I had the privilege of having a 4 course Italian dinner cooked by Bruce Robertson (of The Showroom fame), in the gorgeous Eurocasa kitchen showroom. Describing the food as delicious would be an understatement. It was again just a reminder that flavour plays such an important role in our enjoyment of food. Starters were a delectable selection of breads, cheeses, dips and cold meats and of course we started talking about how much we all love cheese. If you feel the same way, but want to keep the intake low for health reasons, here’s how to do it:
Regular cheeses: A hard cheese, such as cheddar, has a little less fat than a slightly softer cheese like gouda. It’s perfect for grating, and because the flavour is stronger, you can use less of it without compromising taste. There are also a lot of white cheeses available now, so mix it up a bit and try them too.
Feta cheese is ideal for adding a delicious flavour to a meal just before serving. If you only want to use a little, crumbling it will make it go a lot further. Add to roast veg just out the oven, top off a cooked pizza or flatbread with fresh tomato and feta, crumble a little over pasta to give a slight creaminess to a tomato-based sauce, or add a little bit to melon or watermelon salads to complement the sweetness.
Cottage cheeses and cream cheeses: Cream cheeses are higher in fat, and really should only be used occasionally. You can usually get a similar taste and texture by mixing smooth cottage cheese with some plain low fat yoghurt. Cottage cheese has always been seen as diet food, but if you simply replace your yellow cheese on a sandwich and keep all your other yummy toppings, the change in flavour will hardly be noticeable. Use cottage cheese for spreads and dips – a really simple one is to mix it with some sweet chilli sauce.
Soft cheeses such as brie and camembert are perfect for a cheese platter, but it’s not always so easy knowing how much you’ve already eaten. Put out one or two cheeses at most (depending on the number of guests), and slice into thin slices beforehand. Fill the platter with lots of fresh fruit such as grapes, pears, melon, apple, kiwi and mango so that you get your fill of those health-boosters too.