Just ran across this essay at Oddity Central about kiviaq, a Greenlandic Inuit dish made from fermenting whole sea birds. For an American, the images and video are pretty tough to take—whole, unplucked birds are left stuffed into the stomach of a seal for up to a year, then skinned and eaten raw. Heady stuff, and don't click through if you think it'll ruin lunch. But I was glad to see the author put the dish in context: in the darkness of a Greenland winter, hunting fresh food is difficult and dangerous. Kiviaq can make the difference between starvation and survival.
I hope that you are all keeping yourselves warm this winter! Yesterday, as I was walking home from university, I had a sudden craving for Gratin Dauphinois. I used to make this dish all the time when I was a child, due to it's simplicity. As a student, half of my diet consists of potatoes. I am well known for eating "mountains of mash" on the side of every meal and so I decided to do something different with some of the potatoes from the 5kg bag that I purchase on every shopping trip!
Fortunately, I had some parmesan in the fridge. I find that this beauty goes with almost everything, especially everything potato.
Always been a fan of espresso on ice cream (Toscanini's sweet cream w/ a shot, please).
But the folks at Kitchn are mixing it up a little: instead of hot 'spresso on cold vanilla, they advocate a shot of Scotch instead, with the liquor's alcohol softening the ice cream instead of the heat of the coffee. Sprinke with a little espresso powder, and you're all set.
Anyone following Martin Gott (@martindongotty) on Twitter will have read that this week they started making St James cheese again and tomorrow, I will be making it again myself. It will be an interesting and challenging day in equal measures balancing the sheeps milk make and the cows milk make. After finishing with sheeps milk in November, I wonder how it will be using it again and how used I will have become to the cows milk texture when it sets. Will I cut the sheeps curd too soon? Will I drain it with enough pressure? The time, therefore, has come to introduce St James properly.
One of the unexpected pleasures of my job is developing ongoing e-mail exchanges with readers. These are usually triggered by questions or concerns, wishing to share stories of cheese-related activities or simply feedback on articles we've put out there.
Some time last year, I received an e-mail from a lovely Italian lady, Paola, now living in the Philadelphia area. Paola was homesick for good Italian ricotta and wrote to ask if we knew of any sources of either domestically produced or imported ricotta that might assuage her craving. She had tried Bellwether Farm's ricotta and loved it, but it was hard to find on the east coast in good condition, so then started buying Calabro hand-dipped ricotta, which sadly she can no longer find.
It's time once again for culture's annual Valentine's day poetry contest. If music be the food of love, then cheese be the poetry of food... or love be cheese of music. Or something.
As always, the rules are simple: sign in and post your poetry in the comment thread below. Use any form you wish—sonnet or limerick or free-verse, and employ any muse, be it a fair lad, lass, monger, or succulent cheese—but your masterpiece must include both l'amour and le fromage. You can check out last year's entries for inspiration and read who won the judge's hearts.
Gawker author Brian Moylan has something to share with you:
I think this is going to be the most controversial thing I have ever published: I hate cheese. I think cheese is disgusting. Every single aspect of it. I hate the way it smells; walking past the pungent cheese section of Whole Foods is like being in a sort of agricultural locker room. I hate the taste of it, harshing on my tastebuds like some foreign infection. I hate the consistency of it, either the mucousy texture of brie or the creamy bite of Cheddar. I hate it all.
He continues on the same vein, with a few choice examples not printable in this, a family publication.
But besides possibly winning a lifetime subscription to the magazine, why don't we give Gawker what they want: clicks.
A fortnight ago the first lambs were born on Holker farm. At the moment it’s the youngest sheep, the first time mothers, that are giving birth and this means a higher degree of problems than the more experienced ladies who should start at the end of next week. It’s a natural part of the cheesemaker and dairy farmer’s year; no young uns, no milk. We tend to consider birth to be an entirely natural part of any animal’s life and especially because we as humans have such ready access to medical advice and support, we forget that it’s a major undertaking. While having lunch up at the farmhouse, I saw Nicola’s notes for the first 2 weeks.
The folks at Coombe Castle are really very romantic—you can tell by their advertising. Now they've done gone and put up some instructions for making your own bouquet of cheese roses, cut from their passionately-tinted port-infused Windsor Red cheese.
Obviously, the striking creamy white and red marbling made Windsor Red stand out for a Valentine's Day spread; however, its firm, smooth but pliable texture was perfect for sculpting romance!
A red rose symbolizes passion, of course, but for more Platonic relationships, a yellow cheese-rose of friendship would certainly be welcome. But be careful when selecting your material: an orange cheddar flower would symbolize passion and desire. For nachos, perhaps?
The culture team is at it again! We're proofing the entire spring issue before it goes to print early next week. Such a hardcore work day requires an epic lunch break, which is happening now, thanks to a local (and wildly talented) chef in Brooklyn - you may know her from her restaurant, Homemade
Here are some pics of what's going on in our design team's office today!