If I was to do a cover of Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, I think I’d make it all about that cheese (’bout that cheese, ’bout that cheese, noooo chutney). However there’s a fairly good chance I’d be sectioned under the mental health act, so on balance it’s probably best if I leave her to the singing and I’ll stick with the eating.
OK, so apart from either proving that I’ve either lost the plot completely or spend too much time listening to local radio whilst at work (it’s the later, I think) what am I on about? Well, cheese actually. In particular, Camembert.
I adore most cheese, but I always have a soft spot for camembert (pun fully intended). I’ve no rational explanation for this; I just really like it. But what I also really like is an excuse to bake a camembert. And guess what – one is just around the corner: Christmas.
Yes, it’s that dreaded C word again, but Yuletide is a great time for an indulgence. Baking a cheese and pretending it’s a balanced meal is certainly not something we should probably do often, but this festive season it’s acceptable, right?. Whether you’ve got friends coming over for a couple of drinks and you’re doing ‘nibbles’, are putting on a larger spread and want something that’s oozy and warming, or simply it’s a miserable evening and you’re being a bah-humbug and staying in to watch a film, then baked camembert is for you.
I’m really lucky in that I have a ceramic camembert baker – a friend that knows me far too well bought it as a birthday present – but they always come in wooden boxes at this time of year, so just make sure you remove all the other wrappings and bake it on a tray. Camembert is very flexible when you’re baking – I prefer a little rosemary and balsamic vinegar, others are big on garlic and others think cranberries must be involved somewhere (actually if you make my very port-heavy cranberry sauce that goes pretty well). So be you a traditionalist or more open to the idea of experimentation, baked cheese is the way forward. Basically, it’s all about that cheese.
This recipe was made up whilst in my kitchen deciding what exactly to bake my camembert with, and it worked out quite nicely, so it’s an original to The Usual Saucepans. You can be flexible with your fillings, but remember to get a half decent camembert! I used toast sticks, oatcakes and carrot sticks as my dip, but that field is wide open to experimented with, but don’t just go straight in with your fingers – it will be very hot! It serves 2 on its own, or up to 8 as part of a wider spread.
1 camembert (usually about 250g)
1 sprig of Rosemary
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
A pinch of salt
Start by leaving the cheese out to be at room temperature and heating the oven to 180ºC.
Taking a sharp knife puncture the cheese randomly across the top – about 6-8 holes is about enough. Strip your rosemary down into the mini bunches that come off the main stalk, and jab each of these into the holes on the top of the cheese, getting them as deep as you can. Next dribble the balsamic vinegar over the top and scatter a little salt on top, then tilt the cheese from side to side, ensuring the balsamic is spread evenly across the surface – and importantly into some of the hole!
Put your camembert into the baker and place in the centre of the oven. In a hot oven it should only take about 10 minutes until the centre of the cheese is molten, and that’s when it’s done.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately.