Read My Cheese

The British artist Stanley Spencer once said rather ruefully that he wished ‘people would read my pictures.’ A book holds the reader in its own atmosphere, he argued, and ‘this same absorption is possible in pictures.’

This may take a little leap of faith and it’s altogether a more mundane, possibly even banal example. But I would like you to read my cheese. Cheese is one of the oldest foods in the world, dating back to before the Roman Empire. This dome of creamy deliciousness holds everything within it that is good about food and cooking. And I’ve just made it for the first time. So thrilled was I when it emerged from the fridge that I needed to invent a new word for thrilled. Fromagicated seemed about right.

Ancient alchemists who tried to turn base metals into gold were crazy. I can’t understand why they weren’t satisfied turning yoghurt alchemically into cheese. If I were to read my priceless cheese I would say that it is majestic, simple, exquisite, nourishing, satisfying, clever, ancient, unassuming, atmospheric, exotic, comical and historic. And the great thing about reading cheese is that you can eat it afterwards.

Fresh Cream Cheese

500g authentic Greek yoghurt

Three quarters teaspoon fine sea salt

Stir the salt into the yoghurt, then turn the mixture into a small sieve lined with muslin. Allow the yoghurt to drip into a bowl in the fridge overnight and the next morning you will have the most exquisite, creamy cheese as if by magic. That’s it. And this is what I did with it next…..

Home-Made Cheese, Ham and Peach Bruschetta

Toast slices of firm, chewy white bread. Spread thickly with cream cheese, lay a slice of Italian dry-cured, smoked ham on top, followed by thin slices of ripe peach and a handful of rocket leaves. I’ve just bought blackberry vinegar online from Womersley and once I’d reduced it a little in a pan, I spooned it over the bruschetta. The saltiness of the cheese and ham, combined with the sweet, fruity peaches and vinegar were sensational. The cheese would also work well with my black garlic and beetroot bruschetta.

If you make this and then read your cheese, let me know what it says.

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22 thoughts on “Read My Cheese

  1. Fromagification – a great neologism to go with your ultra-simple transformation of yoghurt into cheese. Is this how the rather insipid low-calory diet cheeses are made? As yours is delicious I assume not. Your bruschetta seems an ideal use for it.

  2. Hi Jakey I imagine that you can make this with low-fat yoghurt, but I wouldn't want to try it. It seems to miss the point really. It's fromagic just as it is.

  3. Seriously? It's THAT easy to make cream cheese? ~picks lower jaw up from floor~ Well, it just has to be done!

    Love the bruschetta you created. 🙂

  4. You make it sound so easy! Friends have long been pushing me to make my own cheese but I think your description of the magic has me convinced! I have super cheese-loving husband and son (Frenchmen!) and cheese is a part of every meal. I must try this. Finally! Your bruschetta look fabulous!

  5. HI Jamie
    It really is that easy – isn't it ridiculous? I hope your son and husband like it. I ate it for supper last night as well as breakfast and lunch today!
    Charlie x

  6. You can also make cream cheese by warming a couple of pints of milk to about blood heat, adding a sprinkle of salt and the juice of a lemon then straining that in the same way. You can use the watery liquid if you make bread if you want a total no-waste outcome. Homemade bread and cheese. Not quite as easy as your version, but not far off! I was thrilled when I discovered it.

  7. Hi Anwen I understand completely why you were so thrilled – and with the extra flourish of the home-made bread too. It sounds unbeatable.
    Charlie

  8. Hi Cornflower
    I am so, so pleased – thank you for letting me know. Isn't it satisfying and rewarding?
    Charlie

  9. And just to add, Karen…. I love the photograph of the bread and cheese. I've been trying to savour the moment this week and I reckon that home-made cheese works very well as 'a moment'

  10. Thanks so much for leaving a comment Miss Holly. It's always great to hear people's views. I promise you that it really is fun. Let me know how it goes.
    Charlie

  11. Fromagification – I like it! Am totalyl besotted with the bruschetta idea and will be making it this summer. Thank you!

  12. I have been visiting Eggs on the Roof for about two years. It’s charm and beauty are always an uplift and an appetiser on a dull day.

    • Hello Jane
      I can’t tell you what a treat it was to hear from you. Thank you so much for your lovely comment. In fact I can’t do better than to use your words – it was an uplift and an appetiser on a dull day and was just what I needed!

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