Summer is the perfect time to entertain at home. So, dust off the outdoor setting, bring out the BBQ tongs and set your sights on cheese. Whether it’s a last minute platter, a salad to impress or just a few nibbles with drinks, Australian CHEESE is your ultimate spring entertaining partner – indoors and out.
Amanda Menegazzo from The Dairy Kitchen insists: “Don’t let the start of the entertaining season throw you into a panic.
“A couple of choice ingredients and clever tricks is all you need…” add to that a bottle of bubbly and some gourmet crackers; great entertaining staples with one must-have – Australian cheese!
Whether it be a bitey blue or a simple wedge of parmesan; versatile cheese can quickly transform the everyday into gourmet. Take a tip from The Dairy Kitchen:
- Whip blue cheese and chives into butter to melt onto cooked steaks at your next BBQ.
- Sprinkle shaved parmesan and basil over new season asparagus for a fabulous side.
- Top slices of toasted baguette with marinated feta and roasted capsicum for a quick nibble.
In Amanda’s words: “You can’t go past The Dairy Kitchen” so I took a dive into The Dairy Kitchen for 3 amazing entertainers that is refreshing and light, perfect for the entertaining season.
Baked Brie with Quick Maple Bacon and Onion Jam
2 rashers streaky bacon, cut into strips
1 large brown onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons maple syrup
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
1 sprig fresh thyme
½ teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
200-250g round brie or camembert
Method: Preheat oven to 180˚C (160˚C fan forced).
Heat a frypan over medium-high heat and fry bacon until crispy. Add onions and fry for 5 minutes, stirring often until softened and slightly caramelised. Stir in maple syrup, vinegar, thyme and mustard seeds and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until liquid has reduced and mixture is sticky.
Place brie on a small piece of baking paper on a baking tray or on an ovenproof serving plate. Top evenly with jam and bake for 15-20 minutes or until brie is warmed through. Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving with slices of toasted bread.
Shortcut: To make this recipe even quicker: pan-fry the bacon until crispy and stir through store bought caramelized onion jam. Pour over cheese and bake as per recipe.
Remember to use the whole wheel of camembert or brie, rather than a wedge as it needs the rind to hold in the melted creamy interior.
Roast Chicken, Brie and Nectarine Salad
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup chopped toasted macadamias
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 baby endive, leaves separated and washed
2 cups torn, warm roast chicken meat
2 yellow nectarines, sliced into thick wedges
150g ripe brie, sliced
Method: Combine oil, vinegar, nuts and seasonings in a screwtop jar. Shake until well combined.
Toss three quarters of the dressing through the endiveand arrange on a large serving platter. Arrange chicken and nectarines over endive. Drape brie slices over the salad and drizzle with remaining dressing, serve immediately.
Watermelon and Snow Pea Salad with Marinated Feta
1.5kg seedless watermelon, rind removed, sliced
100g snow peas, trimmed and finely sliced
150g Australian marinated soft feta cheese, oil reserved
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves
Finely shredded zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon caster sugar, or to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Method: Layer watermelon, snow peas, cheese, mint and lemon zest on a serving platter.
Shake lemon juice and 1/4 cup of the reserved oil in a screw top jar until combined. Taste and season with sugar, salt and pepper. Drizzle over salad and serve immediately.