Anyone who knows me well knows of my love for cheese. You can put chocolate, cake or biscuits in front of me and I may take some, I may not. But cheese is another matter. I don’t just love cheese, I LOVE cheese.
A strong Red Leicester, nutty and slightly crumbly; a creamy, rich Stilton (preferably made in Cropwell Bishop as, in my opinion, they make the best Stilton around); or a mild, mottled green Sage Derby, smooth and slightly fragrant.
I am yet to find a cheese I don’t enjoy. Which does lead to a bit of a problem as my will power is incredibly low when it comes to cheese. I can handle a block of mature Cheddar sitting in the cheese box and a wedge of Parmesan or Grana Padano is also usually safe, but anything else tends to disappear rather rapidly.
A while ago I made a decision – I would only buy cheese for a specific meal. It is no longer welcome in the house unless it has a purpose. No cheese for snacking on, no late night nibbles.
As a result, cheese began to make its way into my weekly food planning a little more. I began to see it as a great ingredient in its own right, not just a tempting snack or something to be eaten alongside a chunk of bread or a bowl of soup for Saturday lunch.
It was around this time that I first baked Camembert at home and to be honest I really don’t know why it took me that long. Gooey, creamy, rich and decadent. It is so delicious I could easily eat a whole one myself. All you need to accompany it is some good French bread, some caramelised onion chutney and maybe a well-dressed green salad.
It makes a fantastic starter for a couple to share, is great as part of a buffet spread for when the hordes descend and also makes a lovely meat free main for a special occasion.
One of the beauties of baked Camembert is that it is so unbelievably easy to create something so delicious. All you need to do is unwrap the cheese, put it back in its little wooden box and pop it in the oven. Whilst the oven bakes it to creamy, gooey, deliciousness, all you need to do is slice some good French bread and crack open the jar of chutney. On that note, it is worth buying a really good jar of chutney, and I do think that caramelised onion chutney is the best to go with this dish.
If your Camembert didn’t come in a little wooden box then don’t worry, just fashion a holder out of lightly greased tinfoil, pop the Camembert in and place it on a baking sheet.
What could be simpler, easier and more delicious?
- 1 whole Camembert
- A few sprigs of fresh thyme optional
- Freshly sliced baguette and caramelised onion chutney to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Take the Camembert out of its wooden box and wrapper.
- Place the unwrapped Camembert back in its box.
- Place in the oven on a baking sheet for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and place on a plate using a fish slice. Cut a cross across the top of the cheese, pry open slightly and sprinkle with the fresh thyme leaves if using.
- Serve with baguette and onion chutney.