I often think about my food memories. That sounds weird, but I seem to have stored a fair amount of information in my brain about when I first tasted, cooked or heard of new foods, as well as the people who introduced me to them.
There was the first time I made risotto, with my brother Marc hovering behind me as I stirred and stirred (and stirred) in his kitchen in Liverpool. He didn’t trust me to not burn the rice, but he was wrong because it was absolutely delicious. (So there!)
Or the time I went to the market and asked for “Coeur de boeuf” tomatoes (= beef tomato in British English, but meaning “bull hearts” in French, go figure) and discovered that you have to say UNE coeur de boeuf and not UN coeur de boeuf, otherwise you’re apparently asking the produce guy for a dodgy piece of meat.
And for those of you who follow me on Instagram, you already know that I only discovered celeriac for the first time at the ripe old age of 23 in a rather delicious pot-au-feu, a typical French beef stew.
I was first introduced to fresh goat’s cheese by one of my friends who called it by the French brand name “Petit Billy”. I remember asking her very candidly what the point of fresh goat’s cheese was, since the version I knew – shaped in a log with an edible soft skin – suited me just fine. Her answer was brief but to the point: “Well, it’s fresh cheese!”
I sort of dismissed it at the time, but after having seen her enjoying it regularly, I gave it a go. I was quite right to, as I now use fresh goat’s cheese in salads, panini, dips, and more. It seems to me that it has a creamier, softer texture and a stronger taste than the classic log.
Anyway, this snack comes together in seconds. Make sure you use very fresh basil leaves (soggy ones will NOT do) and lots of pepper. Delish, as my mom would say.
Spread about 30 grams of fresh goat’s cheese on a seeded crispbread. Add a decent amount of freshly ground pepper and top with torn basil leaves. Devour!