I was recently contacted by Ethel the Goat from Capricorn Somerset Goats Cheese and asked if I would like to participate in a brilliant cookery challenge! They wanted to send me a hamper filled with Ethel's favourite ingredients, the challenge being to come up with a lip smacking recipe using the ingredients sent!
As you know, I am always up for a challenge and so I jumped at the chance to participate. When the hamper arrived it was fabulous. I was most impressed with all it included. It would be impossible to use all of the ingredients in one recipe, so I hope that I am allowed to make more than one recipe . . . how could you not with so many fabulous "goodies" to play with! I went to bed last night with all sorts of taste tempting ideas swimming around in my head!
Anyways, this here today is the first recipe I came up with. We've been enjoying some lovely warm weather these past few days! Finally! It's salad weather! Yayy!! I love salads! I especially love Goats cheese with salads!!! It has such a wonderful creamy texture and flavour, which is the perfect addition to a delicious salad of mixed sweet and bitter greens. I had never tried the Capricorn Somerset Goat's Cheese before, but upon a tiny sampling of it's flavour, I decided that it would be perfect for what I had in mind.
Now, I have eaten many a chocolate truffle in my lifetime (and my hips show it unfortunately), and they are delicous. I wanted to create a goats cheese truffle . . . that I planned on serving on top of a bed of baby salad greens.
I mixed the goats cheese with some cream cheese and chilled it until it got fairly stiff. This cheese is so creamy, it never quite sets up completely, but if you use it chilled it's very workable . . . and if you've made truffles with chocolate, you know they are completely the same way! It's a bit of a fiddle, but well worth the extra effort entailed!
And so it is with these delicious Goats Cheese Bakewell Truffles! Well worth the effort that is! Just picture a delicious mixture of goats cheese and cream cheeses wrapped around raspberry liqueur infused dried sour cherries, then rolled in chopped toasted almonds . . . traditional bakewell flavours!
Now chill them and then serve them atop a bed of beautiful baby spring salad greens . . . and drizzle the whole lot with a tangy Cherry Balsamic and Herb Vinaigrette!
This is what you end up with . . . A Spring Salad of Mixed Greens & Goats Cheese Bakewell "Truffles", with a Cherry and Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette . . .
Now, I know that may seem like a mouthful . . . but what a tasty mouthful indeed!
A Spring Salad of Mixed Greens & Goats Cheese Bakewell "Truffles"
with a Cherry & Herb Balsamic Vinaigrette
A deliciously different salad, composed of beautifully flavoured Goat's Cheese "Truffles", flavoured with raspberry liqueur infused sour cherries, rolled in chopped toasted almonds, set on a bed of baby greens and dressed with a tangy Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette. Do plan ahead as the truffles need time to set up and chill prior to serving.
For the Cherries:
1 (75g) packet of dried sour cherries (about 1/2 cup) (to be divided)
2 TBS Chambord Raspberry Liqueur
For the Dressing:
1/2 cup good quality Balsamic Vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
the leaves from several springs of fresh thyme
pinch of garlic powder
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup of extra virgin Olive oil
(You will also be using some of the Raspberry liqueur infused cherries and their juices)
For the Truffles:
100g of Goat's Cheese, softened (I used one pack of Sommerset Capricorn Goat's Cheese) (about 3.5 ounces)
70g of cream cheese, softened (2.5 ounces)
freshly ground black pepper
(You will also be using about 20 of the infused cherries, the rest will be used in the dressing)
85g of chopped toasted almonds
You will also need 480g of mixed baby salad leaves (about 5 cups)
You will want first to infuse the dried cherries with the raspberry liqueur. Place the cherries in a small microwavable glass bowl. Pour the raspberry liqueur over top and pop into the microwave for about 30 seconds. Let stand for 15 minutes to infuse.
Mash together the goats's cheese and cream cheese in another bowl. Don't worry if it is a bit lumpy. This doesn't really matter that much. Just get it as fine as you can without making it soupy. Cover and place into the freezer for about fifteen minutes to half an hour to set up.
Place the toasted almonds in a shallow bowl. Drain the cherries, reserving any liqueur which may still be in the bowl. Once the cheese mixture is set up, remove it from the freezer. Measure out about 1 TBS of the mixture and drop it into the toasted almonds. Press a drained cherry into the centre. Carefully mold the cheese around it and roll the "Truffle" in the chopped almonds. (It may seem a bit fiddly and you may not get totally round truffles, but that's truffles! Odd shaped ones only add to the interest!) Place onto a cling film lined plate. You will get about 20 of these. Cover and place in the refrigerator to chill until needed.
To make the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard, honey, thyme. garlic powder and any leftover liqueur. Drizzle the olive oil in a bit at a time as you continue to whisk. Chop the leftover cherries and whisk in. Season to taste with some fine seasalt and freshly ground black pepper.
To serve, divide the salad greens amongst 4 chilled salad plates. Top each serving with 3 or 4 Goat's cheese truffles and drizzle with a bit of the balsamic dressing. Serve immediately.
Note: If making the truffles seems too fiddly for you or you are in a hurry and don't want to wait for them to set up,(I can appreciate that not everyone has the patience with such things as I have), simply slice the goats cheese into 4 rounds and place one of top of each plate of greens. Scatter with some chopped toasted almonds and a few infused cherries. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and serve immediately. I do hope you will try making the truffles though as they are gorgeous!
I hope Ethel likes it! She'll be picking one finalist each month from all the recipes submitted, and then in October, Ethel will pick one out of all six as an overall favourite. The winner will receive a year's supply of Capricorn Somerset Goats Cheese and a trip to Babington House in Somerset! (Do check out the site. It's one of the cutest sites I've ever seen on the internet!)
You can follow Ethel on Twitter I can promise you it's a real "tweet!" (Sorry I couldn't resist!)