August 18, 2022

Zaika

Livingston

The 20 best cheese recipes | Cheese

3 min read

The first thing I ever “cooked”. When Mum let us grate cheddar on to day-old bread. Eyes level with the electric grill. Watching the alchemy, seeing the cheese become molten, stringy. The early magic of making your own tea. I still crave Jeremy Lee’s cheese straws, and now I can bake my own. Chef Tim Siadatan has shared Padella’s perfect pici cacio e pepe, Alex Jackson his brilliant aligot. Simon Hopkinson offers his elegant roquefort salad, Tomos Parry his famous cheesecake. We have Marcella Hazan’s definitive parmesan risotto and Kitty Travers’s ricotta ice-cream. Plus, of course, the ultimate toastie. All the cheese pleasers. From OFM to you.

The spike of mustard and pepper with warm melted cheese on flaky pastry is hugely pleasing.

Cheese straws.
Cheese straws. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Use the best farmhouse cheddar you can find – nothing compares to montgomery cheddar for this.

Toasted cheese sandwich with quince jelly, by Laura Jackson and Lori De Mori. Food styling Henrietta Clancy.
Toasted cheese sandwich with quince jelly.
Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

The seasonal varieties from Spain and Italy are an entirely different affair from the ripe summer fruits we normally think of.

Winter tomatoes with whipped feta, by Anna Jones.
Winter tomatoes with whipped feta. Photograph: Ana Cuba

If you can, source sweet and creamy grenier potatoes for this simple dish.

Baked vacherin with potatoes and cornichons, by Olia Hercules. Food styling: Henrietta Clancy.
Baked vacherin with potatoes and cornichons. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Half wholemeal and half plain flour gives the pastry extra flavour and texture.

Potato, thyme and taleggio galette, by Blanche Vaughan. Food styling: Henrietta Clancy
Potato, thyme and taleggio galette. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Fresh, crisp, salty, sweet and fragrantly oily – this salad is perfect with cool and crumbly roquefort.

Roquefort salad with pears, chicory and walnut oil, by Simon Hopkinson. Food styling: Henrietta Clancy
Roquefort salad with pears, chicory and walnut oil. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Jazz up your mac and cheese with this fresh take – a great way to get your kids to eat more fish.

Smoked haddock, pea and chorizo macaroni cheese, by Kirsty Scobie and Fenella Renwick
Smoked haddock, pea and chorizo macaroni cheese.
Photograph: Clair Irwin

This is an extravagant dish, but channel India and enjoy yourself.

Paneer butter masala, by Meera Sodha. Food styling: Henrietta Clancy
Paneer butter masala. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

This taqueria snack utilises British and Irish cheeses while retaining the creamy texture of the Mexican version.

Queso fundido with rajas and chorizo, by Edson Diaz-Fuentes. Food styling: Henrietta Clancy
Queso fundido with rajas and chorizo. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Pici is a wonderful dense pasta found all over Tuscany and is as frugal as it gets.

Pici cacio e pepe, by Tim Siadatan.
Pici cacio e pepe. Photograph: Elena Heatherwick

This rich dish is smoky with urfa chilli, coriander seeds and nigella.

Bubala’s halloumi with black seed honey, by Helen Graham
Bubala’s halloumi with black seed honey.
Photograph: Haydon Perrior

Serve a fat slice of this with crisp lemony leaves, or on the side of sticky slow-roast lamb.

Three cheese and caramelised leek bread and butter pudding, by Andi Oliver. Food styling: Henrietta Clancy
Three cheese and caramelised leek bread and butter pudding.
Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Tender broad beans brighten up this comforting pastry dish.

Broad bean, feta and spinach pie, by Nigel Slater.
Broad bean, feta and spinach pie. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

Henry Miller helps himself to the entire top of this souffle in the film Henry & June.

Anaïs Nin’s cheese souffle, by Claire Ptak. Food styling: Henrietta Clancy
Anaïs Nin’s cheese souffle. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

No celebration is complete without this Palestinian institution – these are best eaten the day they are drizzled with sugar syrup.

Knafeh nabulseyeh, by Sami Tamimi and Tara Wigley
Knafeh nabulseyeh. Photograph: Jenny Zarins

These are perfect with some fresh tomatoes and olives for breakfast.

Za’atar and halloumi scones, by Reem Kassis. Food styling: Henrietta Clancy
Za’atar and halloumi scones.
Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

Make a special effort to obtain authentic, aged, Italian parmigiano-reggiano from the best supplier you know.

Risotto alla parmigiana, by Marcella Hazan
Risotto alla parmigiana. Photograph: Romas Foord

This uses a cheese called tomme fraîche de Cantal: very young, unsalted, squeaky curds that, when melted, go really stringy.

Aligot, by Alex Jackson
Aligot. Photograph: Matt Russell

This ricotta ice-cream provides a cool background for the rich mixture of bitter chocolate chips, pistachio nuts and luminous candied citrus peel.

Ricotta and canditi ice-cream, by Kitty Travers
Ricotta and canditi ice-cream. Photograph: Grant Cornett

The secret here is the outer crust, which is cooked on a higher heat until heavily toasted, while the inside stays soft.

Burnt cheesecake, by Tomos Parry
Burnt cheesecake.
Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer

The Observer aims to publish recipes for sustainable fish. For ratings in your region, check: UK; Australia; US

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