Hastings on Food Cheese cake

2015-11-04 06:00

SALUTATIONS lovers of cheese. With the fast approaching summer with sweltering days, we can all look forward to carefree afternoons spent with good company, delicious cheeses and refreshing wines.

The process of making cheese dates back at least 6000 years, and is thought to have originated purely by accident when Arabian traders transported milk using pouches made from sheep stomachs. The rennet in the stomachs lining, combined with the heat of the sun, caused the milk to separate into curds and whey, resulting in the whey satisfying one’s thirst and the curds satisfying one’s hunger.

It is also thought that independent cheese making may have begun when persons pressed and salted curdled milk to better preserve it.

Legend also goes that the ancient Greek god, Aristaios, introduced cheese to the ancient Greeks before he introduced wine to them. Whichever one is correct is quite immaterial as wine and cheese have been complimenting each other ever since.

All cheese making involves the separating of the curds and whey, using lemon juice, or rennet, cultures are also used like a mesospheric culture in the production of cheddar cheese which can be made at home and is ready to consume after two months. Longer ageing would result in a sharper cheese.

Blue cheese production uses a culture made from an existing blue cheese and air pores are funnelled into the cheese to encourage mould growth which will make the cheese edible after two months. Basically the process of cheese making is simple but precise with high hygiene practices and temperature controls.

Today there are variations of rennet made from vegetable and plant sources and this is then used in the production of Halaal and kosher cheeses as well as cheeses for vegetarians.

Cheese has also being prevalent throughout the ages and in common folklore whereby it is responsible for nightmares as well as a host of other things. The most popular one being that the moon is made from cheese originating from the moons reflection in a pool of water been mistaken by a simpleton as a wheel of cheese, or the peasant who, while watering his donkey, thought it had eaten the moon when the reflection was obscured by clouds, resulting in him killing the beast to get the moon back.

My mother used to tell us an old Dutch fable of the boy who wanted more cheese, so much so that he was enticed by fairies who came flying out of the sky bringing cheeses, to dance and eat till he became free from the magical ring at daybreak and found himself in a field eating clumps of grass instead of chunks of delicious cheese.

In numerous surveys held since 1900, although children, when asked, were unsure of the moons composition most replied it was made from cheese and a man lived there.

In April 2002 the first annual South African cheese festival was held over three days, whereby some 12 000 people came to give their support for the newest venture on the gourmet scene which boasted a celebrity chef’s kitchen, kiddie’s corner as well as a cheese emporium.

Since its inception this festival has grown from strength to strength and has become a dominant support for the local economy and influences significantly beyond the festival grounds, with 40% of visitors coming from beyond the Western Cape the tourism sector also benefits enormously.

This year some 30 000 people enjoyed a variety of over 400 cheeses at the festival held at Sandringham in Stellenbosch, where the success was predominantly due to the consumers need to experience new and outstanding innovative quality products.

The next South African cheese festival will take place from 30 April until 2 May, 2016, once again at Sandringham Stellenbosch.

I love incorporating fig preserve, grapes, cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, watermelon and rainbow pepper to my cheese boards.

So before you plan your trip to this prestigious festival it is recommended that you acquaint yourself with the following delectable fromages:

•Fairview Blue Rock - a full flavoured blue-veined cheese that pairs well with a noble late harvest or Joostenberg Chenin Blanc.

•Klein River Gruyere - a wonderful lingering complexity of earthy and nutty tastes that pairs well with Vondeling Erica Shiraz.

•Woolworths Duetto - a semi-soft creamy mascarpone that is interlayered with preserved figs and pecan nuts, enjoyed with a glass of Howard Booysen Riesling.

•Ganzvlei cheddar from Knysna - a strong cheddar enjoyed with chili tomato jam and balanced with Doran Pinotage.

•Langbaken Karoo Crumble - a mature hard cheese with a fruity aftertaste, delicious in a cheese sauce, accompaniment for soups or with preserved fruits and nuts with a Petit Chenin from Ken Forrester.

•Van Gaalen Boerenkaas - a two-month-matured good melting Gouda style cheese perfect for sandwiches and pizzas together with a glass of Anura Sangiovese.

•Le Petite France Camembert - a creamy rich handcrafted cheese from KZN, deliciously known as a Banting dessert with ripe figs and nuts paired with Glen Carlou (unwooded) Chardonnay.

•Dalewood Fromage Huguenot - a semi-hard brushed rind cheese with an intense flavour excellent for potato gratin or a celebration cheese board, sipped with Blaauwklippen Zinfandel.

•Simonsberg Mature Gouda - a tangy firm tasty cheese from Stellenbosch for early evening snacking relished with the High Road Classique, a Bordeaux-style red blend.

•Cremalat Fresh Asiago - a slightly spicy creamy cheese great in a Croque Monsieur and paired with Usana Pinot Gris (Croque Monsieur­ a cheese and ham sandwich oozing with béchamel sauce becomes a Croque Madame when a fried egg is added on top).

•Cremalat Gorgonzola - a creamy light blue-veined cheese ideal on crackers with a Nederburg Special Late Harvest.

I have a particular fondness for most cheeses, however, I really enjoy ripened Brie - it pairs very well with a sauvignon blanc, and is named after the region in France where it originated from. It is a rich and creamy cheese that contains a substantial amount of vitamin B2 and B 12. It has 300 calories and 26 grams of fat for every 100 grams of cheese.

Typically it is left out of the fridge for a short time to ripen and should be eaten at room temperature, however, it does ripen gradually in the fridge and should be consumed before the “best before” date.

If it over-ripens it will contain an unpleasant amount of ammonia which is produced by the microorganisms in the cheese itself.

Hundreds.

•1,25 litres cream

•1,25kg smooth Lancet cream cheese. Can also do half and half with mascarpone cheese

•500ml full cream milk

•1 cup lemon juice

•1 teaspoon vanilla essence

•orange zest from one orange

•55 grams sugar

•75 grams gelatine powder

Method

•Whip the cream and sugar together until thick

•Fold in the cream cheese, milk, vanilla, zest, and lemon juice

•Melt gelatine in a bit of hot water­

•Mix through the cake mixture

•Pour into the mould and allow to set

Base

We traditionally use vanilla sponge base here at Wild Coast or you can use a biscuit base

•300 grams tennis biscuits

•200 grams ground almonds

•2 tablespoons sugar

•little salt

•90 grams unsalted butter

Method

•Mix the ingredients together

•Press into a spring base

•Bake in oven 180°C until it begins to brown

•Allow to cool before use.

Topping

•frozen or fresh berries

•30 grams sugar to every 100 grams berries

•40 ml water to every 100ml berries

•Heat on stove, when cooled, but not set, pour over the cake

•Enjoy.

The process of making cheese dates back at least 6000 years, and is thought to have originated purely by accident when Arabian traders
transported milk using pouches made from sheep stomachs

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