• Cheese,  Travel,  Turkey

    Peynir and Dear – The Simplicity of Turkish Cheese

    The great thing about traveling to a place you have been to several times is you know where to find the good stuff. On my recent trip to Istanbul, I headed straight to Spice Market (via 100s of traders telling me they know how they can help me loose weight) and to my favorite cheese shop which is buried deep inside this tourist attraction. This shop has dozens of different cheeses, meats and other goodies. You can even buy bread rolls to take on an impromptu picnic. My haul this visit included some new cheeses to be covered in their own posts. But I managed to pick up an old…

  • Cheese,  Middle East

    Cheese Really Did Change the Course of Western Civilization

    I don’t want to say I told you so, but this piece on the fabulous Quartz blog has confirmed what I have been banging on about for many, many years. That is…cheese changed the course of civilization. Long story short, the dawn of cheese apparently happened 8500 years ago less than a three hour plane journey from where I am sitting writing this post. In the Fertile Crescent (which stretched from Egypt to what we now know as Iraq and parts of Iran) over production of agriculture had depleted the  soil, meaning our Neolithic ancestors turned to raising sheep and goats. Meanwhile, some smart cookie also invented pottery. Throw into the mix…

  • Cheese,  Cheese in Cooking,  Italian Cheese

    Ricotta Get Outta This Place

    There comes a time in a woman’s life, when she makes the rookie error of mixing her dark and clear drinks and ends up with a banging headache and vague recollections of dancing to Canadian soft rock. This may or may not have happened to me recently. I may also have woken up in a cold sweat realising I promise to bring cheese of some description to a weekend brunch gathering. My options were these: 1. Plead hormonal imbalances and dust off a bottle of vino from the rack 2. Do smash and grab at the local supermarket and lob up with a slab of cheddar and something resembling crackers…

  • American Cheese,  Cheese in Cooking,  holidays,  thanksgiving,  White Cheese

    Clucking Good – How to Make a Turkey Out of Cheese

    So here’s the deal. I asked my friend Alicia what I could bring to her annual “Doha Family” thanksgiving event. She said Nothing. Then I offered to bring cheese. Then the ante started to ratchet up several notches. I googled “thanksgiving + turkey+ cheese” the results were alarming. I’m talking about cheese laid out int he shape of a turkey. then I stumbled upon a cheese ball fashioned into a turkey. “Do it,” said Alicia. So the challenge was on. I don’t think anyone actually believed I could do it. About three hours in on Friday with a raging hangover and runny cheese, hell I thought I couldn’t do it.…

  • Accompaniments,  Cheese,  Cooking,  farmers cheese,  Food Trends,  Hotels,  India,  Media,  Travel,  White Cheese

    Paneer to the Action

    The thing about cheese, is that it’s actually really simple. Milk, a souring agent and time is all it takes to produce a simple white cheese. No complications. It’s when you start adding things like flavor, smokiness, rinds that things get complicated. Kind of like relationships. Except they don’t have rinds.Well, you know what I mean. I’m glad to have introduced my friends to the power of paneer and Indian cheese. It’s to the point where we actively seek it out, like DVD copies of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. We had a couple of brushes with this cheese on our recent trip to Mumbai. This included a unique paneer salad…

  • Artisan Cheese,  Asia,  Cheese in Cooking,  China,  farmers cheese,  Goat Cheese,  Travel

    Rubing it In – Eating Cheese in China

    Chinese food and cheese are not necessarily happy bedfellows. Asian flavors do not lend themselves to cheesiness and for good reason. My main experience of cheese in China consisted of hotel cheese platters on their buffets. But I had heard that some regions in China, namely Yunnan, used goat cheese in their cooking. There will be a longer exposition of my recent trip to Shanghai in future posts (you have been warned) but I was determined to find this elusive fusion. Actually I didn’t have to search too far. One of the best known restaurants in Shanghai, Lost Heaven specializes in Yunnan cuisine. I found one item on the menu – a…

  • Cheese,  Cheese in Cooking,  French,  Goat Cheese,  White Cheese

    A New Leaf

    So here’s the funny thing about this cheese, I actually DID take a photo of it before it was made into this: But, I must have been distracted and the photo is a complete blur (like last Friday…another story…). So i will have to use my powers of description. It was a small crottin (a pungent cheese made of goat’s milk and formed into small disks) which was wrapped in a vine leaf. It was very pretty (not pretty enough to keep me focused clearly). The cheese was clean and fresh, with that goat-milk tang I just love. The leaf was brined and while this wasn’t, I have read elsewhere that…

  • Accompaniments,  Cheese,  Food,  Hotels,  India,  Restaurants,  Travel,  Unusual Cheeses,  White Cheese

    Paneer to My Heart

    There was a seminal moment on my recent girl’s weekend to Amritsar, India. When, at a famous local restaurant, the Brothers Dhaba, we ordered two more parathas. This is a flaky Indian flatbread, buttery and oily in that perfect way, served hot from the oven and irresistible. The waiter, stared at the already heaving table before our party of four, and said “but you heave two more dishes coming”. Shoveling food into our mouths, we barely breathed, in unison we said “We don’t care!”. He backed away from the table like a man who had seen something very, very alarming. There is something about India. I do love visiting –…

  • Cheese,  Cheese in Cooking,  events,  Mexican Cheese,  Middle East,  Qatar

    Let’s Taco About It – Cinco De Mayo

    I have to admit, until very recently I thought Cinco De Mayo had something to do with mayo – as in the type you put on potato salad. Now I know it has a lot to do with tacos. And enchiladas. And pinatas (hitting things – I’m all for that!) Mexico is a long way from Doha. But this weekend the Marriott Doha is hosting a Cinco De Mayo party and frankly, if it involves tequila, hitting things and cheese, I’m there.

  • Artisan Cheese,  Cheese,  Food,  Lebanon,  Middle East,  Sheep Milk,  Travel,  White Cheese

    Home Grown Heroes

    By now, three quarters of the free world know I have been growing tomatoes on my terrace. No big deal you say? Well, I am not known for my green thumb and also, I LIVE IN THE DESERT! So now, the tomato vines, tended with love during our short and sweet Doha winter, have started to bear fruit. What to do with this bounty? Today a friend passed by for coffee so I whipped up a quick Middle Eastern style bruschetta. I used one of my favorite cheeses, a labneh from Laiterie Jarjoura in Chtoura, Zahlé, Lebanon. It is a famous mountainside stop en route to Baalbeck and the Bekaa…