Lockdown Week 3, 2020
So Long, but Thanks For All The Cheese!
Where's Covid Wally?

So long in lockdown, that is!

If you were wondering - I'm actually locked down onboard my (tiny) yacht in the (award-winning!) Royal Quays marina. So no noticeable change in my life from any the of the last three years then.
Well, except that I'm not getting any sailing done.
I'm not sure it's strictly forbidden, but I can't help feeling all those police launches now magically crawling the Tyne would have something uncomplementary to say about it.

Wildes Cheese Package. An Excellent Port.
Astonishing, isn't it - that in a post-industrial, technologically advanced modern Western democracy our best response to an epidemic of bad colds is identical to that of a 12th century peasant: Let's all hide from the plague in our caves.
Thanks government big brains - what a cunning plan!

On the plus side, the marina has kindly re-opened their bathrooms allowing me and the 1½ other live-aboard residents to once again access a toilet. And a bath.

Anyhoo, some of my more cosmopolitan friends have taken pity on my constrained circumstance (have you seen North Shields?) and shipped me a gift box of assorted fine cheeses. Artisanal cheeses from Wildes - Tottenham's urban cheese maker! (thanks Chris, Cathy and Maya)
Apparently artisanal cheese production is one of our country's essential services and so protected from the lockdown. Hoora!

Now, I don't wish to appear ungrateful (sorry, Chris, Cathy and Maya) but the box arrived somewhat the worse for wear. Or time. It seems the cheesy content had been sitting around somewhere too warm for too long and all gone a bit soggy and mouldy. A bit.
I don't know where the blame lies - the parcel delivery mechanism here at the marina isn't the best at the moment and I know the box was sitting in their heated office for a day, possibly two. And then there's the Royal Mail. Plenty of blame to go around there.

Fortunately all the cheeses were still edible (inasmuch as I did eat them), some of them were most delicious, and the accompanying port was excellent :)

A camembert-like semi-soft cheese, good depth of flavour, nutty and sweet, the texture though is a bit too close to chewing gum for me - not quite runny enough.

High Cross:
A crumbly lightly-pressed brined curd cheese most resembling a Caerphilly with a sharp tangy flavour. Very tasty - I'd buy that by the pound.

St Bruce:
A curiously underwhelming green moulded cheese with a rather rubbery texture. It does melt well though.
Oddly enough the Wildes Cheese website makes no mention of the green mould, and their photo shows a notably mould-free porous yellow cheese with a beer-washed rind. So now I'm slightly concerned. I don't seem to have suffered any ill effects so far though.
Cough! Cough!

A slightly crumbly hard cheese with a creamy texture, mild flavour and light tangy finish. Quite edible.

London Blue:
Which came in the form of a Baby Blue, (and doesn't appear to be actually blue).
A delicious little roundel and my favourite of the bunch. It's soft and gooey with bags of taste and body and manages to succesfully masquerade as a blue cheese. It also makes an excellent cheese sauce, say with mushrooms, bacon, garlic and cream.

Now please enjoy a couple of ludicrously complex recipes I slaved over developing for the consumption of your emergency cheese rations...
And what better compliment to such a sophisticated menu than that ration-card classic: the Jelly Fluffy?

Scrambled Eggs with High Cross
or Caerphilly
breakfast veg
Scramble your eggs. Add Cheese. Serve.

OK not really, badly scrambled eggs are an abomination (right Aidan?) so you should learn to make them properly.
And here goes...

Serves 1: ½ person per egg

Crumble your Wildes' High Cross cheese (or Caerphilly).
Break your eggs into a bowl, fish out the bits of shell, and loosely stir. Season with salt.
Pro Tip:
I read somewhere that it was better, from the point of avoiding eggshell shrapnel, to crack eggs on a flat surface rather than a sharp edge - like a knife or the rim of your pan. It does seem to work out for the most part, but also tends to dribble egg white over your flat surface of choice.
You pays your money...
Melt a generous lump of butter in a pan over medium to low heat.
Pour in the egg and allow to sit until it begins to set at the bottom.
Turn cautiously with a silicon spatula to avoid breaking up the curds.
Continue doing this until the egg coheres and thickens but is still on the loose side (it will continue cooking to perfection after you remove the pan from the heat).
Stir through crème fraîche if using - adding cream or mayonnaise at the end does help to stop the eggs overcooking though and most of the cheese.
Serve on toast with the remaining cheese scattered on top.
And maybe some chopped chives, if you have some. I didn't.

London Blue Pasta Sauce
main pasta meat sauce
This works great with those packets of dirt cheap (£1.50 per kg) cooking bacon offcuts you find at the back of the fridge in your Local Fucking Supermarket™
Ideal for when you're locked down and living on Universal Credit.

If some kind soul has sent you an emergency Wildes cheese pack, you can use your London Blue to make this, in which case you'll need to remove the furry rind first.
Other cheeses are also available.

I didn't measure my ingredients, so this is just a guess - your mileage may vary :)

Serves 4

Chop the bacon into about ½" chunks.
Chop the mushrooms into about ½" pieces.
Slice the garlic.
Finely chop the tomatoes.
Peel the London Blue cheese and break up into chunks.

Heat a generous puddle of olive oil in a deep frying pan.
Fry the bacon until it finally boils off all that injected water, curing salts and (probably) weird anti-biotics and begins to brown.
Turn down the heat. Add the garlic and colour without burning.
Add the chopped mushrooms and fry until they lose a little moisture.
Add finely chopped tomatoes and stir briefly until they begin to soften.
Add cream and bring to a simmer.
Stir through the cheese until it melts.
Serve over pasta. It's a thin sauce, so something with a bit of surface to it - farfalle say.
Garnish with a grinding of black pepper and chopped parsley.
OK, I forgot my parsley. It would probably have been nice.

Jelly Fluff
You know, I'd completely forgotten about making this fluffy jelly stuff with Mum as a kid until my friend Flora thanks for the photo Flora! asked me for a recipe to use up an old tin of evaporated milk she'd found in the back of a cupboard. I discovered I'd never written the recipe up, so here it is!
The strangely artifical tang of the mousse, and the way the whipped bubbles gradually separate from the firmer jelly layer in the bowl below really take me back!

I suppose this was one of those recipes invented in the post-war years of my Mum's childhood to cover for their lack of access to real milk or cream.
I don't remember what Mum called it, but it seems to be most often referred to as Carnation Milk Jelly, Jelly Fluff or Jelly Whip.
Mum always used a red jelly (strawberry or raspberry I guess) and Carnation brand evaporated milk, but I'm sure it's just as good with other brands.
Maybe even real cream?

For best whipped volume make sure to thoroughly chill the tin of evaporated milk in the fridge beforehand.

Serves up a Massive Bowl.

Melt the jelly with half the amount of boiling water recommended on the packet about a ½ pint, allow to cool to room temperature.

Using an electric whisk or a vigorous hand whisk, whip the evaporated milk until it has tripled in size. While continuing to whisk gradually add the jelly. Whisk for a further 30 seconds then pour into a large bowl or individual serving glasses.
Put in the fridge to set.
Hmmmmm, you can almost taste the food shortages!

Comments (2)

Newest first Oldest first

  1. Glad you both liked it Flora! It's quite artificial-tasting, so just the kind of thing I imagine the Japanese would like ;)

    #2 – 29 May, 2020 at 2:15 am

  2. Flora's avatar Flora

    We made this [Fluffy] for our Japanese guest Shoko. She adored it and showered it with many compliments. I also very much enjoyed it and I look forward to making it with my nephew when he is old enough to talk and cook!

    #1 – 26 April, 2020 at 1:36 pm

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