If you had to give up chocolate or cheese, which would you choose? It’s a question my friends and I spend an inordinate amount of time asking each other. If you didn’t know me very well, you’d probably say that I could never give up chocolate. Chocolate is, after all, my favourite English word. Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate. It’s sexy and indulgent sounding and I eat a little (or a lot) every single day.
Despite this, I’d give it up in a heartbeat for cheese. Chocolate is fairly one dimensional when you like it as plain as I do, but imagine a life without mascarpone for my ravioli or tiramisu. No mozzarella for my pizza. No toasties from Maltby Street. And what about the lost love from my French family – who already think I’m a little more than queer. Life would not be worth living.
Lucky for me, my friends know me very well. It was my birthday last week and among the many fine presents I received was a marble rolling pin from John Lewis, and two hunks of cheese and a jar of chutney from Pistachio & Pickle. And what do you get when you add all these things together? Why, it’s a desire to make your own crackers, of course.
Rye, Wholemeal and Mixed Seeds Crackers
50g mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, linseed, sesame and poppy seeds)
100g wholemeal flour
100g rye flour
1 tspn honey
½ tspn salt
1 large egg
Pre-heat your oven to 130C and line two baking trays with grease proof paper.
Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Beat the egg separately in 120ml of water and add to the dry ingredients.
Mix ingredients together with your hands until you get a sticky dough.
Flour your bench top, turn out your dough and roll it as thin as you can.
Using a cookie cutter (or an upturned glass or bowl) cut out your crackers. Naturally, the number of crackers you’ll get depends on the size of your cutter. I used a 5cm fluted metal cutter and got around 30 crackers. They’re on the small side, but I like the cheese, rather than the crackers, to do all the talking.
Pop your trays in the oven for 30 minutes. Then turn over your crackers and put them in for another 30 minutes, swapping oven shelves.
Remove from oven and place your crackers on a wire rack to cool.
Serve with your favourite cheese.
Oxford Isis – a stinky full-fat cows’ milk cheese with a honey mead wash. It’s soft and delectable and reminds me a lot of munster – the cheese that hails from the same area as my French family, which they refer to as ça sent le haut de votre cuisse (it smells like the top of your thighs – oh la la).
White Lake soft goats’ cheese from Somerset. This is the best goats cheese I’ve had in al long time – sweet and creamy and without that icky smells-like-wet-goat side effect.
The Rolling Pin
This guy is not cheap, but if you do a lot of baking, this marble rolling pin from John Lewis is a kitchen essential.
© Kate McAuley