Justine Schofield is one of Australia’s most prevalent cooking personalities with an infectious energy, impeccably creative skills in the kitchen and an undeniable passion for food! As well as a best-selling cookbook author, she is the host of the hugely popular cooking show Everyday Gourmet and was a fan favourite in the first series of MasterChef and MasterChef All-Stars.
1. Peach Kir Royal
Planning a date night at home? This delicious champagne cocktail is the perfect aperitif drink, served with bite-sized morsels of delicious creamy washed-rind cheese. My favourite is Fromager d’Affinois Le Campagnier as the creamy texture goes perfectly with the fizz of the cocktail. Enjoy!
Prep: 20 minutes plus 3-day maceration.
Your favourite washed-rind double cream cheese
500g ripe peaches or any stone fruit of your choice, plus extra for garnish
1/2 bunch lemon thyme, plus extra to garnish
1 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 bottle chilled champagne
Finley chop peaches and place in a glass bowl or plastic container.
Add sugar and thyme sprigs and combine with your hands, to break up peach chunks a bit.
Cover and place in the fridge for 24 hours, stirring halfway through to dissolve the sugar that has fallen to the bottom of the bowl.
Now add the vinegar, mix through, cover and place back into the fridge. Let steep for a further 1-2 days.
Place a muslin or chux into a fine sieve over a jug. Pour mixture in and gently twist the cloth closed. Gently squeeze out the peach and thyme syrup being careful not to push too hard to force fruit through as we don’t want a cloudy result.
The syrup is ready to use for your cocktail or can be stored in a bottle in the fridge for a few weeks.
To make the champagne cocktail, add 15-30ml of the peach syrup (depending on how sweet you like your cocktail), add a few thin slices of peach and top with champagne. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Serve cocktails alongside your favourite double cream cheese – i like to serve mine with Fromager d’Affinois Le Campagnier.
2. Seeded Lavosh
Did you know that making your own lavosh crackers is super easy to do – It’s definitely worth a try. Instead of store-bought crackers, add these lavosh crackers to a cheeseboard and pair it with a creamy cheese like Fromager d’Affinois Le Fromager double cream. It makes the perfect Friday night treat with a glass of wine.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
Serves: enough for 8
Your favourite creamy cheese
1 cup of plain flour
1/4 cup buckwheat or wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes, plus extra to garnish
1 tbs. white sesame seeds
1/2 cup warm water
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp. nigella seeds
Fresh figs and/or apple slices
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Line three baking trays with baking paper and grease with a little splash of oil.
In a large bowl, mix together the flours, salt and sesame seeds.
In a jug mix together the water and oil.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and little by little add the wet ingredients.
Use your hands to bind together to form a ball of dough. If too sticky, add a little more flour.
On a floured board, cut the dough into 8 even portions. Working with one piece of dough at a time, place between two sheets of baking paper and roll out into 20 cm-long sheets (approximately) that are 1 mm thick. Place on to prepared tray and sprinkle over some nigella seeds and extra salt. Repeat the process.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden and crisp.
Remove and cool completely on tray. If not using immediately store in an airtight container. They will last up to 2 weeks.
Serve lavosh on a wooden board with your favourite cheese and a selection of fruit.
3. Spiced Fig Jam
There’s nothing better to pair cheese with than spiced fig jam, especially if made at home with fresh figs when they’re in season. My friends always ask for this delicious jam, when I serve it with a cheese board, so I always make a double batch. I like to pair it with Fromager d’Affinois Florette (goat’s milk cheese) and Brebicet (sheep’s milk cheese). It’s guaranteed to wow!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Makes: 2 x 250ml jars
Your favourite goat’s milk and sheep’s milk cheese
500g fresh figs
250g caster sugar
2 strips of lemon peel
1 tsp of Chinese 5 Spice (a mix of ground star anise, cinnamon, nutmeg, white pepper, ground fennel seeds)
Figleaves to serve (optional)
Crackers, bread and walnuts, to serve
Place the figs and sugar into a pot and stir to combine.
Cook over medium heat and bring to a boil before turning down to low heat.
Add the lemon peel and 5 Spices and cook for 30-45 minutes, skimming off any impurities that rise to the surface. Stir occasionally to break up the figs.
To test that the jam is at setting point, place a dollop onto a plate that has been chilling in the freezer. Return to freezer for a few minutes and then remove. If it is gel-like and wrinkly to the touch it is ready. For more accuracy use a sugar thermometer. The perfect temperature is 105°C.
Fill sterilised jars (see note) with jam and seal. Cool completely before serving.
To assemble your cheeseboard, lay fig leaves on a lovely large wooden board. Arrange your cheeses of choice on top along with crackers, bread, walnuts and spiced jam.
To sterilise the jars, preheat the oven at 120°C. Place the washed glass jars and lids (not plastic) on a baking tray and heat in the oven for 15-20 minutes.