Recipe: cheese toastie with Maroilles

I don’t know if it was because I’d just seen Nigella make a brie, parma ham and fig toastie on her latest TV show or just the fact that I am perpetually in the mood for a cheese toastie, but as it happens two weekends ago, I knew just how I would use the Maroilles cheese a French colleague had given me the same week. In return he got a nice piece of Swedish Herrgård cheese, matured for 18 months. But back to the Maroilles.

When talking to French people, food as a conversation topic is never far away. And that’s how I found out that this Maroilles cheese, from the area of Picardy, is both delicious and probably the smelliest cheese in the world. To me that’s more intriguing than off-putting and I was super excited when I tried it. Similar to Reblochon, it’s a washed rind cheese with a lot of flavour, but it’s much creamier, and dare I say, delicious.

This cheese toastie is utterly simple to make, but very rewarding when you bite into the crisp bread with melted cheese oozing out on the sides.

Maroilles cheese toastie, per toastie

2 slices Poilâne bread

salted butter

2 thick slices of Maroilles cheese

Butter the two Poilane slices on one side. Place the cheese on one of the buttered surfaces and spread them it out so it covers the whole bread slice. Place the other slice of bread on top, buttered side down (i.e. touching the cheese). Press the sandwich together. 

Now, melt a generous knob of butter in a frying pan on medium-high heat (3-4 out of 6) and place the sandwich in the pan. You don’t want the butter to burn so if unsure lower the heat. You want the sandwich to be golden on both sides and the cheese to melt inside so it takes a few minutes on each side.

Fry until golden brown on one side, pressing down with a spatula. Turn the sandwich and fry the other side. Once crisp and golden and the cheese has started to ooze out on the sides remove from pan and place on kitchen roll to remove excess butter. Pat the top of the sandwich with kitchen roll too, then cut into half and serve. Yu-um. 

PS. This is what I love the most about food; it brings people together. My colleague thought the Herrgård was a nice addition to his cheese board, with otherwise only French cheeses I presume, and I got to try a cheese I had never heard of until he boasted about the best produce from his region in France. Merci!

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Malmo: lunch at Kockeriet

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I’ve been wanting to try Tareq Taylor’s (a Swedish TV chef I adore) restaurant Kockeriet in Malmö and I finally did on the second day of the year. My London friends Nick and Janet were on a Scandinavian tour and when they stopped over in Malmö we met up here for lunch.

It was a really cold day so it was nice to step into the cosiness at the restaurant. The old exposed wooden beams and candles made it feel warm and welcoming. They had two lunch dishes to choose from (this is fairly common in Sweden, as the lunch menu changes daily); one meat and one vegetarian. Both seemed nice but all three of us decided on the meat option.

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But first we got some lovely sourdough and whipped butter and water carafes that were refilled a few times. Good service!

The pork with soft celeriac, onions and a creamy sauce was both fresh and comforting and perfect on this cold January day. It was a lovely luncheon and I can’t wait to go back and try the evening menu (and great looking wine list!).

Kockeriet, Norra Vallgatan 28, 211 25 Malmö, Sweden

Eating NYC: brunch at Upland

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New York is the brunch capital of the world (at least in my opinion, I have no facts to back this up), and so of course Sinead and I booked a brunch in a new great place while we were there. My friend Marie-Louise recommended Upland and we were very happy with the suggestion.

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I liked the place straight away. The decor was relaxed yet classy and had a definite New York vibe I can’t really describe in words, but I think you know what I mean.

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The food was lovely too. I had an amazing frittata topped with roasted garlic mayonnaise, espalette and chives.

Sinead had two eggs any style (in this case poached) with bacon, fried potatoes and sourdough. It was definitely enough to sustain us shopping for the rest of the afternoon.

Upland, 345 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10010