© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

 

© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

August 2009 October 2010

December 2009

Say 'Nuts' to dull cheese

Le Timanoix. £12.50 for 300g, from Paxton and Whitfield

Looking for an interesting addition to the cheeseboard? Pop down to Paxton and Whitfield, where you will find Le Timanoix. This is a monastery cheese from the Périgord region of France. Its style is 'washed-rind', utilising the monastery's own local walnut liqueur. Semi-hard, its lightly creamy interior bears the unmistakable nuances of walnut whilst its crusty rind is savoury to Marmite-like proportions. Intriguing, and delicious. The cheese is a product of Paxton's teaming up with celebrated French cheese affineur Pierre Androuet. The £12.50 is for a whole round.

Try with a dark monastery ale, where the piquancy of the cheese rind marries wonderfully with the beer to accentuate the latter's maltiness. For a more robust combination, try with a dry Amontillado or Oloroso.

Instant haggis

Fair fa' yer honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race.
Aboon them a' ye tak' yer ...

Ping!

Macsween Microwave Haggis Portions (2x65g): found at £1.49 in Waitrose.

Yes, as Homecoming Year dies down and we can get on with Scotland as a contemporary (rather than shortbread-nostalgic) location, the world is now ready for one-minute haggis.

 

And very good it is too: it's simply the inside of a Macsween haggis (always one of the best), shaped into a small-burger-sized disc, and vacuum-packed. It forms part of the classic Full Scottish breakfast (and is so much better done this way than fried, as one finds in most establishments). Serve it after the bells — and with the Bell's, if that's your tipple — to usher in 2010.

But open out the cardboard sleeve, and a whole haggis-world opens up, from pizza to pakora to 'TexMac' nachos, as the company recipe website shows.

It is tempting to write microwaveable haggis off as a gimmick, but it's good, quick and clean, and is ideal for the smaller-scale uses which make it an everyday food, rather than one put on an Ayrshire pedestal once a year. Ah, haggis-burger with a smear of chipotle ketchup: a more successful Central American Scots foray than the ill-fated Darien Scheme.