Science has finally admitted: dairy is good for us, especially cheese. I always knew that! There is no sugar in cheese (good), it is fermented (better) and completely natural (the best). It might not be derived from plants (that would be topper) but all in all it has the potential to prevent heart disease.
It has been whispered for years and years that Frenchmen, especially from the south-west of France, had low incidence of cardiovascular disease, on average. Considering they eat mainly duck fat and cheese (washed down copiously with Jurançon or Bordeaux) which goes completely against the nutritionary recommendations, they represented so called ‘French Paradox’.
Until now – a study following Swedish adults for 16 years has found correlation between high consumption of dairy fats and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
That said, the scientists of course flank themselves with various caveats: the focus group who were at lower end of the risk might also be the kind of guys who work out, don’t smoke and are generally sensible health-wise.
Plus they waggled a finger at those naughty Frenchmen saying “Other fats like those found in seafood, nuts, and non-tropical vegetable oils can have greater health benefits than dairy fats.” So it’s yeah but, no but, yeah but, no but, yeah.
I am still pleased because it’s a sock in the eye of the various deprivists (Gluten is the root of all health evil! Animal dairy is positively deadly for human digestion! No red meat, none, ever! Vegans only will inherit the world!).
Let’s see how cheesy we can get this week then, and I promise I won’t encourage anyone to eat a whole wheel of Cheddar in one sitting. But plants and cheese – is there a better way of providing the right nutrients?
Halloumi and vegetable skewers are great not only for BBQ – they can easily be cooked in the oven grill. A similar version of the same combo is feta with roasted vegetables. Greek cheeses are so versatile! Check out also chicken with feta and fried corn.
A little cheese in the pastry plus more for the filling makes a lovely tomato crostata. And the mushroom and fondue filo pie is slightly more elaborate (it figures, an Ottolenghi recipe!) but completely worth doing.
There is cauliflower parmigiana with mozzarella and Parmesan providing the protein element in this otherwise vegetarian dish, and there’s camembert en croute which is nearest to the ‘whole wheel of cheese’ I promised not to recommend (but it really is one small Camembert wheel shared between two).
Try the cheesy spicy lentil bake this week, my favourite lentil dish. Or maybe you could make chicken rarebit, my take on cheesy chicken? That’s pretty great too.
For a weekend brunch have a cheese and mushroom omelette. And the next time you bake bread, go for Cheddar and beer rolls.
Cheese for dessert? But of course. My lemon ricotta cake is the type of continental baked cheesecake I love the best. And the hazelnut and ricotta torte is the cheesecake for people not too keen on cheesecake (the fools!).
I hope you find something cheesy and delicious to cook this week – and take care until the next!