3 August 2015

Topped Baked Camembert with Blackberries & Walnuts

 I used to work in a cheese shop, but I camembert it any longer.
When did life get so busy?! I've been running around trying to catch up from my boyfriend Dan's brother's wedding last week (tediously long description anyone?) and blogging just slipped me by. That's not entirely true, I did write lots of posts and edit countless numbers of photos while stuck on trains all week, but I never got enough internet connection or time to get round to posting them. Anyway I'm not complaining, I've certainly been enjoying myself. The wedding was lovely, despite the fact it rained all day, it was very relaxed and fun (summing up Dan's brother and now wife's attitudes), and my second dress fitted me perfectly (because my first one really didn't!). Plus my reading, which you might have heard me agonising over, went well, this is partly helped by the couple of drinks I had beforehand to tie over my nerves (it was a big wedding!).
After the embarrassment of not being able to fit into my dress for the wedding that fit fine three weeks ago, I've decided I need to get back into my exercise routine. I'd kind of let that slide too with all the prep for the wedding and so many amazing food markets around! So yesterday I power cleaned my flat, did some weight lifting carrying our food shop home, and then went swimming with my friend Alex which was simultaneously productive in that we did lots of laps and unproductive in that we also spent an hour going down the water slides and mucking about with the wave machine. How did we reward our strenuous exercise? With a three course meal of course!
After some very unhelpful person suggested I cut out cheese if I wanted to lose weight (you know who you are and you have been blacklisted from all future dinner parties) I decided to cook a cheesy starter of Baked Camembert topped with Foraged Blackberries and Walnuts for some friends on Sunday. You know to help recover from the exercise Alex and I did. I might joke about it, but I feel real pain in my thighs and abs today, so imagine what I'd felt like without the cheese. Actually don't imagine that, it's not worth thinking about.
This starter is deliciously simple. Alex and I 'foraged' some blackberries on the way home (it's not stealing if they're overhanging into public space) and I combined them with some walnuts, honey and thyme for added extravagance. You can't beat a slice of fruit with your cheese. Apple, fig or pear they've all got their perks but my fave is the sharp tangy blackberry. A bit of blackberry jam with your stilton Mam? Yes please. Blackberry and goats cheese salad? Give me more. It's just so good and simple, you can't beat it as a cheesy accompaniment.

With some crusty bread this was a great veggie starter, it's worth bearing in mind that not all camembert is vegetarian (you can read about that rant here) but I do know that Waitrose stock a vegetarian version so go there and eat as many as possible because it's not every day you come across one that is. We followed this up with a very unvegetarian main course of roast pork and my no churn red wine and dark chocolate ice cream which I'll be sharing soon because I'm a proud pudding parent and it is delicious!

Enough about ice cream, on to the cheese recipe!
Baked Camembert Topped with Blackberries & Walnuts
(1 as a main, 2 as a starter, 3 if you're pushing your luck)
80g blackberries or a large handful
50g walnuts or a small handful
30g pumpkin seeds or small handful
1/2 tsp dried thyme (fresh if you've got it!)
1 1/2 tbsps honey
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. If you've foraged your blackberries make sure you wash them first and don't pick them from the road side. That done. Break the walnuts into bite sized pieces and combine with the honey, olive oil, thyme, blackberries, pumpkin seeds and salt and pepper. Mix it all together with your hands and let it sit while you prep the camembert.
Step 2. Grab your camembert dish or the wooden box it came in (paper/plastic wrapping and attachments removed), and place your unwrapped cheese inside. Cut a large X into the top of the camembert, put the lid on the dish/box and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes.
Step 3. After 15 minutes take the cheese out and top it with your nutty, fruity mixture then bake it back in the oven, lid on, for 10 minutes. Remove and serve with plenty of crusty bread. I shared mine with friends but won't be making the same mistake again, I'd advise you skipped hosting a dinner party and went straight on to a cheese night for one.
If anyone has any other topped camembert recipes drop me a link below, they are my ultimate favourite food to browse through on pinterest or foodgawker. I'd recommend that as a past time. For me I'm all about the foraged ingredients (see my wild garlic, beetroot and goats cheese tart, and my wild garlic pesto recipes as reference) and have my mind on a wild garlic stuffed camembert next year when it's back in season, unless anyone has some they want to post me? No, no takers? Damn. Hope you all had a good weekend!  

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