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The experts’ guide to a great British cheeseboard

Le 6 décembre 2016, 04:49 dans Humeurs 0

You have to have a cheeseboard at Christmas. It’s the law, along with turkey, sherry and sprouts, even if you don’t like them. But no one expects you to put much effort into it; days before Santa’s due, many of us reach for a supermarket selection. “Stilton?” we say, squinting at the packaging. “Check. Cheddar? Check. Something grey that might be brie? That’ll do.”

It doesn’t have to be this way. Across Britain, small producers are making cheeses that change from day to day and season to season, using milk that’s still warm from the udder. At Barwheys Dairy near the Firth of Clyde, Tricia Bey works wonders with just 35 pedigree Ayrshire cattle, plus a furry “pest control officer” called Tiger; at Fen Farm in Suffolk, herb-heavy pastures feed Jonny Crickmore’s 160 Montbéliardes, which he handpicked on a tour of the French Alps.

Some artisan cheesemakers are farmers who have been encouraged to branch out by the collapse in milk prices; others are foodies eager to be part of a British cuisine revival. Their quirky and fragrant creations are more widely available than ever, either from their own online shops or via specialist retailers such as Neal’s Yard Dairy.

“I like the idea of Burt’s Cheese,” says Adam Robery, who supplies London restaurants with everything from British cheddar to Italian blues. “Claire Burt is a small independent cheesemaker in Cheshire who makes half a dozen types of cheeses, such as the semi-soft Burt’s Blue and Drunken Burt, whose rind is washed in cider. They are all handmade so they change slightly from batch to batch. But they’re all made with skill and love.”

These cheeses are more expensive than Cathedral City, but infinitely more interesting. “Britain has a better selection of cheeses than the French now,” says Mark Hartstone, whose Dorset restaurant La Fosse is renowned for its cheeseboard. “Many of them beat the French in blind tastings.”

All of which means that, with a little work, you can build a British cheeseboard to tempt anyone. And it really is only a little. “I’d rather have three or four really nice, big pieces of cheese than nine or 10 little bits that will just dry out,” says restaurateur-turned-cheesemonger Rhuaridh Buchanan. Robery’s perfect number is five or six. Even Emmanuel Landré, who picks cheeses for the two Michelin-starred Le Gavroche, wouldn’t dream of replicating its 50-strong selection at home. “I’d go for four or five,” he says.

Within those three, four, five or six, however, you want to mix it up as much as possible. As Robery puts it, “you want a hard, a soft, a blue and a washed-rind. Ideally, there’ll be something made with cow’s cheese, something with sheep’s, and something with goat’s. That’s how you make a balanced cheeseboard.”

So let’s get balancing.

How to buy luxury items without a luxury budget

Le 29 novembre 2016, 08:09 dans Humeurs 0

Having really great but equally really expensive taste is both a blessing and a curse, especially at this time of year. Is there a way to appease a high-end palette on a budget this holiday season? 

While designer logos brandished over clothes and bags can be tasteless for those with a penchant for upscale ephemerae, when executed well, there is a certain thrill that comes with high-end products. 

Luckily, fashion brands are rethinking their overarching strategies in an effort to keep with the times and gain new customers. The solution? A tiered approach to selling that means we can all afford a little bit of luxury.

The market term for this is “entry level product” – in other words, a cost-conscious way to buy into a designer brand. Higher-end add-ons like key chains, wallets and cross-body bags all contribute to the sales of small leather goods and accessories peaking around Christmas. It’s open season alright and when it comes to bijou buys, the more micro and adorable, the better. 

Before now, beauty has been the primary means for luxury labels to meet the superfluous needs of the masses but for fashion-conscious customers, a bottle of the same old scent or a lippie just isn’t going to cut the mustard.

Instead, items that are justifiable and practical serve to establish a life-long relationship between luxury brands and consumers. They’re by no means cheap but they’re things we will use every day and more importantly, they’re within our reach – more so than a full size designer bag anyway.

What to eat to get clearer skin

Le 10 novembre 2016, 04:31 dans Lifestyle 0

Winter is a great excuse to ramp up your skincare as blustery winds and central heating play havoc with your complexion but it turns out that watching what you eat can actually work better than any lotion or potion.

Known for her wealth of knowledge on all things health and beauty Liz Earle has revealed how you can eat your way to clearer, healthy skin this festive period.

“A radiantly healthy-looking face depends on feeding it the right fuel,” the beauty expert told Vogue. So what exactly should we be eating? Here, Earle tackles five major skin concerns with foods long-heralded for their skin clearing properties.

Fine lines 

Central heating can really dry out your skin which can exaggerate the feeblest of wrinkles. “Plump up lines with plenty of skin-friendly fats found in plant oils such as olive, rapeseed and flax,” Earle suggests. “Try adding a spoonful to juices or smoothies, or drizzle neat over soups.” 

Oily T-zone

As well as reducing your sugar intake, Earle recommends a diet high in alkaline-forming foods. “Foods such as asparagus, celery and endive together with hedgerow berries, fresh grapefruit, lemons and limes can help keep the area across the forehead, down the nose and over the chin calm and clear.”

Fine lines 

Central heating can really dry out your skin which can exaggerate the feeblest of wrinkles. “Plump up lines with plenty of skin-friendly fats found in plant oils such as olive, rapeseed and flax,” Earle suggests. “Try adding a spoonful to juices or smoothies, or drizzle neat over soups.” 

Oily T-zone

As well as reducing your sugar intake, Earle recommends a diet high in alkaline-forming foods. “Foods such as asparagus, celery and endive together with hedgerow berries, fresh grapefruit, lemons and limes can help keep the area across the forehead, down the nose and over the chin calm and clear.”

Puffiness

Skin can often feel swollen and puffy as a result of fluid retention, so diuretic foods like fennel, celery, cucumber and chicory are a great edible solution. Earle says, “My favourite lunchtime dish is smoked mackerel with a poppy seed fennel and white radish salad.”

Rough, flaky skin

Flaky skin is a great signifier that your diet needs more Omega-3 which can be boosted by upping your intake of oily fish like Herring, Mackerel, Pilchard, Sardine, Salmon and Tuna. If you don’t eat fish though, Earle says that “Flaxseed and rapeseed oils are a useful substitute as they contain a similar essential fatty acid profile.”

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