26th October 2011
Leftover Cheese Risotto
Furry Boots

My Mum's visit left me with a fridge full of leftover cheese, some of it barely edible, that needed using up. So I invited Flora over for a cheesy dinner.
She brought her new footwear to show me.
Furry Boots?
On Flora's legs!

Apart from my staple Wyke Farm award-winning cheddar from Asda their most cheese-flavoured cheese, I couldn't resist some of Dobbies (not the house Elf - the one owned by fucking Tesco) 70% off specials on Old Amsterdam a fine mature Gouda Blacksticks Blue, Shropshire Blue and a rather nice Cave Aged Gruyère (I wonder if they have to take it to a special cave, or if cave is corporate Swiss for shed?)

Then Mum and I even added to the collection with a couple of smoked cheeses from our usual visit to Edinburgh's Farmers Market. You know, I keep buying stuff from the Farmers' Market - and I keep being enormously disappointed. This time was no exception. I bought some red onions that were half rotted, and some East Pier Smokehouse cheeses.
Well they might have been cheeses. They were cheese shaped anyway.
The Smokehouse advertises that it smokes the best Scottish produce and makes it better! which seems a terrible slur on Scottish produce. Our packages claim their contents to have once been Morangie Brie (from Ruraidh Stone at Highland Fine Cheeses) and a St. Andrews Anster.
Imagine if you took some smoke, and furiously pumped it into cheese-shaped moulds until it became solid. You'd have something like these cheeses. More or less inedible - they could just as well have been smoked foam rubber - but you can use them as flavouring if you like.
Smoke flavouring. If you don't happen to have any actual smoke.
Flora says it's time I checked out Stockbridge's new Farmers' market!

Edinburgh's Farmers Market notable exceptions, of course, are coffees from the Police Box Coffee Bars (which morphed suspiciously seamlessly from the now liquidated California Coffee Company ) and hog roast rolls from Oink.

It just goes to show that Farmers' Markets are all very well - but you can't beat the real thing: local shops regularly buying local products from local producers. You know, the kind of thing our high streets were full off before that fucking Tesco* arrived.

* [Insert favourite fucking supermarket here]

Leftover Cheese Risotto
I made this using cheese I needed to get rid of, but you might actually plan it with a more suitable collection. The smoked brie really worked very well, I'd have that again (and to be honest I wouldn't use it for much of anything else), but the blue cheese was somewhat overwhelming. I'd use less of it if I was making this again.

I served it with Culross Palace's finest leftover beetroots and horseradish cream. I also had some leftover spinach leaves which I stir-fried and served as a side-dish sprinkled with, yes, more leftover smoked cheese.
But I could have blanched them (or some spring greens) and stirred them through the risotto at the end.
These leaves were the diametric opposite of baby spinach leaves - and much more like kale. Quite an eye-opener actually. I've been shopping at fucking Tesco* for so long I've forgetting what real vegetables look like!

Serves 4

Foam the butter and sweat the onion until it turns glassy, sweat the garlic briefly, then add the risotto rice and fry until the grains are well coated and begin to swell. Add the white wine. Reduce.
I had some thyme to add at this stage.
Now over a low heat add the hot stock a ladleful at a time and stir until it has been absorbed.
The rice will be ready when it has turned tender and creamy, around 20 - 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the cheeses.
Serve sprinkled with parsley, parmesan or pine nuts (if you have any of them).
You know, it's simple, it got rid of some leftover cheese, and it doesn't taste half bad either.
Crispy fried beadcrumbs (use lots of butter) with garlic and herbs make a good topping too.

Baked Beetroots with Horseradish Cream
starter salad veg
Serve warm or cold.

Serves 4

Horseradish Cream
Peel the horseradish and grate it into a bowl. Use the horrible rough side on your block grater - the one that always catches on things and has nasty strands hanging off it.
Moisten with some lemon juice, or white wine vinegar if you fancy (which also helps stop the root discolouring).
Mix with the cream.
Season - it will need some salt.
Leave overnight if you can to allow time for the flavour to infuse. But it won't kill your guests if you make it while the beets cook.
This keeps in the fridge for a surprisingly long time - I've been eating a batch for a month now and it's still hasn't killed me. Though I did make mine with a splash of lemon juice, which perhaps helps it to keep?

Pre-heat the oven to Gas mark 4.
On a sheet of tin foil, lay the washed beets, knobs of butter, vinegar and your selection of herbs.
Fold up the foil loosely into a nice pouch and bake for about an hour until the beets feel tender.
Remove from the oven, and when the beets are cool enough to handle, rub them out of their peel, halve any bigger ones and serve with the horseradish cream.
The horseradish goes rather nicely with the risotto too. Bonus!

Comments (0)

No comments yet!

Post a comment (Optional)
  • Allowed markup: <a> <i> <b> <em> <u> <s> <strong> <code> <pre> <p>
  • All other tags will be stripped, unless they are in a <pre> (use this for blocks of code)