Just add cheese!

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One of our family Christmas traditions is the trip to Neals Yard in Borough Market to buy our selection of cheese .

It started many years ago, going to the Covent Garden branch, queueing outside in all weathers to buy some Stilton and maybe a couple of other cheeses. In recent years, we have switched to Borough Market because a change in job meant a different location. My husband used to make the selection on his own but nowadays it’s a family outing, often with workmates and friends tagging along.

We always buy half a Stilton which is eaten over the following month. There are a couple of family favourites which have to made with the stilton – a broccoli and stilton soup and pear and stilton bake, which my grandfather first made for us more than 35 years ago. It is worth tasting the individual Stiltons as if they are too ripe before Christmas, they won’t last until the end of January.

Other favourite cheeses include Cotherstone, Sparkenhoe Leicester, Applebys Cheshire, Hawes Wensleydale, Montgomerys Cheddar, Lincolnshire Poacher and Keens Cheddar. Soft cheeses like Innes Log are also excellent but we tend to favour the hard cheeses as they last longer.

To accompany the cheese, try a Spiced Damson Chutney flavoured with allspice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon, and some Damson Cheese – which is like a thick fruit jelly and goes really well with all the hard cheeses mentioned. Homemade oatcakes with thyme complete this selection. All can be ordered ready for Christmas – these three items would cost £8.50.

 

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Thyme oatcakes

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You might ask whether it’s worth the effort making your own oatcakes but I have been converted and it seems so have my family. These are made with fresh thyme leaves and are a great addition to a cheeseboard. They can also be made wheat free. They make a delicious quick lunch when served with a good cheddar from Neals Yard and my damson cheese.

Savoury muffins

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Today I though I’d make some savoury muffins – these are good to have in the freezer to add to packed lunches for school. They would also be great with salad for my lunch at home or on the move. These were made with sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese but I will be trying other combinations over the coming weeks using olives, goats cheese, raisins, nuts and seeds.