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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21 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 thought you’d appre­ci­ate fro­ma­gi­fic­a­tion Jeanne.… I hope you enjoy the bruschetta!

  13. 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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