Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Baked Goats Cheese with Red Onion, Cranberry and Red Wine Jam

I’m pleased to say this is all my own creation. I’d previously had goats cheese baked but the rest is mine, all mine.

If there any Jam Nazis out there who are at the point of commenting “that’s not a jam blah blah” then don’t, I didn’t know what else to call it, ok!

Right, so a lot of people don’t much like goats cheese and those that do would prefer it in small quantities. Who the hell would want a whole or half a cheese to themselves?

The secret you see is the baking. When cold, goats cheese can be very strong and almost feta like. However when you bake it, the texture changes to something silky and warm, that taste morphs into a creamy delightfully tasty, cheesy hit.

Couple this with the sweetness of the jam which takes on almost perfumed aroma of the wine and the erm cranberryness of the cranberries (help I’m running out of superlatives). Cheese and sweet fruitiness? A winner surely.

The Salad and dressing balance out the other two and the hazelnut topping brings the crunchy texture into the mix

Word of warning, make sure your cheese is cooked properly, it’s perfectly safe but if it’s not runny all the way through you’ll get that very strong goats cheese taste that people fear.

Usually this is a starter or light lunch

Goats Cheese
100g wheel of goats cheese per two people
Handful of hazelnuts crushed

One red onion, finely sliced
One handful of cranberries
3 Tbsp of soft light brown sugar
Good glug of red wine
1 Tbsp Olive oil

Handful of salad leaves each
1tbsp balsamic Vinegar
4tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180o

To make the jam, fry the onion in the oil until soft. Add the cranberries wine and sugar, stir over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved, taste, add more sugar if required plus salt and pepper.

Cut the goats cheese in half horizontally, place each half, skin side down on a greased baking tray, cover the top in chopped/crushed hazelnuts. Place in the centre of the oven for 10-15 mins until all of the cheese is soft and runny inside the skin. Test this by placing a sharp knife into the centre of the cheese, if the tip comes out hot then its done

Place the salad leaves in a bowl, put the oil, vinegar, mustard in  jar with a lid and shake until mixed. Alternatively whisk together in a separate bowl, add salt and pepper to taste

Dress the salad leaves in the bowl, put enough on each plate, add the cheese and a dollop of Jam.

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