Cheesepalooza Extra: Cabecou
I’m making cheese at home, you all know that by now. I completed the Cheesepalooza challenge for September but as with last month I decided to do a bit extra. I think in some ways I am more hooked on the cheese making process than the actual eating of the cheese. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE cheese but as I also love my reducing waistline and despite not eating as much cheese as I used to I just cannot stop making it.
For the second cheese this month I opted to do a compare and contrast exercise. At the same time that I made the Chevre I also made the Cabecou. These are two different types of goats cheese, but essentially contain the same ingredients. This is what mystifies me about cheese making. I know I’ve said it before and I know I’ll say it again but the process of turning milk into cheese is like magic.
For the Cabecou I started with the same milk as the Chevre, I added the same starter, but the milk was heated to slightly different temperatures and left to ripen for longer. The curds are transferred into small moulds and left to drain under their own weight until they have shrunk to at least two thirds of the original size. Once the curds have spent a couple of days air drying they are transferred to olive oil. You can also add herbs to the olive oil but I wasn’t convinced it made any difference to the final flavour of the cheese.
The resulting cheese was a silky smooth round of goats cheese that was firm enough to be cut with a knife but could also be crumbled or spread. The Chevre was good, but this elevated the humble goats cheese to the next level.
Beetroot and goats cheese make a great combination, as do goats cheese and truffle. Combine the three together and you are left with a simple salad elevated to Michelin star status. Inspired by a recipe in the Quay cookbook, but adapted to be achievable in the home kitchen, I defy you not to love this spring salad.
6 baby beetroot
20g pinenuts, toasted
100g salad leaves
25ml truffle oil
25ml red wine vinegar
50ml extra virgin olive oil
smoked salt and pepper to taste
Top and tail the beetroot and put in a pan with some boiling water and cook until tender, this will take anything from 20-40 minutes depending on the size of your beetroot. Once cooked, drain the beetroot and allow to cool. Once cool enough to handle don a pair of gloves and carefully peel the beetroot without painting your kitchen red. Quarter the beetroot then halve the pieces again if they are still quite large.
To make the dressing, put the honey, truffle oil, olive oil and red wine vinegar into a small bowl and whisk until combined. Season to taste.
To assemble the salad, put the salad leaves and beetroot in a bowl and drizzle with the salad dressing, you might not need all of it and toss to coat. Crumble over the goats cheese and sprinkle with the pinenuts. To add an extra level of luxury I also sprinkled with smoked salt, but that is optional.