Adding pizzazz to your fresh cheese
When you're making fresh cheese for the first time, it's tempting to stick to the recipe and not get too adventurous.
But hey - that's not the Kiwi way, right?
We reckon you should experiment with some of your favourite flavours. Not over the top and overpowering, but subtle and delicious.
The most obvious place to start is your herb garden. Have a think about what you might be eating your cheese with and pick a companion herb. Fresh cheese by definition has a very clean and fresh taste and most herbs will work really well.
If you're planning a barbecue with a few lamb racks on the grill, try roasting a rosemary or mint halloumi on the side.
That basil is a brilliant accompaniment to mozzarella or bocconcini is a well known fact - but have you tried adding the basil to the cheese and adding it to a salad of sliced tomatoes with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. And finish off with cracked pepper. Keep it simple.
If you're an addict to smoked salmon with your cream cheese bagel, we heartily recommend some finely chopped dill (or fennel if dill is scarce). A drop of lemon won't go amiss either - nor will a few capers.
Capers would also go well in a halloumi, along with some lemon rind and perhaps some thin slivers of red chilli for a bit of bite.
Fruit and Berries
Perhaps a bit unusual, but many fruits add a nice sweet touch to fresh cheese, particularly apples, pears and their close relatives, such as quince and crabapples.
Cranberries, blueberries and other tart-to-medium-sweet berries can be a brilliant addition as well - add them late so you don't get too much of their colour - fresh cheese looks best white with a few specks of colour.
Pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans and almonds have long been used with various cheeses - both fresh and aged - to add a crunchy quality and complement some of the flavours of the curds themselves.
Make pistachio encrusted goats ceese, decorate with walnuts - the only limit is your imagination.
As with all food preparation, do be careful before adding nuts as there are people who can get very sick very quickly from eating them but if no such people are around, there's no reason why you shouldn't enjoy a bit of nuttiness.
Have you got any tips for different flavours for fresh cheese - please share them below!
If you want a good kit to try with - check out our Italian Cheese Kit: