24 October 2017Last updated

Food | Recipes

Cooking with cheese

Italian or Indian, cheese is the hero

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7 Aug 2017 | 10:10 am

Mozzarella doughnuts


Prep time 1 hour 15 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Makes 24

3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
10g instant yeast
60g freshly grated Parmesan
200ml warm water
3 tbsp olive oil
12 sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and sliced
250g mozzarella, cut into 24 blocks
Oil, for deep frying

Mix together flour, salt, pepper, yeast and parmesan. Combine the warm water and olive oil and mix into the dry ingredients to make a dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes on a lightly floured surface. Place in a lightly oiled plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Knock back the dough and divide into 24 balls. Push a piece of tomato and a cube of mozzarella into the centre of each ball, shaping to seal. Place on a greased baking tray and allow to rise for 20 minutes. Heat oil in a deep pan and when a cube of bread browns in seconds, deep-fry the doughnuts in batches of 4, turning until golden brown on both sides. Serve warm with chunky tomato sauce.

Paneer and pea curry


Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 4

250g paneer (Indian cottage cheese; if frozen, let it thaw at room temperature)
3 tbsp oil
1 large onion, chopped
½ tsp cumin seeds
3cm fresh ginger, peeled and grated
2 tomatoes, peeled and grated
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
½ cup water
Chopped coriander, to garnish

Cut cottage cheese into 3cm cubes and set aside. Heat oil in a frying pan and saute onion until soft. Add cumin seeds, ginger, tomatoes, turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala, seasoning with salt. Sauté on low heat. Once the oil has separated, add the peas and water and bring to the boil. Add cottage cheese and simmer until the curry has thickened, adding water if required. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with an Indian bread of your choice.

Cheddar melt with apple rosti


Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 4

Apple rosti:
3 large potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
1 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
Oil, for frying
Cheddar melt:
200ml cider
400g mature cheddar, grated
1 tbsp cake flour
3 tbsp chicken stock

For the rosti, combine the potato, apple and lemon juice in a sieve and squeeze out excess moisture. Add the flour, baking powder and egg. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Heat enough oil in a large pan to shallow-fry the rosti. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture into the oil, flattening lightly, and fry until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towel. For the cheese melt, bring the cider to the boil in a heavy-based pot. Reduce the heat, toss the cheddar and flour together with a fork and gradually add to the pot, stirring constantly to allow the cheese to melt into the cider. When it is creamy and smooth, add the stock and black pepper, to taste. Pour it into a serving pot. Break the rosti into pieces and dip into the cheddar melt.

Ricotta spinach gnocchi with cheese sauce


Prep time 15 mins
Cooking time 15 mins
Serves 4

1kg spinach, blanched
250g ricotta
4 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
2 extra-large egg yolks, lightly beaten
Cake flour, for dusting
4 tbsp butter, melted
For the five-cheese sauce:
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cake flour
600ml milk
200g cheese, grated (try a mix of blue cheese, gruyere, fontina and/or cheddar
50g freshly grated Parmesan

Drain spinach well, squeezing out excess moisture, and chop very finely. Place in a bowl with the ricotta, 2 tbsp Parmesan and egg yolks. Season with salt and black pepper, mix well and shape into gnocchi balls the size of a walnut. Dust lightly with flour. Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Cook the gnocchi a few at a time, removing with a slotted spoon as they rise to the surface. Place on a warm serving dish, pour over the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan. For the sauce, melt the butter in a pan over low heat and stir in the flour. Add milk, stirring continuously until smooth and thickened. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cheeses. Add the Parmesan and pour the sauce over the warm gnocchi. Serve immediately.

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