Tag Archives: Humphrey Errington

Bonnie Dundee

2017-02-19 08.45.50.jpgThat’s my first full month in as a student on the Masters programme in Food Innovation at Abertay University. Loving it; and throwing myself into the studying with gusto, hence few posts of late. Lots of interesting things to report however …

Firstly, I have lots of delightful young student colleagues from Europe – Italy, Greece and 2017-02-16 11.01.49.jpgAustria to be precise. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to hear first-hand how they do things, not only across the generations but also, across the waters. This first photo is the counter in the student coffee bar; and I asked my Italian friend what she thought of it.(We’re working together on a project, developing a product which reduces or removes the sugar in a foodstuff aimed at children – and I’ve become ever more highly sensitised to the amount of the white stuff we in Scotland throw down our necks on a daily basis). She laughed and said she had taken a photo and sent it home to her friends – they found the muffins highly enticing but would never have found these in a student canteen in Italy – only wholesome stuff would have been on display. Don’t ask about our respective dress sizes …

Secondly, the great fringe benefit in all this is that I get to travel to Dundee at least three days a week (using my trusty bus pass!) and pass some nice foody shops en route to 2017-02-21 18.39.29.jpgclass. Last night I popped into The Cheesery and bought this beautiful ewes’ milk cheese, made in Tain, Sutherland (home of Glenmorangie whisky). We visited Tain last year with a group of friends on a bus pass tour and it’s a lovely wee Highland town with an excellent museum where I thought I found a distant relation who was one of the early Suffragettes. Deep respect! But I didn’t see any flocks of sheep entering the milking parlour.

The idea of milking sheep in Scotland is a bit unusual; our sheep are more the woolly-jumper type. Currently the controversy rages on about raw milk cheese, with a strong stand being taken by Food Standards Scotland against Humphrey Errington, Raw Cheesemaker Extraordinaire; and there is massive support for him from the artisan producers of Scotland. How to raise our national culinary standards without taking measured risks? they ask; and I have to agree. Anyway, to the makers of Fearn Abbey ewes’ milk cheese, I drop a curtsey and wish you well, in bringing a gently tangy new offering to the Scottish cheeseboard.

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Happy Cheesemas

2016-12-25 08.22.00.jpgSo there we were, having a nice coffee with our eggy-cheesy-bread on Christmas morning; and I had the great idea of adding a little Kahlua. And then a blob of cream. Very festive and got us off to a most enjoyable day. I hope you all had a good time too.

A few days before Christmas we were visiting Glasgow so I took the opportunity to call in 2016-12-15 18.50.18.jpgat Ian Mellis’s cheese emporium. Although there’s a lot of great artisanal cheese made in Scotland, there aren’t many specialist cheese shops; Mellis’s is one of the best, and best-known. I was interested to know how cheesemongers are feeling about the recent ban on Errington’s cheeses being sold. There was a recent outbreak of E.coli 0157, and one of Errington’s cheeses was implicated. The evidence seems to be in dispute, as Errington has had his own lab tests taken, with no traces of E.coli found. Food Standards Scotland is now paying Errington’s legal costs, in an acknowledgement that their actions could easily drive him out of business.

2016-12-15 20.42.40.jpgThe cheese in question is made from raw (unpasteurised) milk. In Scotland, raw milk cannot be sold for drinking purposes, but it’s okay to produce cheese. There are many raw milk cheeses for sale at Mellis’s, and the manager told me that nearly all producers are going forth optimistically, determined to stick with their sublime products. This is reason for rejoicing, I must say, and I applaud their courage in an industry that is being seen as highly risky.

Coincidentally there was a great episode of the Food Programme on Radio 4, compered by Dan Saladino. Entitled ‘The Future of Cheese’, it explored the mysterious bacterial actions that work to give individual cheeses their individual characters. Apparently cheesy traces have been found in Egyptian crocks, 7,500 years old! It’s an amazing story, I urge you to listen to it. I never studied much science back in the day, and am easily befuddled by all the techy lingo. However it seems the scientists haven’t figured it out either! Fabulous, individual, packs-a-punch cheese seems to be a gift from God. Or Geraldine, as I’ve taken to calling Her.