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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Friday, April 07, 2006

Blue cheese, walnut & marsala spread

Ho hum. Our computer is still broken. The motherboard crashed, which really shouldn't happen after such a short period of time. So it's sitting in a warehouse somewhere, and who knows when we'll be getting in back. Ho hum. So, I'm attempting to vaguely keep in touch with the world from my desk at work after hours. Ho hum.
I'm building up quite a collection of things to post about, not the least being my birthday celebrations last week, which involved a fantastic lunch and many presents with culinary themes. I hope to show you soon.

It's lucky that a few weeks ago I posted some photos and saved them as draft posts. It's all I've got, but it is something! What I found today is another canape topping for bits of crostini or cripsbread or crackers or whatever. It's the other canape I made for my friend party; the first being the egg and black truffle salsa, and is a slight variation on the gorgonzola and marsala canape topping from Nigella's How To Eat. I love the combination of blue cheese and sweet wine, so this idea grabbed me, plus it looked very quick and easy to whip up. Nigella recommends gorgonzola, but I was stingy and bought a wedge of that cheap foil-wrapped blue cheese you get in the dairy cabinet up near the Philly Cheese and Mini Baby Bells. I think it's from Denmark, and it costs about $2. I love my good-quality blue cheese, but I actually think this stuff works really well in this recipe. It's got a really strong salty kick that the marsala modifies nicely. Incidentally, I always thought marsala was kind of expensive so avoided buying a bottle for the house. I was a bit surprised to notice that all the different brands of marsala in the bottle shop were under $10!!! Hopefully not an indication of quality....

All you do is chop up your wedge of cheese (Nigella gave quantities and didn't use walnuts but I did everything to my taste and texture), and mash it up some cream and add your flavourings - fresh nutmeg, walnuts & marsala. I then topped it off with a quartered seedless grape. Nigella suggests flat-leaf parsley and notes that the grape option could tend towards cheesy 60s dinner-party tackiness (cheese and pineapple on sticks!). However, I didn't have parsley, and I quite liked the idea of cheesy 60s dinner-party tackiness! Plus the combination of sweet grape and strong blue cheese mixture works perfectly.

This is definitely high on my 'will-make-again' list. The mixture of flavour and texture is highly addictive and I found it very difficult not to scarf the whole lot down before I even made it to my friend's house. Once there, her husband and I found it difficult not to completely fill up on this stuff, and the offcuts of some brownies we were having for dessert. Mmm...blue cheese and chocolate brownies. What a combination.
Read on for the recipe:

Blue cheese, walnut & marsala spread

Wedge of blue cheese ~100-150g (cheap is fine, but it must be strong and salty)
Few tablespoons cream or mascarpone
A good grating of fresh nutmeg
A handful of roughly chopped walnuts
2-4 tablespoons marsala (to taste)
Cracker pepper
Flat leaf parsley or seedless grapes (to serve)

Chop the blue cheese and place in an electric mixer. Roughly mix and add the cream to create a smooth, yet thick consistency. Add the walnuts, nutmeg, marsala & pepper until you reach the taste and consistency you like. Store for at least an hour in the fridge for the flavours to meld. Allow to come to room temperature before spreading onto crostini or crackers. Top with chopped parsley or a quartered grape for true cheesy 60s presentation.
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  • hope those techies get going and give you your machine back - miss hearing about your yummy food!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/07/2006 08:42:00 pm  

  • Sorry about your computer, I feel your pain. I love your adjustments on this dish, it sounds yummy =)
    Check out my new food blog:


    Can't wait to heear about your Birthday!

    By Blogger Dianka, at 4/08/2006 02:00:00 am  

  • It sounds delicious! Darn - I just used up the remains of my marsala, and I vowed not to buy more until after I move. Hm, maybe something else will work as well.. will think :)

    By Blogger Anne, at 4/08/2006 05:22:00 am  

  • Din - I hope they get a move on too. I'm about to have 2 weeks holiday so I need a PC at home desperately!

    Dianka - The adjustments are good, and I plan to make it again this weekend. I'll check out your blog when I get access to my home PC again. I can only just secretly update my own at the moment.

    Anne - I think port would work well. The original idea is blue cheese and port, so it should be fine.

    By Blogger Niki, at 4/13/2006 10:48:00 am  

  • Wow! That looks absolutely incredible - what imagination you have!

    By Blogger Niki, at 4/24/2006 12:00:00 pm  

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