Eking in

I love Blue Stilton. It’s so expensive though that I rarely buy it – like $70-ish a kilo at the local supermarket. Then I found some at Aldi for approximately $26 the kilo so I bought a few wedges.

But how to make it last? Ever thrifty, I hit on the technique of cutting it with butter. Here’s how.

Take a piece of room temperature Stilton (rind and all) and mash it gently with half its weight in room temperature unsalted butter. Gently now, try to preserve a few blue crumbs of identifiable cheese in the mix, you don’t want a paste. (Keeps well in fridge.)

This mix is delicious as a spread on dry biscuits, sandwiches or melting into toast. You can also use it in recipes that call for Stilton or blue cheese – like this one from the archives:

Asparagus Danish – Bleu

You will need some raw green or white asparagus spears, puff pastry, animal-rennet-free Blue Stilton or blue cheese, and a little melted butter and lemon juice mixed.

Pre-heat oven to 200C. Grease baking trays. Rinse and dry the asparagus and bend the spears near the blunt end until they snap – discard the blunt bits. Crumble the blue cheese to the consistency of dryish scrambled eggs by gently pulsing it in a food processor.

Cut each sheet of pastry into four squares. Rotate the squares 45 degrees – so that there is a pointy bit at the top and bottom. For each portion spread a heaped teaspoon of cheese down the middle of the square and place two pieces of asparagus on top of the cheese – the ends should not extend beyond the pastry. Lightly brush the asparagus with the melted lemony butter and season to taste. Fold the left corner of the pastry over the asparagus and then the right corner* over that to form an open-ended parcel. (*Or vice versa.)

Place on trays and bake for 15 minutes or, depending on the oven, until nicely puffed and golden. Serve as a side dish. For finger food, follow the same procedure but cut each sheet of pastry into nine squares and trim the asparagus to length. Accompany with a Clare riesling or a Hunter Valley semillon. Maybe a Yarra Valley pinot noir. But not a solid red, which would clash with the blue cheese.

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