Saturday, 14 September 2013

Northumberland Coquetdale and National Cheese Week

It’s the British National Cheese Week!

Bryony and I absolutely love cheese. Most of our posts here at This is Uni Food feature cheese. You could tell how dangerous our addiction was when we shared a fridge and there was a 3 for 2 deal on cheese at Tesco. You could not move for cheese. We’d probably buy six blocks each, at least half of which were goats cheeses. I mastered the art of eating a whole block of goats cheese, with Ryvita, in one sitting. I'm pretty sure Bryony can match me on that. Needless to say, we genuinely really quite like cheese.

I don’t really have a favourite cheese (unless you count ALL of the cheeses) but I like to try random varieties when I can. So when I was up in County Durham with my family this week, I naturally wanted to try some (relatively) local cheese.

At the Wolsingham Show
We went to the Wolsingham Agricultural Show (which is apparently the oldest agricultural show in the country, fancy that) and amidst all the sheep, oversized vegetables and the monster trucks (why would there NOT be monster trucks? They were pulling other cars apart in tugs of war, it was awesome.) I found a rather lovely cheese called Northumberland Coquetdale. It has a lovely strong flavour but not too overpowering and it’s now one of my favourites. Although when it comes to cheese, I’m easy to please...

Baked stuffed mushrooms with Yorkshire puddings, roast potatoes, red wine and onion gravy and some roasted veg
I decided I would incorporate my Coquetdale into my Sunday roast, so I made cheesy baked stuffed mushrooms, which taste much cheesier than they look. You can add breadcrumbs to the stuffing and sprinkle some over the top for a crunchier version, but I couldn’t be bothered to make breadcrumbs, so yknow… 

Here’s what you need for four:

4 large flat mushrooms
3 small mushrooms
2 tsp red pesto
1 (or 2 if you’re feeling antisocial) cloves of garlic, chopped or crushed.
Handful of basil leaves, chopped
Handful of rocket leaves, chopped.
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
A really large handful of grated Coquetdale. Or you could use Parmesan or another similar cheese.

1.Preheat your oven to 200C.

2.  Carefully cut the stems out of the large mushrooms, and place the cap of the mushroom gill side up in a small roasting tin. Do you like my fancy mushroom terms? I googled them. 

3. Take the mushroom stems and chop them up into very small cubes. Cut your (whole) small mushrooms into similarly sized pieces and combine in a bowl with the pesto, basil, rocket, garlic, some of your Coquetdale/Parmesan and a small splash of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Divide your mushroom-pesto mixture equally and spoon into the caps of your flat mushrooms. If you’re feeling fancy, you can place a slice of mushroom on the top for decoration. Sprinkle the rest of your cheese on top, and drizzle them all with olive oil.

5. Bake your mushrooms in the oven for around half an hour, take them out and serve - I ate mine as part of a roast dinner, but you could easily serve with toast for a simple lunch or supper.

A gratuitous photo of the beautiful valley we were staying in. From our cottage door looking towards Wolsingham.

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