Cheese Recipes

Cheese is one of humanity's oldest foodstuffs whose origins predates recorded history, but accompanies the development of agriculture. In essence, cheese is a food made from milk (cow, buffalo, goat, sheep, camel, mare) by the process of coagulation. During this process the milk solids (curds) are separated from the liquid portion of the milk (the whey). The easiest means of doing this is by acidifying the milk, either by the addition of vinegar or lemon juice, or by the use of a bacterial culture that produces lactic acid by the breakdown of milk sugars.

For a hard cheese the curds are stabilized by the addition of the enzyme rennet (or a vegetarian substitute) and then the curds can be shaped into blocks before storing and maturing. Cheese has long been used as a storage food to guard against starvation and as a travel staple.

However, the use and acceptance of cheese is not universal. Indeed cheese is rarely found in East Asia and is often quite rare in Africa (both populations where lactose intolerance is relatively common).

That said, cheese is an incredibly important and useful foodsource and the two recipes below show the amazing variety of dishes that cheese can be used for.

Orange Chesecake

Ingredients:
165g digestive biscuits (or graham crackers)
10g butter, melted
250g Cottage cheese
250g Mascarpone cheese
2 large eggs
200ml crème fraîche
2 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp orange juice
grated zest of 2 clementines
115g caster sugar
segments from 3 clementines

Method:
Crush the biscuits (best done in a bag and by bashing with a rolling pin) and mix in a bowl with the melted butter. Press the mixture into the base of a springform cake tin then place in an oven pre-heated to 200°C and bake for about 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Meanwhile, reduce the oven to 150°C.

Cream together the cottage cheese and Mascarpone then beat in the sugar and eggs. Stir-in the flour, crème fraîche orange juice and orange zest and beat the mixture until smooth. Pour over the cake base and place in the centre of your prepared oven.

After 60 minutes turn the oven down to 100°C and continue baking for 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and allow to cool naturally (this will help minimize cracking). When cold take out of the tin, top with the clementine segments (arrange these in concentric circles, beginning from the centre of the cake).

Welsh Rarebit

Ingredients:

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Worcesterchire sauce
1/2 tsp black pepper
60ml porter beer
200g Cheddar cheese
sliced bread

Method:
Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the flour. Cook this mixture for about two minutes, ensuring that the flour doesn't burn. Add the mustard, Worcestershire sauce and the beer. Cook for about four minutes then begin adding the grated cheese little by little, ensuring that it does not burn on the bottom of the pan. Whilst the cheese is melting slice your bread and toast on one side under the grill. When the cheese has all melted turn the part-toasted bread over and add the cheese mixture on top of the uncooked side of the bread. Place back under the grill until the cheese has coloured a golden brown.

Admittedly, these recipes have only scratched the surface of what's possible with the amazing range and variety of cheeses available, but I hope you have seen some inkling of just how versatile various cheeses can be.

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About The Author, Gwydion
Dyfed Lloyd Evans runs the Celtnet Recipes website where you can find hundreds of Cheese and Cheese-related recipes all free for everyone to enjoy. There you can also find many more recipes for Welsh foods.