A Passion for Cheese is another classy book by Paul Gayler. The visual delight is supplied by, once again, Gus Filgate and his camera. The book offers us more than 130 ways to cook with cheese but it also enlightens us about cheese making, choosing and storing cheese and what wine might work best. I guess Paul must know what he is talking about as he is a member of the Guild de Fromages.
There are so many more lovely cheeses now available and this volume helps you choose something a bit different. Traditional Cheddar is a wonderful cheese but there are others that deserve a try.
It’s a large format book with clear and easy to follow recipes. Although there are vegetarian recipes aplenty, A Passion for Cheese isn’t a vegetarian cookbook. There are a surprising number of fish as well as meat dishes that use cheese as a key ingredient. Saffron-grilled Cod Fillet with a mash rich in cheese sounds divine served, as Paul suggests, with some French beans…and perhaps a glass of a chilled white?
There is a basic cheese sauce and some alternatives, and then a selection of cheese butters. These are easy to prepare and will last a good long while in the freezer. It’s a real cheat’s way of elevating a quick grilled steak or fish. Roquefort and Green Peppercorn Butter would be my choice for a steak with green salad. Ricotta, Lemon Thyme and Garlic Butter would be a flavourful finish to some simple roast chicken.
A Passion for Cheese has some simple salads that are made more interesting by the use of some unique cheeses like smoked mozzarella and Lanark Blue. These and other artisan cheeses would be more readily available if we asked our deli to stock them. I would say that you should first taste a cheese that is new to you, in its uncooked state. You’ll then understand why they work in Paul’s recipes but you might also come up with some ideas of your own, either for a new recipe or replacing the regular Cheddar or Danish Blue with a delicious alternative.
There’s a lovely chapter on Pasta, Pizza, Rice and Gnocchi, which includes Pennette al Dolcelatte, creamy and delicious with a hint of nutmeg. The Alternative Cheeseboard tempts us with Liptauer which is a lovely retro spread, as well as The Lanesborough’s own Dried Fig and Fennel Seed Bread.
A Passion for Cheese even manages a comprehensive dessert section. Yes, mascarpone is a cheese and it’s put to good use with Paul’s Dried Fruit and Mascarpone Fool with Saffron and Ginger Syrup. Quark, Prune and White Chocolate Tart sounds lovely with or without the Orange Sauce.
If you like Paul’s other books then you will enjoy this one just as much. His recipes are inspiring and original and will change the way you look at cheese. It’s claimed (probably not by a Frenchman) that the UK now makes more cheeses than France! Let’s take advantage of some fantastic products.
A Passion for Cheese
Author: Paul Gayler
Publisher: Kyle Cathie
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018