Cheese is one of our best and most economical protein foods. It is extremely versatile and can be eaten at any time of day, cooked or uncooked. As sauces, salads, cubed, made into a pie filling or for sprinkling as a topping it is easily digestible and comes in so many different types and flavours you will be able to find one which suits all tastes and all age groups.
Cheese is known to have been eaten by Greeks, and Romans over two thousand years ago. Cheese probably originated with nomantic Arabic tribesmen, who carried ewes milk in bags made from a sheeps stomach. The Heat of the sun combined with the rennin in the stomach 'bag' would have turned the milk sour, creating curds and whey.
Today differences in soil, grass climate and the type and length of the maturing process have creasted subtle differences and the types of cheese we are used to see such as Cheddar, Derby, Leicester, Caerphilly and Stilton.
Cheese is one of the finest of all foods not only being the oldest way to preserve the goodness and the excellent nutritional value of milk, but with eight pints of fresh milk needed to make one pound of cheese, cheese is one of the most economical sources of protein and calcium, both of which are essential in the process of growth and repair of our bodies.
Cheese has more protein, gram for gram, than raw meat, fish or eggs. Additionally it is rich in calcuium and contains Vitamins A and D.
Hard Cheeses like Cheddar will keep for up to two weeks in a fridge, wrapped in film, waxed paper or a lidded dish to stop it from drying out. Ideally the cheese should be removed from the fridge an hour prior to use to allow the cheese to come up to room temperature and the full flavour of the cheese to be realised.
For convenience, grate any dry or left over cheese and keep it in the fridge in a air-tight container and add to pies, flans, sauces and garnishes. Keep an eye out for Stilton reduced in stores after Christmas, you can easily freeze it and it responds to grating from frozen allowing you to make instant cheese enhanced dishes.
A lot of the recipies on this site make reference to Cheese Sauce mix - this is because Cheese sauce mix is today cheaper than making Cheese sauce from the basic ingredients. However given the choice I would prefer to make a cheese sauce from base ingredients, especially if I have a lump of cheese in the freezer or the rind from a block of parmesan cheese to use up. Here are the quantities used in the four main sauce consistancies
Thin Pouring Sauce (basis of soup)
300g-400g grated cheese
Pouring Sauce (where pasta or vegetables are added such as macaroni Cheese)
1 pt milk
100g -200g grated cheese
Coating Sauce (where the sauce is used to coat eggs, vegetables or meat
1/2 pt milk
50g - 150g grated cheese
Panada (binding sauce and the basis of souffles)
25g-100g grated cheese