On the Hampshire/Berkshire border is an artisan cheesemaker called Two Hoots which makes two award-winners. The family-run business is in Barkham which one of the cheeses is named after. The other is Rosethorn Blue.
The latter is made from Friesian cows’ milk and has a lovely creamy texture. The cheese I use the most is the Barkham Blue, made in a 1kg ammonite round and covered in a natural mould-ripened rustic rind.
When you cut through that rind you will see a deep yellow moist cheese with dark blue veins. It has a smooth, rich blue taste with the texture of butter which melts in the mouth. It’s easy to see why it has won so many awards and I often have this on our cheeseboard. It is also fantastic to cook with. It’s lovely crumbled over slices of ripe pear with salad and makes a heavenly blue cheese tart that I use for a starter and serve with an apple and walnut.
If you have difficulty finding Barkham you could try to get hold of the creamy Isle of Wight Blue in good cheese shops.
1x22cm shortcrust tart case
150g Barkham Blue cheese
1 onion finely chopped
180ml double cream
Salt and pepper
Knob of butter
1. Cook the onion in the butter over a low heat for three minutes without colouring.
2. Spread the onion on the bottom of the tart case.
3. Slice and crumble the cheese and place on top of the onion.
4. Whisk together the eggs, yolk and cream and add a little salt and pepper.
5. Pour this mixture over the cheese and onion.
6. Bake in a pre-heated oven 160c/gas 3 for 20 minutes until it is golden brown and set. It may require a few more minutes as ovens differ.
7. Serve warm with a little salad.
Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377914.