Sunday, 18 September 2011

O is for... Oxford Isis, Ogleshield, Ossau-Iraty-Brebis and Oxford Blue with home-made oatcakes.

O night's cheeseboard was sourced by Richard at the ever wonderful Paxton & Whitfield on Jermyn Street. Oxford Isis was created in 2003 especially for supply to Oxford Colleges and restaurants in the city. It is a soft cows' milk cheese with a rind washed in Oxfordshire honey mead. The cheese was developed to compete against French washed rind soft cheeses such as Epoisses ( one of my all time favourites) and I'm here to report that Oxford Isis utterly delicious and can certainly give its French competitors a run for their money. Next on the board was the deliciously addictive Ogleshield, a firm Jersey cows' milk cheese, also with a washed rind and with a texture similar to Raclette. Ossau-Iraty-Brebis is an unpateurised French ewes' milk cheese. Ossau-Iraty is a nutty semi-hard cheese, robust in flavour with a natural rind. Last up, we had Oxford Blue. A deliciously creamy cows' milk blue, with a tangy finish. I adore blue cheese and this was was no disappointment. In fact, I'd almost certainly choose it over Stilton.

While Richard was busy tasting cheeses for O night in Paxton & Whitfield's, I was attempting to make oatcakes. I'd never made oatcakes before and, foolishly, assumed they'd be pretty easy. I was wrong. Oatcakes are a bugger to make and mine kept falling apart when I tried to cut them. In fact, they didn't stop falling apart after they'd been baked either, possibly due to my overzealous research, which led me to make a hybrid recipe of my own - a pick 'n' mix approach from all those I had read. For some reason, I balked at the idea of making the oatcakes with 100% lard, but I'm quite sure if I had they would have stayed together properly rather than snapping into shards all over everyone's cheese plates. Oh well, they were still delicious regardless, but if you try them at home, steer clear of the sunflower oil and go straight for the lard.  

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