Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Hurricane to Haggerty

Several years ago, with a large, low cloud sitting over our holiday in Cornwall, Matthew and Ben set about building a wood-fired earth oven. They made mud bricks for the base and dome, using sand to form the shape of the dome. A trip to a salvage yard rendered a bit of wood for a door. We fired it as you would a conventional wood-fired oven, making a fire with small bits of wood in the body of the oven then raking it out when the oven was hot.

In spite of its makeshift construction we cooked some good things in it - loaves of bread, of course, but also a joint of meat (lamb, I think), and on the last night a cheesy flat bread. There was a hurricane blowing in over the Penwith peninsula and it was our last night, so we were eager to give the oven one last fire to make a tasty last-night treat. It was a white dough with mozzarella and herbs in the middle. It was delicious. We called it Hurricane Bread.

Hurricane Bread has been through many iterations in subsequent years. We don't make white bread any more. We have also become interested in eating a more locally produced diet, so we try to use our local cheese, Anster, when we can. During this year's Cornish holiday Hurricane Bread gained an addition in the shape of slowly cooked onions. It had become one of our favourite breads and we were eager to use it for the Steamie. However, we wanted to give it a new, less personal name.

Anster Cheese is based on a Cheshire recipe, which brought to mind the Cheshire classic, Pan Haggerty. Pan Haggerty made up of layers of potato, cheese and onion, fried in dripping. It's utterly delicious . We felt that our flat bread could be considered a cousin to Pan Haggerty, so named it Hearth Haggerty.

Hearth Haggerty is two thin flat pieces of light rye dough with Anster Cheese, fried onions and fresh sage in between. It's a fantastic accompaniment to vegetable soup, especially if you toast it lightly first. We'll post the recipe up soon so you can try it for yourself.

Anster, by the way is made by The St Andrews Farmhouse Cheese Company in Anstruther in the far east of Fife. We're off to visit them tomorrow and see the cheese being made. Of which more later . . .

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