from one generation to the next
Cooking from any Jane Grigson book reaffirms in my mind that tricked up 21st century restaurant food will rapidly fade into insignificance while there will always be a place for home style food that utilises simple pantry staples, a glut of fruit from the garden, an odd leftover or a cheap cut of meat, food that evokes a memory of simpler, leaner times.
Grigson’s published ten books between 1967 and her death in 1990. Her “Fruit Book” and “Vegetable Book” have long been on my cookbook favourites list. I also have on my shelf ” the Best of Jane Grigson” which was compiled after her death to honour her contribution to the post WW2 food revolution. Grigson sought inspiration from historical references to British food, time spent living in France and touring Europe, fresh seasonal ingredients and the desire to eat well on a limited budget.
Leah from Sharing the Food We Love chose Jane Grigson’s “English Food”, first published in 1974 for the first in her cookbook guru series. From it, I elected to make Potted Cheese to use up some cheese platter leftovers, then inspired to make a simple savoury biscuit to serve alongside, I used Grigson’s Cheese and Oat biscuit recipe as a basis for experimentation, a rough guide on which to make a wheat free oat crackers. My wheat free biscuits were a disaster, but an idea worth pursuing on the future.
The recipe for Potted Cheese called for Wensleydale. While it is available in Australia, I decided to take the opportunity to use some ends left over from a platter and supplement any shortfall with the mature cheddar I had to hand. My 250g cheese comprised a who’s who of Australian cheeses. I had roughly 60g Jindi blue, 60g smoked KI cheddar, 90g sharp vintage cheddar from Bega and 40g dried out parmagiano reggiano. I used local cultured butter, Morris Tawny Port and the last of my Victorian walnuts in the shell. Using the food processor, it was a quick to make, and soooo delicious I couldn’t stop tasting the mixture. Grigson suggested forming the potted cheese into logs, truckles or sealing it in a ceramic dish under clarified butter. I opted for one of each.
Jane Grigson’s Potted Cheese
90g butter, softened
250g cheese, roughly crumbled or shredded
2 tablespoons port
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
Cream the butter in the food processor, add the cayenne pepper and cheese and pulse to thoroughly combine.
Spoon the cheese mixture into a ceramic bowl, press down firmly, then seal with butter. Alternatively shape the cheese into 2 logs or 3 truckles. I used a deep round cookie cutter to mould the truckle, then roll in the coarsely chopped walnuts to coat.
Chill until firm. Serve spread on oat biscuits. I recommend Walkers Brand.