitrose. Unfortunately every time I’ve ordered it, it has not been in stock including in my delivery last Friday.

      It seems it is truly an exclusive and elusive cheese!!

      One day will arrive and I will be at last able to sample it’s delights...

      You are absolutely right, we do have some absolutely fantastic British cheeses and I’ll try to mention my favourites and promote them this coming year...

    2. If you want, I'll just pop down the road and get you one. I won't be long...

    3. It’s a deal!!

      Seriously though, I am coming down to Eastleigh near Southampton in about three weeks time. Can you recommend somewhere where I could purchase some? I’ll be driving down from South Wales-not too sure of the exact route yet but could stop off and then finally be able to taste your local cheese!

  3. I wouldn't mind a piece of that... looks very delicious. Here in India we don't get a lot of varieties of cheese. So I can only imagine how good it tastes - thanks for describing the flavor of the cheese.

    1. Hi Sri,

      Thank you so much for your kind comment. I do love cheese and hope to feature and describe all my favourite cheeses in the coming year...

  4. I am so happy to see your pink heath (or is it heather?) blooming in the snow. I have a pink and a white. The white appears to be hardier than the pink. Both are still blooming in February in New York.
    Your bread is making me hungry and I just had lunch.

    1. Hi Norma,

      It is indeed Pink Heather shining above the snow. Both my Pink and White Heather have very courageously battled to grow and flower despite the snow...
      If you do make the bread, you will enjoy it...

  5. I've never made a pumpkin chutney - perhaps I my parents will have a bountiful crop (mine were a failure) and then I can try your recipe. Incidently I thought it was just us Aussies who used balsamic vinegar for everything it would seem that some parts of Wales do as well.....

    1. Hi Liz,

      Do have a go at the chutney if you get some pumpkin but try to leave the chutney once made, for a couple of months to fully mature.

      I just love balsamic vinegar-didn’t know it was an Aussie thing too!! I’ll keep an eye on your blog now for Balsamic inspired recipes...

    2. I'm sure I read somewhere that more Balsamic is exported to Australia than is sold in Italy. One of my sure fire everyone will eat it recipes is chicken cooked in balsamic. Really nice and the kids thinks its wonderful.

    3. Well I’ve learned something new!! I’m afraid though, I will have to pass on the delights of the chicken cooked in balsamic as I don’t eat if it was a nice piece of tuna...

  6. I love your flowers in the snow and everything looks so yummy. I looked up your bread recipe but am afraid I have never seen any smoked flours here. We are pretty limited to what happens to uniform and in a package in the store. No nice cheeses here either :(

    1. Hi Becky,

      Perhaps you could have a go at smoking your own in your new smoker? If it is possible you might then start a new trend in the States!!

      When I lived in the USA I did miss all my favourite cheeses though I made up for it when I then lived in France for three years...


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