Say cheese!

Covid, is most definitely hanging around for much longer than we or I initially thought it would. By late summer I was hoping we would be looking forward to autumn food festivals, demonstrations, and social events. This unfortunately is not the case.  We are all having to change the way we work, live, socialise and shop. Like many, my business has taken a massive hit and I am having to change and adapt with most of my classes and events not going ahead this year. A total write-off in all honesty.

So, I am implementing changes as required, learning how to use zoom, be it very badly while also concentrating on writing my next Italian cookery book. Searching online for artisan suppliers to use, test recipes and include said stockists in my next book ‘Pasta Fresca’.

Yorkshire Pecorino. I have known Mario Olianas for 7 years now. Mario is a loud amaro drinking passionate Sardinian who moved to Leeds years ago and has now become an award-winning cheese maker amongst other things. His donuts are incredible too! Mario started making cheese from his family kitchen back in September 2012, perfecting his range has led Mario to offer and launch the entire range of Italian cheese to the residential and commercial market using locally sourced British milk. It most certainly is the best of British with the knowledge and passion of Italy thrown in for good measure.

The range includes:    *  Pecorino fresco 30 day mature

* Yorkshire Fiore 8 months mature

* Leeds blue 30 days mature

* Ricotta fresca – Made from sheep’s milk whey


I have been testing recipes for ‘Pasta fresca’ and am immediately transported to faraway places when I tasted, the ricotta. It reminded me of my childhood. Fresh ricotta was always a treat and the taste, one that can never be forgotten. Supermarket ricotta has its place and for a quick fix or essential will do, but there is absolutely no comparison with the real thing. I use ricotta very often and have mentioned that when you use supermarket ricotta, I would always suggest that you pop the ricotta into a sieve (over a bowl) and drain it overnight prior to using it. This is due to how wet it can be. With the Yorkshire ricotta there is no need. The ricotta can be broken up with a fork, combined with spinach and nutmeg, filled into cannelloni, topped with a fresh sauce, and baked. No need to drain because the texture is second to none.

Saturday evening calls for flavour with effortless simplicity. I used the back of a fork to crumble the ricotta. I added a pinch of salt, zest of an unwaxed lemon and a drizzle of borage honey. Eaten with rustic bread, roasted peppers, and speck. An ultimate and worthy treat indeed.

You can order your cheese here