Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Cheese Stars

I wrote a 4000 word speech at work today. Actually, a few more than 4000 but let's not split hairs. We had the meeting in the morning, and I handed in a draft in the evening. No time to check, to edit, to run it by anyone else or even to do extra research. Just tiptaptyping all day, trying to make an argument, trying to make a structure, trying to make sense. And at the end of the day, there it was. I'm not saying it was good and I'm definitely not saying it was great but it didn't exist in the morning, and it did in the evening. I'm quite sleepy now, to be honest.

So I trust you'll understand if this post is quite word-light and picture-heavy. You won't mind, will you? I bet you've been waiting months for me to say that.

Dinner on Saturday night. Old friends, new house. Bubbly out of posh glasses, clean and tidy house. Cooked old favourites: slow roasted lamb shoulder with carrot and sweet potato mash, peas and the most beautiful purple sprouting broccoli from the farmers market. Not just sprouting, flowering. Have you ever seen broccoli do that? I wanted to put it in a vase, it was so gorgeous. But instead we ate it. 

For pudding, new favourites: salted caramel ice cream and chocolate world peace biscuits.  One guest had five, not that we were counting. Well, why wouldn't you? Yum. Then amazing cheeses from our amazing cheese shop - English soft white stuffed with truffles (all time favourite); nutty comte and an incredible manchego rubbed with olive oil and coated in rosemary. Is it normal to spend more on cheese than meat? I like to think so.

And to start, just crisps, olives - and little cheesy stars. Crisp, moreish, crunch. Easy to make, quick quick quick and a big hit. Do it! Make more. Then nap. Well, that's what I'm going to do now. 

Cheese Stars
From Nigella's How to Eat - I made half of this quantity, but I'd recommend the full batch

- 50g self-raising flour
- good pinch of cayenne
- 25g soft butter
- 80g finely grated red leicester or mature cheddar (my microplane whizzed through this so fast, it was a thing of beauty)
- 20g finely grated parmesan

Preheat the oven to 200C. Mix it all together by hand or in the food processor - it'll be crumbly but keep clumping it together and it'll form a dough. 

Roll out the dough on a clean, floured surface (she doesn't specify a thickness so go with your gut), cut into shapes then arrange on a parchment-lined baking tray or two. Keep reclumping and rerolling until you've used it all up.

Bake for 5-10 minutes, depending on the size and thickness of your shapes, or until golden and crispy.

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