I love cheese, and I’ve very much enjoyed the resurgence that British cheeses have had recently. We have some excellent home grown cheesemakers that are making it easier and easier to find fantastic cheese on our doorstep.
The Cheese Market, an online artisan cheese shop, contacted me recently to ask me to review their cheese, which I was delighted to do, especially having seen the selection their website!
I decided to go for a vegetarian selection – including the Wyfe of Bath, a hard cheese similar to gouda or parmesan, but without the rennet. Because the Mr is vegetarian we have to be careful about which cheeses we buy, making sure they have vegetarian rennet in them. Parmesan is one of those things that he misses, and most vegetarian alternatives tend to lack flavour.
What arrived was a box containing a large chunk of Wyfe of Bath, a heart shaped Godminster Organic Brie and a glittery wax covered vintage Lancashire – which reminded me very much of a Lush bath bomb.
Of all the cheeses the Vintage Lancashire was my absolute favourite. It has such a strong but creamy flavour and is nothing like the plasticky Lancashire cheeses I’ve had before. The brie was mild and creamy, and had a good amount of squidge after ripening at room temperature. The Wyfe of Bath is just as strong as Parmesan – we had it on pasta too and it worked just as well.
With such good quality cheese I decided not to mess with them, and make some simple crackers to enjoy as a cheeseboard. These fennel crackers made with wholemeal are deliciously savoury, nutty from the flour and with a little something different from the fennel.They are really easy to whip up and keep for ages in an airtight container.
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 150g plain flour
- 50g wholemeal flour
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds
- 200ml warm water
- Preheat the oven to 180c / gas mark 4, grease 3 large baking trays with oil (you can also cook these in batches if you've not enough trays).
- Rub the oil in to the flour
- Stir in the salt and fennel seeds
- Slowly add the water in whilst stirring with a fork, as it starts to become a dough knead lightly with your hands until it comes together.
- Rest for 10 minutes at room temperature.
- Roll out as thinly as you can, around 1mm, and then slice into squares or use a pastry cutter in your chosen shape.
- Lay on on the baking tray, they can be close together as they don't spread.
- Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until they are lightly browned.
- Cool and store in an airtight container. I find these crackers are best served the next day when they have more crunch and snap.
The Cheese Market provided me with a cheese hamper for review.