A Portrait of British Cheese is a celebration of the excellent cheese produced in the British Isles, featuring many of the cheesemakers we work with. The author Angus D. Birditt features thirty small-scale cheesemakers, showcasing each cheese's heritage, the landscape where it's produced and the knowledge of its producers. His writing is paired with photographs and illustrations that evoke a real sense of place. You can buy A Portrait of British Cheese here.
Roasted Vegetable Quiche with Hafod
This quiche was devoured on a visit to Holden Farm Dairy when my partner Lilly and I were welcomed into the Holden farmhouse to share lunch with Patrick and Becky and their four sons. Baked by Becky, the quiche was served with a mixture of fresh salad leaves, radishes and edible flower petals, all grown on the farm, reflecting how they like to be as self-sufficient as possible.
Over a fruitful discussion about their cheese, the quality of milk, the history of the British landscape and the importance of working in harmony with nature, the quiche was then washed down with plenty of fresh coffee. It was a lunch that, with every delicious mouthful, you could tell was doing you good.
225g wholemeal flour
100g butter, chilled and cut into cubes
pinch of sea salt
3 tbsp cold water
3 red onions, peeled and sliced
1 large courgette, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
leaves from a handful of fresh thyme sprigs
1 tbsp olive oil
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
225g Hafod, grated
200ml double cream
pinch of sea salt
First make the pastry. Place the flour, butter and salt in a food processor, and blend until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. Then add the water and briefly blend until it resembles damp breadcrumbs. For this recipe, there is no need to make a dough: simply tip the pastry mixture into a 25cm-diameter fluted tart tin with a removable base and, with your fingertips, press and flatten it out to cover the base and sides of the tin. Refrigerate the pastry for 30 minutes; this will prevent it from shrinking during cooking.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. In a frying pan on a medium heat, fry the red onions, courgette, garlic and thyme in the olive oil for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until the mixture is soft. Set aside to cool.
In a separate saucepan, quickly cook the spinach until wilted, then squeeze out as much water as possible. Add the cooked spinach to the vegetable mixture.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, grated cheese, double cream and salt. After the 30 minutes is up, take the pastry out of the fridge and cover the base with a circle of baking parchment and a handful of baking beans, then blind bake for 15 minutes in the oven until lightly golden. Once cooked, set aside to cool.
Once the vegetable mixture is cool, tip into the cheese mixture in the bowl and combine. Tip the combined mixture into the cooled pastry case and bake in the oven for 30–40 minutes until the filling is cooked and golden on top. A slice of this quiche is super with a fresh salad, coleslaw or even a baked potato.
A Portrait of British Cheese: A Celebration of Artistry, Regionality and Recipes by Angus D. Birditt (Quadrille, £27) Photography © Angus D. Birditt