Having my way with curds
In my box of goodies from Brock Hall Farm was a huge tub filled with creamy white goodness. If you wonder what goats curd tastes like it’s a little like goaty ice cream with such pure clean flavours, lovely acidity and a tiny bit of sweetness that if you handed me a spoon I’d have a fair bash at the whole tub. When Sarah said, ‘I’d love to see what you come up with’ I was slightly overcome with nervous excitement. When somebody that passionate gives you a little bit of their blank canvas to play with you feel you have to live up to the quality already imparted. So I came up with a few different ideas, some sweet, some savoury. Some more successful than others.
First up was savoury goats curd and beetroot cheesecake. It’s not exactly a secret that goats cheese and beetroot are rather close friends who like hanging out together in many top establishments. The curd was so creamy it was almost begging to become a cheesecake. So I crushed up some oatcakes, mixed with black pepper and melted butter to make the base. The curds were mixed up with toasted pine nuts and placed atop the base with simply roasted beetroot thinly sliced and topped off with a little Hebridean sea salt for a bit of crunch and tang to draw some of the sweetness. This is just so simple but a lovely little starter, especially when served with a crisp dry Riesling or Sauvignon blanc.
I had visited Dunkeld Smokery when there for the weekend and came back with some of their smoked salmon trimmings. These are rich with a sweet smoke, a little salt and a real taste of the sea. Perfect to provide a deep flavour and little oiliness to the curds. Now obviously real men don’t eat quiche, so this is a tart! Homemade pastry, milk, eggs, curds, smoked salmon and a wee grinding of pecorino. Absolutely delightful. I also served simply with peppered hot smoked salmon and apple chilli jelly. Three very different but complementary flavours.
I made some scones, both sweet and savoury. The curds never really held their shape as I’d hoped within the scone but added a creaminess. Apple, goats curd and Scottish blossom honey worked really well as a sweet scone with the still crunchy but cooked apple providing texture as well as acidity. However the savoury ones, curds, sea salt and rosemary were fantastic, I’ll definitely be making these again.
Last up was another classic with a twist. Making ravioli is on my #40by40 so I tried to combine with the curds in a spinach and curd ravioli with a roast tomato sauce. The raviolis weren’t the prettiest but the combination of fresh flavours was delightful with the curd maintaining a rich creaminess against the iron packed spinach. With the leftovers I made a little lasagne and this was even better than the ravioli.
A really delightful product to work with, so easy to handle, accentuating big bold flavours but always providing a background note of its own. Now that I feel I’ve started to understand its role in flavour combinations hopefully I’ll be a little more adventurous if it appears in my fridge again.