Sunday, 14 July 2013

Old Amsterdam Cheese

I was recently invited to a blogger event where some Old Amsterdam cheese was being sampled.  Now I have Daisy I won't be attending many events, if any at all, so I politely declined my place.  I was pleasantly surprised when I was contacted back and given the offer of some cheese being posted to me so I could still try it - I wish all companies wanting to work with bloggers did this (especially booze ones....)

Old Amsterdam is an aged gouda cheese.  I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't looked at their website though - I thought it tasted more like a mature Edam cheese - maybe just my taste buds though?

I used mine on some crumpets, in with some pasta, on a salad and ate it on it's own.  I think it was most enjoyable in the salad or on it's own though.

It's not a cheese I would have been drawn to, but now I've tried it if I saw it on offer I would definitely get some more.  After looking at the recipes page on the Old Amsterdam website I definitely want to get some more to try doing a few of those!

I was also sent some info on Old Amsterdam's Top Tips for a perfect cheeseboard (let it be known I do not agree with the slate.....serve it on a plate or a wooden board, please!)

Old Amsterdam’s Top Tips For The Perfect Cheese Board 

• The best cheese boards are made up of blue, aged, soft and hard cheeses. 
• Combine different milk types to create variety: cows, goats and sheep. Also 
consider the variation in shape and color between the cheeses. 
• Serve approximately 50 grams of cheese per person. Follow the one-bite rule 
when preparing appetizers and platters for your guests. 
• Choose three to five different types of cheese to give your board some 
• Eat the light cheeses first; Bries and Chevres for example. You can then make 
your way through the spectrum of flavours ending with the hardest cheeses; 
the Old Amsterdam and Gorgonzolas. 
• Serve cheese at room temperature – remember to take it out of the fridge in 
good time before serving it up. 
• Cheese should be served on a board, but why not try a fun alternative. Using 
slate tiles from the hardware store, write the names of the cheese on the tiles 
with chalk. 
• When pairing wine and cheese, it’s important to cleanse your palate. Offer 
some fruit, vegetables or almonds on the cheese board to fully enjoy the 

Pairings on the board 
• Pistachio nuts or almonds to clear the palate 
• Sweet condiments like honey-mustard or a fruit chutney. Use baked goods 
such as fig cake. 
• Seasonal fruits such as red grapes, apples and pears. Or try dried apricots. 
• Water crackers, slices of rustic bread and raisin nut bread. 

Pairings in the glass 
• Local Ales or darker Belgium beers. 
• Red port for dessert. 
• Buttery white wines like a Chardonnay. 
• Bold red wines like a Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel. 

For more information;

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Cheese Place - Boston Spa Cheese

Boston Spa is a small village very near to where I live in Tadcaster.  There's a bustling high street, which is fantastic to see, but it could be busier (although part of me doesn't want it to be busier - I find it hard enough to park as it is!).  When I can I like to use my local shops over the supermarket - I'm lucky to have a great butcher, a farm shop, a bakery and a cheese shop to buy from.

I like cheese, but I don't know much about it - other than I enjoy eating it.  Having a good local cheese shop The Cheese Place is fantastic for me, and having a friendly face running the shop means I can go in and admit to being a bit clueless and it's not too much trouble to get some advice.  

In the last few weeks I've had some Yorkshire Blue, two different goats cheeses and a Buffalo Blue.  This week I think I'm going to be in the market for a hard cheese - I'll be tweeting @bostonspacheese in advance to see what is recommended for me to pick.

There's also a selection of pickles and chutneys to purchase, and a very tempting selection of wine - I was gazing wistfully at a very expensive bottle when I was last in.

I was very exciting to see a tweet about a cheese club starting up soon too - I'd love to go along to that, I find it hard to get over to Leeds on an evening now so haven't been to the Leeds based club Homage2Fromage.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Product Review - Thermapen

I was kindly sent a pink Thermapen to review, so used the excuse to have a steak night this weekend.  I got our steak's from our local butcher and opted for three rib eye and three sirloin.  My preferred cut has always been fillet, but I thought it would be nice to see how I got on with sirloin.

I was cooking steaks to be medium rare, medium and well done.  Using the thermapen made cooking them very easy, but I found it hard not to be clock watching.  I got 5 out of 6 right, the first one I did, the well done one, was more medium.  I should have popped the skewer from the thermapen in the middle of the steak but checked at the side and took it out of the pan too soon.  The other 5 were great though. 

I can see me getting a lot of use from my thermapen, particularly for baking, and definitely on that pesky turkey at Christmas.

I was sent a press release showing how the Thermapen can be used to help with BBQing.

Perfect Steaks Every Time - Even in the Dark
There's now an easy way to cook steak perfectly - even when it's dark!
According to ETI Ltd, the makers of the Thermapen® food thermometer, nearly a third of barbecuers¹ say they want to see a steak sizzling on the grill.

Over one fifth² of us say that we like our steaks done medium-rare; but with all the eye-watering smoke and glowing coals how can you possibly know when your steak is cooked precisely as you like it?

The simple answer is to use the nifty, British designed SuperFast Thermapen. Once you've tried this clever digital food thermometer for barbecuing you'll find you won't want to cook meat without it.

The secret is the Thermapen's fine, stainless steel, foldaway probe that allows you to quickly and simply check how things are cooking without damaging the look of your food.

For a medium-rare steak the near-instant, digital display should show a temperature reading of 65˚C, whilst a steak would be well-done at 80˚C.

The speed, accuracy and user-friendly design of the SuperFast Thermapen means that it's already a kitchen essential for many well-known chefs.

Available in 10 colours, the easy-to-use, water-resistant SuperFast Thermapen looks great and is lightweight. For the serious barbecuer, a useful belt holster makes the ideal companion so your Thermapen will always be to hand.

New this summer is the clever Backlit Thermapen, which has all the features of the SuperFast Thermapen, with the added benefit of an intelligent low-light sensor that will automatically illuminate the digital display when ambient light is low.  Available in red, white or blue it's perfect for evening barbecues!

Each Thermapen comes with a calibration certificate and a two year guarantee.

The SuperFast Thermapen retails at £57.60, the Backlit Thermapen is £67.20 and the protective belt holster is just £6. All are available from

Perfect Beef Steak Temperature Guide:
Check the steak regularly at different points, moving it if "hot-spots" are obviously causing the steak to cook unevenly. As a guide a Thermapen probe should read the following:
Medium Rare - 65ºC
Well Done - 80ºC
Rare - 60ºC
Medium Well Done - 75ºC
Medium - 70ºC
(NB It is recommended that, to ensure all potentially harmful bacteria are killed, all meat is cooked to a temperature of 75ºC or above)