It’s valentine’s day this week and although I’ve never really paid much attention to it, my close birthday takes priority, it’s hard not to get sucked up by the whole nine-yards. When everything turns 50 shades of pink and you’re constantly bombarded by the hope for romance, flowers and chocolates, it’s easy to lose perspective. Why this need to prove our love on one specific day? And why do we have to wait for someone else to organise the perfect evening if we feel like having one? This year, instead of explaining to my peers why I don’t have any plans, I will treat myself to something special and ask my all time crush to be my valentine. Yes, I’m taking about you CHEESE! Don’t blush now, you know how irresistible you are. Even when you are smelly, a bit too hard or frankly have too much attitude, it’s usually to hide one of your soft, mild facets or your rich, creamy heart. You are my ideal companion for a decadent date.
If I’m going to indulge, I want to spend the smallest amount of time in the kitchen. There is nothing relaxing about a pile of dishes waiting for you at the end of your meal. So I’ve opted for the easy baked Camembert. Once warmed up, its oozy centre will be the same consistency of a luscious cheese fondue without putting much effort into it. The simplicity of Jamie Oliver’s Beautiful baked Camembert recipe inspired me. All ingredients require very little preparation ensuring a hassle-free evening. The smooth, nutty cheese is well-balanced by the crunchy and sweet almond/cranberry mix. Don’t be scared to tweak the recipe to your preference though. The cheese versatility makes it the ideal background to many flavor combinations.
To me there is nothing more cheeky than melted cheese, a full-bodied red wine and a girly movie Arthur wouldn’t want to watch with me. And the beauty of it is nobody will be watching, so no one can judge. Now where is my Dirty dancing DVD?
- 1 Camembert
- 1 Garlic clove
- 1 sprig Rosemary
- Olive oil
- Handful Cranberry
- Handful Flaked Almond
- Toasted Bread
- Take the cheese out of the fridge in the morning to bring it to room temperature. It will bake much quicker and evenly that way.
- Place the Camembert in a small baking dish and cut a cross in its rind stopping 2 cm before the edge. Poke a few holes evenly around the cheese and stuff with the peeled and quartered garlic, and a few pinches of the rosemary spring.
- Drizzle the tips with a bit of olive oil, to prevent them from burning, and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the centre is nice and oozy.
- In the meantime, toast the almond flakes in a dry pan and roughly chop some dry cranberries. Mix together and put them in a small bowl.
- When ready to serve, flip the cross’ corners back on themselves to open the cheese up. Enjoy by dipping toasted bread straight into its center before rolling it in the cranberry and almond blend.
- Enjoy with pickles and a nice glass of wine.
- For a more herbal tone, finely chop some rosemary and add to the cranberry mix.
- Other options: How about onion jam spread on top of the Camembert then wrapped in prosciutto or top the cheese with diced pears, pecan and honey before putting it in the oven.
- Haven’t managed to finish the whole cheese for dinner? The sliced cold leftovers will make a great grilled-cheese sandwich for lunch.