Friday, 12 December 2008

Yesterday I decided to show some guts in the face of the freezing wind and do some Christmas shopping in Edinburgh city center. Although I found no gifts, my nose did draw me into the Cheesemonger shop on Victoria street. This place is amazing. The walls are lined with small jars of quince and plum jams, as well as impossibly huge rounds of cheese. The smell alone was enough to overwhelm me, and I followed it to the back of the tiny shop where the blue cheeses were sitting in a pool of soft light. After a few samples, I opted for a slightly less expensive cheese from Lyon, that came in a little brown crockery pot.

The cheese, incredibly drippy and stinky, was soaked up quite well with pieces of a crusty baguette that I also bought, but didn't really shine until I baked into a Savoy cabbage gratin that night. The Savoy cabbage is quite a creature, the leaves are so green and thick they sprout like curtains around the crinkly heart of the vegetable. Inspired by a recipe on Orangette, I sliced the cabbage into thin ribbons, which then were sauteed with plenty of butter and some shallots. I added some chicken broth and put the whole mess into the oven to bubble away. Finally, I added big blobs of the French cheese across the top, and put it back in the oven for a final browning. In the end, the cabbage was bright green and settling nicely into it's casserole dish, and the cheese had melted into all the little nooks.

It was delicious, with a broth swimming in the bottom of the dish that tasted earthy and fresh from the combination of the cheese and cabbage juices. Ian, who wasn't there that night, can not stand cabbage. So I let myself loose like a beast, finishing off the cabbage sandwhich style, wedging it between pieces of baguette. Then, I felt a bit ill, and realized I had gone into overdose mode. Too much of a good thing, and now, I probably wouldn't be able to eat it for another month. 

I will be back to the Cheesemonger for more cheese though, probably very soon.

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