Newsletter #26 - September 2004
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Happy Cooking !
Florence Sandeman, Editor
Q. What do you get if you divide the circumference of a pumpkin by its diameter?
A: Pumpkin pi
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It's British Cheese Week 25th September to 3rd October
I'm cheating a little as this is a repeat of the editorial from last year BUT with some additions so it's worth another read through.
Many people pass over British cheese for French or Italian cheese, but with over 400 cheeses being made in Britain today, and with a very long history in cheese-making, THEY SHOULDN’T !
Whilst cheese has been made in Britain for thousands of years, it was during Roman times that the processing techniques were refined. During the 11th Century, much of the cheese- making in Britain was carried out by monks, whose monasteries were thriving following the Norman invasion.
Their experimentation gave us, at the least the foundations of many of the cheeses made today. An excellent example of this is Wensleydale which can be traced back to the twelfth century when it was made by the Cistercian monks at Jervaulx Abbey in Yorkshire.
From the 16th century onwards, cheeses were being known by the name of the region in which they were made and by the early 19th century the British Cheese industry was booming with cheese was being made in farmhouses across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. However, two factors were to have profound affects on British Cheese-making.
The Industrial revolution with its vast railway networks made the transport of fresh milk over great distances possible, making it more profitable for dairymen to sell milk rather than make cheese, resulting in local cheese-making taking a nose-dive
World War II brought rationing to Britain with the weekly allowance per person being only 50g/2oz! And as if that wasn't bad enough, The Ministry of Food stipulated that only one type of cheese could be manufactured - the National Cheese - the final nail in the coffin and by the end of the war only a few varieties were being made.
It wasn’t until the 1970’s that British cheese-making had something of a revival with the happy re-discovery of
old recipes and the development of new cheeses and techniques bringing us to the present day thriving industry.
With so many British cheeses being produced today, it is impossible to talk about all of them here, however, there are a few which any cheese-fearing Editor would dare not to mention individually.
The 'King of English cheeses', Stilton dates back to the 18th Century. Click here to read about its history, uses plus lots of recipes. Featured Recipe
Cheshire cheese is Britain's oldest cheese, dating back to the eleventh century. It was mentioned in the Doomsday Book, and was a firm favourite in Elizabeth I's court. Featured Recipe
Cheddar dates back to the 15th century when it was stored in the Cheddar Gorge caves in Somerset. Featured Recipe
Scottish Lanark Blue has sometimes been described as the British equivalent to Roquefort. It is a relatively new Scottish cheese made from ewes milk and was first produced in 1985. Featured Recipe
Caerphilly cheese was first sold in and around the town of Caerphilly in Wales in about 1830.
Cornish Yarg is made from cow's milk and is based on a 13th century recipe. Alan and Jenny Gray, set to work to produce a cheese which reflected the Cornish Character and eventually produced this cheese which is a cross between cheddar and Caerphilly but with an unusual nettle-leaf coating. The wonderful Cornish sounding name is simply their surname....spelt backwards! Featured Recipe
Wensleydale was first made by French Cistercian monks from the Roquefort region who subsequently settled in Yorkshire. Originally the cheese was made from ewes' milk however, during the 1300s cows' milk began to be used instead slightly changing the character of the cheese to what we know today.Featured Recipe
Gloucester Cheese is believed to have been made for over a thousand years and is also known both as Berkeley cheese. It became popular at the beginning of the 18th century. There are actually 2 Gloucester's - Double and Single - the difference being that Single Gloucester is made mainly with skimmed milk mixed with full cream milk and Double Gloucester is made from full cream milk, making it a fuller, richer cheese. Featured Recipe
Other featured recipes below include :-
And finally, did you know that there is more mozzarella produced in the UK than there is in Italy
and that Britain produces its own Parmesan, Brie, Camembert and Gruyère?
Order your British cheese online at
The Teddington Cheese
What's New This month
Cooking by Country
Click the picture to find out about Burmese culinary culture and history, present day cooking and customs plus lots of recipe
The distinct flavour of Myanmar cuisine has evolved over many years and has come from a mixture of Indian, Thai and Chinese influences. Best described as richer than Chinese but not as spicy as Thai or Indian. The use of spices to flavour rather than mask the natural ingredients makes it an unusual Asian cuisine, although if you don't like fish sauce it may take some time to get used to it.
The Myanmar Speciality Dish MOHINGA
The Myanmar Speciality Ingredient NGAPIU
Ingredient of the month
Click the picture to find out all about Worcestershire Sauce plus lots of recipes
Not only is it British Cheese week during September, it's also British Food Fortnight so I've chosen a very English condiment as this month's Ingredient of the Month....or is it?
Fruit and Vegetables in Season
Aubergine, Beetroot, Blackberries, Cabbage, Capsicum, Cauliflower, Celery, Chilies, Courgettes, Cucumber, Figs, Garlic, Grapes, Green Beans, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Mint, Morello Cherries, Onions, Peppers, Plums, Potatoes, Pumpkin, Runner Beans, Perpetual Spinach, Tomatoes, Turnips, Vegetable Marrow, Walnuts
Recipe of the Month
Baked Tomatoes with Spinach
Here's a simple recipe which can be either served as a starter or accompaniment. It makes use of two vegetables which are in abundance at this time of year and will be particularly useful to those of you who grow your own. The addition of the fresh herbs and cheese makes it a very tasty dish indeed.
Serves 4 35 Minutes
4 large Tomatoes, halved
½ Onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp freshly chopped Parsley
1 tbsp softened Butter
175g/6oz Fresh Spinach
Salt and Black Pepper
1 teasp finely chopped fresh Thyme
2 tbsp Fresh White Breadcrumbs
1 tbsp Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 190C, 375F, Gas Mark 5 and lightly grease a shallow baking dish.
2. Wash the spinach and place in a large saucepan with only the water which is left clinging to the leaves. Cover the pan and cook over a moderate heat for about 3-5 minutes or until the spinach is just wilted, shaking the pan from time to time. Drain well and chop.
3. Place the onion, parsley, butter, cooked spinach, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl and mix well.
4. Place the tomatoes, cut sides up, in the greased dish then spread the spinach mixture evenly over the top.
5. Mix together the thyme, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese, sprinkle over the spinach mixture and bake for about 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve immediately.
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