Sunday, 24 June 2012

A Life without Cheese

Can you imagine that? A life without cheese.
Actor Kirk Douglas once said: “I could never live without dogs.” Or even better what the German actor Heinz Rühmann had to say: “Of course you could live without a dog, but it’s not worth it.” It went somehow like that (of course only in German). Well, that is a good one (I like dogs, too). I would apply it to cheese as well. 
A life without cheese would be like Pride and Prejudice without Mr Darcy. 

Right, there is the case of lactose intolerance, which limits the subject of cheese, but still there are lactose free cheeses.
Now, let things work a bit in your mind …

… did you let the thoughts flow properly on that subject?

So, just to start it off with an easy one. What would a pizza be without cheese?

OK, I have a good friend, he doesn’t like cheese. He does without, but for me it doesn’t make sense.
Of course, I love cheese!
Going on! Having a nice dish of pasta, what do you do to top it up before eating: grate some Parmesan cheese over it.

You can forget about cheese cakes, if you don’t have cheese.
How often do you find Cheddar or Stilton in Cornish Pasty? I love it.
What about Roquefort cheese in a salad?
Can you do tzatziki without any kind of cheese? I couldn’t manage.
Being in France and having no cheese – that would be ridiculous. A cheese course is absolutely necessary. I personally appreciate also an evening with a bottle of red wine, nice cheese and a baguette – lovely.
You for sure would be able to add many more dishes to the list, where you wouldn’t want to go without cheese.
Something “Say cheese” is used by photographers who want their subject to smile – you see, cheese makes you smile.
Would Wallace and Gromit work without cheese?
If there was no cheese, something would be missing also from the French movie Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis – Maroilles seems to be a nice cheese.
Back to food and the preparation of it. Just the other day I made cheese and fennel muffins with Jarlsberg cheese. 

The recipe I got from the book Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking … Scandilicious from Signe Johansen (maybe I will write a bit more about it at another time).
They were so delicious and … obviously wouldn’t work without cheese either … Fennel and Something Muffins (hm, whatever that something would be).
Indeed, it would be a very grim outlook, not to have cheese.
Cheddar, Wensleydale, Red Leicester, Gouda, Edam, Leerdam, Gorgonzola, Provolone, Havarti, Greyezer, Scamorza, Haloumi, Fourme d’Ambert, St. Nectaire, Manchego, Roquefort, Parmesan, St. Aigur, Feta, Mozzarella, sheep cheese, goat cheese, curd cheese, cream cheese, Jarlsberg, Brunost, camembert, Brie, Emmenthal, Comte, Ricotta, Cantal, Allgäuer, Bergkäse … and we could go on and on and on (there could be around 5000 different cheeses – for sure I can’t list them all here).

Somewhere around in that city (Paris, if you don’t notice from the picture), there is a shop that sells 300 different kinds of cheese.
When I was visiting Cheddar with some friends, we had the chance to go for some cheese testing. Oh … that was great … if you have the chance, don’t miss that opportunity.

It happens to be the case, that I still have some sheep cheese left in the fridge …
Already a few days ago I used some of it to stuff some red peppers, which I roasted in a griddle pan.

But here now comes the deal:

Pastry bags with sheep cheese filling or as you may say in Turkey: Peynirli Börek

For the filling:
250 g sheep cheese
1 egg
Chopped parsley
Some chopped chili (if you like – I added it just for safety reason)

For the dough (yes, you’re right I’m a person, who likes recipes with dough):
500 g flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1 egg
200 ml milk with a splash of lemon
200 g butter
100 ml lukewarm water

Mix the ingredients for the filling and put to the side.
Let’s do the dough!
Sift the flour together with the baking powder to a bowl. Make a hole in the middle of the flour and add the egg, milk, butter, and water. Give it a pinch of salt and then … go for it! Yes, don’t be shy (only make sure you have some extra flour ready in case it gets too sticky). Work the ingredients until you get a homogeneous (simply wanted to use the word – you could say “doughy” as well) dough.
Now you can start pre-heating your oven to … let’s say 170°C (of course you have cleaned your hands for this) and have a floured baking tray ready.
Separate the dough into egg size pieces (have an extra egg ready for reference). I ended up with about, no, exactly 16.
Flatten these egg sized pieces (No, I didn’t say you should form them, so that they look like eggs, did I.). Have a tablespoon of the cheese filling in the middle of each and fold them together and seal them tightly. If you have any leftover filling or dough, you did something wrong (or your spoon had the wrong size – be ready to blame someone else, but not me).
Once ready, having placed all “böreks” on the baking tray, you could brush them with egg wash (using the reference egg) and sprinkle with sesame seeds. I didn’t bother with the egg wash, though, this time, but it should give a nice colour to it (brown in this case, although you might use white eggs).
Have them in your oven for 30 minutes or until they look right (that is before they smell wrong).
If you have done everything right, you can enjoy them afterwards with a nice salad (that is where I went wrong – I didn’t have a salad – forgot it).

That’s it then (Did you check the picture, whether I really had 16?) ! I don’t want a life without cheese.
What about you? What is your favourite cheese? Let us know!


  1. Well, yes indeed, life without cheese would be very difficult for us as my husband works for a company that makes Scottish cheddar! I love most cheese although sheepy and goaty ones I am less keen on, some of them are okay but others are just too much of an ammonia tang to them for my taste. My favourite cheese is Cambazola a lovely brie like blue cheese mmmmmmm!

    1. Does this mean then, your husband gets free cheese from work?
      Cambozola - it's a bit like Roquefort or Gorgonzola, but not so strong, although you can get a milder version of Gorgonzola as well.

  2. I have a friend who doesn't eat cheese and I just don't get it... I could live on cheese and bread alone... I too loved Cambozola but will just as happily chow down on a strong cheddar or even a plastic cheese slice!... lovely blog!

    1. Thanks Dom! Cheese and bread, yes that would be fine and strong cheddar even better.

  3. I could not live without cheese. When I visit my parent in France I eat a LOT of cheese. My favourite is an over ripe Camembert or the local blue cheese Bleu d'Auvergne which is similar to Roquefort. I can't use cheese in cooking at home though as my partner can't eat cheese as it triggers migraines for him. I do however add cheese to my portions of quiche, homemade pizza, pasta dishes etc.

    1. I have tasted Bleu d'Auvergne as well. It is very nice! That would be a nightmare for me, if cheese would cause trouble for me when I eat it.

  4. Oh so agree, a life without cheese would be terrible. Being vegetarian, I probably eat rather more of it than is good for me. Where would I be without cheese sandwiches for work - my mind boggles.

    Favourite cheese is a bit hard because it all depends on mood, what you're eating, context etc. But Cornish Blue is very hard to beat. In fact Cornwall has some fantastic cheese. St Allens goat's cheddar is pretty good too.

    And would love to tuck into your pastries, they sound delicious.

    1. Thank you! Should have tried this goat's cheddar, when I had the chance, but then again, the tasting of different cheese will never end. I would love to try making my own cheese at home once as well. However, that would not be so easy either.

  5. My husband is allergic to cheese, so I have learned to live without it. I keep parmesan in the freezer I use it so rarely, and take any chance to eat cheese when we go out for meals. Our youngest also had the same intolerance, so although there is some cheese in the house it is still nothing compared to the massive cheese consumption in our house growing up. It's odd but you do get used to it and I find that now I cannot eat too much.

    1. Of, course, in that case I can understand it. Sadly, nowadays, we have to adjust to certain things in life. Since there is such a great variety of food, there are many more options.


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