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Blacksticks Blue: the cheese made for cooking

Blacksticks Blue: the cheese that's perfect for cooking

by Great British Chefs 30 April 2019

Cheddar seems to rule the roost when it comes to cooking with cheese in the UK, but blue cheese can bring an awful lot more to a dish. Introducing Blacksticks Blue – a stunning mild blue from Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses in Lancashire that's a joy to cook with.

There are few ingredients that can add such depth, luxury and indulgence to a dish like cheese. It’s why we can’t seem to get enough of it, whether it’s stirred into rich sauces; grated, crumbled and sprinkled over dishes or sliced and melted on top of everything from potatoes and bread to meats and savoury tarts. And with the huge number of artisan cheesemakers now thriving in the UK, we’ve never had as much choice and diversity in flavours when it comes to cooking with British cheeses.

While cheddar tends to be what many of us reach for when cooking, home cooks are missing a trick by not branching out beyond the mass-made blocks. While cheddar certainly has its place, the cornucopia of different cheeses available means there’s a whole world of flavour out there to explore. And while the likes of soft and goat’s cheese are no doubt delicious, it’s blue cheese that really stands out when cooking.

Blue cheese is generally defined by its characteristic tang, but of the hundreds of British blues now available, each has its own unique characteristics. When it comes to cooking, you want something relatively mild that melts easily with a bright, creamy quality – and Blacksticks Blue fits the bill perfectly.

Made by family-owned Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses in Lancashire, Blacksticks Blue is regarded as one of the UK’s first contemporary blue cheeses – heralding in a new dawn for the nation’s artisan cheese scene. Its mild flavour means it’s perfect for people who tend to find blue cheeses too strong, while the golden orange hue adds a beautiful colour to all sorts of dishes. While it’s perfectly delicious on a cheeseboard, it’s a fantastic ingredient when cooking – and easy to work with too. Read on for just a few ideas on how to use Blacksticks Blue and discover just how incredible it tastes.

Steaks

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If there’s one thing Blacksticks Blue pairs perfectly with, it’s beef. The salty tang of the cheese complements the umami-rich flavours of steak in particular; mild enough to not overpower the beautiful taste of the meat but strong enough to stand up against it. There are plenty of ways you can match the two ingredients together (a blue cheese sauce drizzled over a perfectly cooked sirloin is a joy to experience) but we like to keep things simple with a hearty salad. Slices of medium-rare rib-eye covered in crumbled Blacksticks Blue is a true delight, and when served with some simply dressed leaves and sweet figs it becomes a colourful, fresh-tasting dish that’s quick and easy to put together.

Burgers

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Nothing gets the family round the dinner table quicker than some homemade burgers at the weekend, but to really make them stand out you can’t do better than a thick slice of blue cheese. As with the steak above, the sharp yet creamy blue cheese works in perfect tandem with the juicy burger, and Blacksticks Blue is particularly well-suited to being melted, covering the patty in a stunning blanket of oozy deliciousness.

Soups

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It’s not just meat that goes well with Blacksticks Blue – all sorts of vegetables can be paired with the cheese too. Broccoli and Stilton soup is a bonafide British classic, but many find the bullying, strong taste of Stilton a little too overbearing. Try swapping it out with Blacksticks Blue instead – the milder flavour complements the green brassica wonderfully, adding plenty of creamy, silky luxuriousness without the bitter tang taking over. Don’t just stop at broccoli, however – Blacksticks Blue can be added to all manner of soups, such as parsnip, cauliflower, potato and mushroom.

Salads

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We tend to think of dishes made with cheese as being hearty and rich, but if used right it can be the centrepiece of lighter, fresher dishes. Blue cheese is a salad’s best friend, adding just the right amount of creaminess to the overall flavour. One of our favourite ways to use Blacksticks Blue is to pair it with bitter, crisp chicory leaves, crunchy radishes and sweet, tart blackberries. The blue cheese provides a contrast to all these sweet, tangy and fresh flavours, bringing everything together to create a wonderful salad that’s virtuous yet seriously delicious.

As you can see, Blacksticks Blue is an incredibly versatile and tasty thing to have in the fridge when preparing meals, be they quick midweek dishes the whole family will enjoy or showstopping recipes suitable for dinner parties and get-togethers. While cheddar is relatively bland and uniform in flavour, Blacksticks Blue provides a taste of the unexpected. And the best thing about it? All you need to do is crumble, slice or melt the cheese to transform what could be a humdrum recipe into something absolutely stunning.

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