A perfect piece of cheese is a simple pleasure and NZ cheesemakers work tremendously hard, with passion and dedication, to give us that. As a general rule I like to savour cheese on its own, maybe with a plain cracker or piece of bread. But of course it is a wonderful addition to cooking too, adding so much flavour and texture. The following are some of my favourite ways to add cheese to your summer entertaining menus.

MOZZARELLA BAR

Recently I celebrated a significant birthday together with the completion of my house renovations. I wanted to host something at home, but didn’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. I needed something delicious and impressive, yet easy. Taking inspiration from Nancy Silverton’s Osteria Mozza and my Selfridges treat of the 90s, I put on a mozzarella bar. The wonderful Clevedon Buffalo Co. provided a variety of their amazing buffalo mozzarella, including a couple of treccia (plaits) which you can order from them for special occasions; they look fantastic. Accompaniments were my favourite matches; Poaka Finocchiona salami, Ortiz anchovies, La Voie Française baguette along with other charcuterie, rocket/salad leaves, olives, pickles, extra virgin olive oil, excellent vinegars, flaky salt and freshly ground pepper. A tomato and basil salad is essential; here I have played with this by using purple versions of the ingredients. Braised vegetables also go well and can be served warm or at room temperature. I like to provide half a large ball of mozzarella for each person.

Preparation: 20 mins
Serves: 8 - 10
Cook: 1 & 1/2 hours
Washed-Rind Gratin

Washed-Rind Gratin

1 & 1/2 hours
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