Thursday 23 October 2014

Say Cheese

Published 14/12/2012 | 12:49

Creamy Cheese and Onion Soup.
Crumbly Lancashire, Red Onion and Pepper Tart.

After munching on mince pies, chowing down on turkey and overdosed on chocolates, there's always room for one more festive indulgence - cheese.

From the catchy tunes on the radio to the dairy delights on the dinner table, cheese has a special place in our hearts at Christmas.





If cheese boards are not your thing, try one of these budget-friendly festive cheesy recipes...

CREAMY CHEESE AND ONION SOUP

This soup makes a good starter for your Christmas Day dinner.

(Serves 4)

2 large onions, chopped

1 carrot, chopped

900ml vegetable stock

100g low-fat soft cheese

2tbsp chopped fresh chives or parsley

75g Double Gloucester, Red Leicester or Cheddar cheese, finely grated

50g croutons

Freshly ground black pepper

Put the onions, carrot and stock into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20-25 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Blend the soup in a liquidiser or food processor, or use a hand-held stick blender. Add the low-fat soft cheese and half the chives or parsley and blend until smooth. Gradually add most of the grated cheese, stirring until melted. Reheat gently and season to taste.

Ladle the soup into 4 bowls and garnish with the croutons, chives or parsley and remaining grated cheese.

Cook's tip: Cool the soup and store in a covered container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

CRUMBLY LANCASHIRE, RED ONION AND PEPPER TARTS

(Serves 4)

4 individual shortcrust pastry tarts

15g butter

2 red onions, sliced

100g roasted red peppers (from a jar), torn into pieces

8 cherry tomatoes, halved

Few drops balsamic vinegar

100g Lancashire cheese, cut into chunks

Freshly ground black pepper

Fresh thyme sprigs

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/Gas Mark 4.

Arrange the pastry tarts on a baking sheet.

Melt the butter in a non-stick frying pan and gently fry the onions for 8-10 minutes until soft and tender. Add the roasted peppers, cherry tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, stirring gently. Spoon into the tarts and share the chunks of Lancashire cheese between them. Season with black pepper and add a couple of thyme sprigs to each tart.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes until warmed through. Serve with salad.

Cook's tip: As an alternative to Lancashire cheese, try the tarts with Cheshire, Wensleydale or Caerphilly instead.

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