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The Ultimate Cheese Board


12th November, 2013
Sophie Cookes & Nicole de Bono
Tuesday 12th November 2013


There is perhaps no easier way to satisfy a large number of guests than by offering up a seriously impressive cheese board.   Of course, the ultimate cheese board always starts with the best quality cheese - Sophie and Nicole recommend French D'affinois (a full wheel looks amazing if you have enough mouths to feed) and a sizeable wedge of creamy Gorgonzola.  To this they've added two of the simplest but most delectable fruit accompaniments.  It's Sophie's style to then just serve it all up as MESSILY as possible... but we kind of reined her in for this shoot and forced her to keep things looking semi-tidy.  If it were up to Sophie all the fruit would be squished into the cheese like a giant cheese / fruit mountain but that wouldn't be the most attractive Tasty Tuesday hero shot now would it? In any case, I tasted this with my own taste buds and I can safely say, pretty or not, that melty D'affinois with the sweet syrupy blood orange slice is a combination to rival my all-time favourite, melon and prosciutto... and that's saying something.  - Lucy

The Ultimate Cheese Board by Sophie Cookes and Nicole de Bono of Cookes Food!  Custom table by Anthony Storen (Sophie’s talented hubby!) at CIP Creative.  Flowers and greenery by Michael Strownix at Where the Grass is Green.  Props from Place Settings. Blue Bentwood dining chairs from Thonet. Photo - Eve Wilson.

Of everything we ever do, people always rave about the cheese boards. While that does often leave us a little bewildered, as we really only slap on the accompaniments, I guess there is an art to selecting cheeses. With cheese, it’s my tip to ensure you buy the best quality cheeses you can find, taste them, talk about them and share them. Cheeses are so diverse and so complex, one person's d’Affinois is another's gorgonzola.

D’Affinois is double brie made from cow’s milk and in my opinion, this is a cheese that really goes down easy! It’s French, and like many French cheeses it has a very slight stink to it that cries for a sweet and sour accompaniment. We like the balance of orange, sweet honey and rosemary. This is a recipe that Skye Gyngell taught me, and she used to serve it on its own in all its glory! Probably to her horror, I have added it to our ultimate  cheese board here...  anyway it’s a combination that’s both surprising and sits close to my heart.

The Ultimate Cheese Board by Cookes Food!  Photo - Eve Wilson.

D’affinois with blood orange pinwheels, rosemary and honey


1 large wheel of d’affinois
3-4 blood oranges
½ cup honey
3 sprigs of rosemary


Bring the cheese up to room temperature for at least two hours. Slice the ends off the blood orange and rest the orange on one end. Go around the orange gently removing the outer rind, making sure to leave no white. It takes practice, use a small knife for precision. Set aside in a large bowl.

Pop the honey and rosemary in a pot and bring to the boil. The second it’s boiling pour it straight over the blood orange. When you’re ready to serve just let the blood orange tumble all over the whole cheese, or if that’s too messy for you pop it in a bowl alongside.

Blood orange pinwheels with rosemary and honey by Cookes Food.  Photo - Eve Wilson.

Roasted quinces with gorgonzola and toasted walnuts


1 kilo gorgonzola
4 quinces rubbed with a tea towel and cut into long eighths. Don’t remove the center or skin as it improves the flavour of the sauce
¼ cup honey
2 cup white wine
6 bay leaves

Pre heat the oven to 120° celcius. Line a baking tray with baking paper and neatly lay the quince within. Pour in the white wine, add the bay leaves and pour the honey over the top. Cover with a layer of baking paper and then a layer of foil.

Place in the oven, turn the oven up to 150°celcius and cook for two hours. Remove the foil and the baking paper and cook for a further hour or until the quinces are glowing amber and the sauce is syrupy! Allow to cool or serve warm with room temperature gorgonzola.

Huge thanks to Sophie and Nicole of Cookes Food for sharing  another super simple catering idea with us this week.  Stay tuned next week for another culinary crowd pleaser from this talented duo, and keep your eyes on their website and Facebook page for a squizz at the fabulous events these girls create around town with their brilliant team. They make it look SO DAMN EASY.

Roasted  quinces fresh from the oven by Cookes Food.  Photo - Eve Wilson.

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