Who doesn’t love a good Cheese Platter? I know at all my social events with friends and family they go down a treat. But doing the same thing over and over again can become quite mundane. Well this post is your guide to help you have your next cheese plater go that next level up!

First, the cheese.

There are many types and brands of cheese out there. It is up to you what type you choose. However, most cheese falls into 4 categories.

  1. Soft
  2. Firm
  3. Blue
  4. Aged

You can also add cream cheese. It also good to look out for different textures and milk the cheese is based off so to have the variety. But the key is to have one cheese most people should know.

The amount of cheese will depend on the event. Is this the only pre-lunch/dinner food available or will there be other types. How many guests are coming. How long before the main meal. If you wanted one of each type of cheese above then we recommend a minimum of 12 people.

 Now the chutney

Or relish or jam or pickles. Really the choices are endless and it depends on you (and your guests)

A soft cheese needs a soft companion, that’s why we recommend a Fig Jam or Quince Jam.

With a firm cheese, try having a Fruit Chutney, Tomato Chutney or Onion Jam.

A Blue cheese is good on its own because of its strength and texture.

For an aged cheese, cutting through the sharpness with something sweet like Beetroot Relish is a good combination.

Extra tips and Tricks

 

  • Have a selection of different crackers, breads to eat the cheese with.
  • Try having fresh fruit (Apples, Strawberries) as well as some dried fruits (apricots) as alternatives to eat with the cheese.
  • Try and use the knives and spoons for each cheese and chutney as to not cross over the flavours.
  • Have some salty on the platter, nuts or cured meats go well.
  • We eat with our eyes first so try and had an odd number of things on the board. If you’re doing an overscale, the have groups of things together so that our eyes enjoy it first.

 

That’s it. Some simple tips for making your next Cheese board or platter go that next step up. Enjoy 😊

Elderflowers scientific name is sambucus nigra. Elderflower comes from the elder plant and has a white or cream flower. In spring, the plant grows black/purple berries. The plant can be found around the world however it is most common in the Northern Hemisphere.

There are various species of elder, the most commonly known being black elderberry, often used medicinally. In ancient folklore, the elder tree was also supposed to ward off evil spirits. Sambucus appears in Ancient Greek texts and plays most commonly in Pliny’s writings.  

Both the Elder flower and berries are mentioned in European and Chinese medicine for healing. In British history, it has been used for respiratory health In Chinese medicine, it is known to help with joint pain and inflammation. It is said to be used in medicine since the stone age.

Elderflower is currently used in several different medical areas including Cold and Flu, Hay Fever, Constipation ad immunity.

 

Today, Elderflower can be used in cooking as well as medicine. Below are some yummy recipes that have elderflower as the star.

Elderflower and Lemon Cake

Prep: 45min Cook: 40 min Serves 15-18 Difficulty: Medium

Ingredients

oil, for greasing

6 medium Eggs 

100g natural yoghurt

50ml Milk 

450g butter

450g golden caster sugar

450g self-raising flour

finely grated zest of 1 Lemon plus juice

3 tbsp elderflower cordial

For the icing

250g Butter, softened

300g full fat cream cheese

700g icing sugar

finely grated zest of 1 Lemon 

fresh flowers to decorate

Method

  1. Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Grease and line the base and sides of 3 x 20cm cake tins with baking parchment. In a jug, whiskthe eggs, yogurt and milk. Beat the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, using an electric hand whisk. When you have a light and fluffy mixture, add the flour, the liquid in the jug and the lemon zest. Mix again until smooth. Divide the cake mixture between the tins, level the surfaces and bake for 40 mins.
  2. Mix the lemon juice and elderflower cordial. When the cakes are cooked, poke all over the surface with a cocktail stick then spoon the lemon and elderflower syrup over the cakes. Leave to cool in the tins. Once cool, you can wrap in cling film and keep for 3 days before icing.
  3. To make the icing, beat the butter until smooth with an electric hand whisk. Add half the icing sugar, use a spatulato mash the mixture together (this will help to prevent an icing sugar cloud) then whisk again. Add the remaining icing sugar, cream cheese and lemon zest, mash again, then whisk again until smooth.
  4. Stack the cakes on a cake stand with plenty of icing between each layer. Pile most of the remaining icing on top, then use a palette knife to spread it across the top and down the sides, covering the cake in swirls (don’t worry about it looking too perfect). Add the final bit of icing to the top and use it to cover any patches where the cake is poking through. Decorate with fresh flowers. 

 

Chicken Garden Salad with Elderflower Dressing

Prep: 25min Cook: 5min Serves: 6 Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

bunch of Asparagus (about 8 spears), woody ends removed and discarded (or save to make soup), cut in half lengthways

200g pack sugar snap pea

140g fresh or frozen Pea

1 small cooked Chicken  skin and bones discarded, meat shredded

250g Radish (use mixed colours and shapes if you can), sliced

1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced

1 large curly round Lettuce  or 2 Little Gems, torn

handful Pea shoots (optional)

For the elderflower dressing

2 tbsp elderflower cordial

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

zest and juice 1 large lemon 

3 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil

 

Method

  1. Bring a medium pan of water to the boil and fill a large bowl with ice-cold water. Drop the asparagus into the pan. After 1 min, add the sugar snaps. After another 30 secs, tip in the peas. Cook for 30 secs more, then drain and tip the vegetables into the icy water – this will cool them quickly, helping to keep their bite and vibrant colour. After 1-2 mins, drain and set aside in the colander while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Dry your bowl, pour in the dressing ingredients with plenty of seasoning and whisk together. Add the chicken, radishes, onion, cooled and drained vegetables, and the lettuce, and gently toss everything together until well coated in the dressing – the easiest way is to use your hands. Pile the salad onto a large platter and scatter over the pea shoots, if using. Serve straight away

 

Drinks

Follow the hyperlinks to find some yummy adult only drinks.

Elderflower & Herb Cooler

Blackberry Peach Elderflower Cocktail

Apple, Elderflower and Gin Cocktail

Summer Punch  

Supplements

Below are some ideas on how to add Elderflower to your everyday items to lift the flavour.

  1. Cream- add 2 Table spoons of Elderflower cordial to 1 carton of cream and use with your favourite desserts. We recommend trying this with Pavlova.
  2. Fruit Salad – add any fruits you like to a big bowl (serving size of plus 5) of fruit salad. Then add 2 table spoons of Elderflower cordial to the fruit salad and mix.

 

For more information please follow the hyperlinks and enjoy cooking 😊

Recently I have been listening and reading about Dr Nural Cokcetin's research into the Benefits of Honey. Below is a list of my top 5 😊

  1. Honey boosts Bacteria in our gut which in turn influences our weight, whether we develop cancer and can influence allergies and our mental health.
  2. Honey could help slow the progress of superbugs due to its many compounds. Even though Honey has been around for many thousands of years, these superbugs have still not found ways to become immune to honey.
  3. Honey is high in antioxidants, including phenols, enzymes and other compounds like organic acids.
  4. Some types of honey have been found to be an effective treatment for some types wounds, burns and other skin conditions, 
  5. Honey is great for a cough. Honey coats the throat and keeps it calm by soothing the nerve endings that protect the throat. The World Health Organisation gives credence to honey as a demulcent (something that relieves irritation or inflammation), which helps alleviate a cough due to the honey acting as a protective film over the throat.

So there you are, Benefits of Honey. I hope this has been informative and useful.

***DISCLAIMER***

For more information, please speak to a medical professional before making any medical decisions. If you would like more information on the points above, see the links below. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFRFwDy3tT0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkY6BI1DByk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLhm0NhJE7c

https://www.well-beingsecrets.com/health-benefits-of-honey-ultimate-guide/