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Arthurian cheese on toast

Since regularly shopping at Waitrose, I’ve noticed a particular cheese that appeals to the Arthurian geek in me. It’s part of the huge artisian cheese selection they have displayed near the check-out queue at the back, and it’s been tempting me for months.

cheese toastie 1/4
‘Vale of Camelot’ cheddar cheese, perfect for any cheese-loving Arthurian geek.

I caved yesterday morning, after a sort-of all-nighter as I did some reading for my Friday lecture. (Is it an all-nighter if you keep falling asleep over the articles?) Bought some bread to go with the cheese too – another indulgence, for I rarely think of incorporating bread in my meals, and don’t often buy it as a result.

cheese toastie 2/4
White Sliced Bloomer bread from Waitrose: ‘A soft light open crumb sour dough bread made by craft bakers.’

I’ve had cheese with/on my toast many times before, but it’s only since arriving in London in 2007 that I’ve discovered the institution that is the cheese toastie. Here’s how I make mine now, whenever I feel like putting in more effort than just plonking a slice of cheese between two slices of bread fresh from the toaster usually requires:

1. Butter two slices of bread generously. I generally use unsalted butter, as that’s what I usually have on hand.

2. Assemble your cheese sandwich. Make sure that the buttered sides are on the outside.

3. Slide the sandwich onto a hot frying pan, flipping it a couple of times as the sides brown. Squish it down with a spatula if you like.

4. It’s done when the cheese in the middle is all melty, and the outsides are as brown as you like them to be. Sometimes, for added decadence, I sprinkle some grated parmesan over it just before serving, and let the parmesan melt into the still-hot bread.

cheese toastie 3/4
A cheese toastie for breakfast on Friday, with a cup of Twinning’s Green Tea with Mango on the side.

Gorgeous stuff, if somewhat – or so I feel, anyway – relatively time-consuming to prepare. Having a proper cheese toastie always makes me feel rather self-indulgent.

If you’re wondering, the cheese on its own was surprisingly mild – I’d probably tag it a 3 (a low-medium) on that nifty cheese-strength scale supermarkets in England appear to use. It’s somewhat more creamy than hard for a cheddar, with a pleasing nuttiness to its taste.

P.S. I’ve recently started trying to take food pictures in ‘landscape’ form, instead of ‘portrait’ as I am usually wont. Just to shake things up a bit, to get myself out of my style/photography rut, the usual. I’m not entirely sure it’s working though. My favourite of the set that morning was a ‘portrait’ shot which I’d taken on whim. So much for shaking things up. *slumps* What do people think?

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I’m not entirely certain why I’m starting this blog, really. Nothing about it makes sense. I’m on a diet. It’s the term before my postgraduate finals. And I’m starting a blog I hope I’ll manage to update regularly. About food.

But!

I’m fond of new beginnings. I’m definitely fond of food, both the cooking and the eating thereof. I could always do with another outlet that’ll prod me into practising my (sad lack of) food photography and styling skills. And there’s, well, something about knowing that I have less than half a year left in London which makes me want to cling all the more harder to every single moment.

Food and other whimsies, I think, is what I’d like to think this blog will be about. Not so much about picnics, solitary or otherwise – though there might be a real picnic or two in the future – but the capturing of a certain joie de vivre. It’s the feeling you get when you’re seated in a pretty place, having a picnic for one, tea and sandwiches you’ve prepared and maybe a piece of chocolate or two for later, and you suddenly think, yes. It’s how it feels to putter around a kitchen you can call your own, cooking a fancy meal for a group of close friends whom you know will enjoy everything you set before them, or better yet, for just yourself to savour in a brief bubble of peace and quiet solitude.

It’s also the way each and every single day I’m in London has been for me, and I’d like to capture all that while I still can.

Omu Rice
Omu-rice for a Thursday morning.

I made omu-rice for breakfast today, having craved it for a couple of days now. That, and I had leftovers in my fridge (the result of a few days of Chinese New Year hosting) which I desperately needed to clear. Usual condiments aside, the rice was also fried with 1/4 an onion, 1/4 an avocado, 4 mushroom stems, and a crabstick. I did say I was clearing out my leftovers. I used two eggs for my omelette – an indulgence.

My usual method for omu-rice is to plonk the rice on the omelette while the latter is still in the pan, wrapping it there and then before sliding the entire package onto a plate. However, I’ve recently grown quite fascinated with the way the omelette was cooked and served in Tampopo, and consequently did my best to emulate it, right down to the pan-tapping thing. Alas, I fear I still don’t quite have the hang of it, for the centre of my omelette wasn’t runny enough for it to spread just so over the rice.

Still, it tasted good, which is all that matters, in the end.