Mainland Egmont Cheese

Cheese is a staple in my fridge at all times of the year.

I always have to keep a healthy supply of it – ready to use whenever I have a craving or recipe that calls for it. It’s that practical long-lasting, easy-to-use ingredient that brings life to boring everyday ingredients, and quite often the center piece of many indulgent recipes!

With so many dairy & cheese brands in the market, which one do you automatically gravitate towards when shopping in a supermarket? Perhaps it’s their minimalist yet eye-catching colorful packaging, or just the fact that they’ve got a wide range of different and delicious cheeses available.. Mainland has been the brand that I’ve been purchasing and using for my home cooking since first discovering it a few years ago.



“Established in the pure and natural goodness of New Zealand, Mainland has been crafting premium specialty cheeses for over half a century. The cheese making tradition is retained and the process is never rushed. The slow natural aging of the finest cheeses give Mainland its unique rich and authentic tastes. Mainland cheese symbolizes craftsmanship, superior quality and authenticity.”

Of course you know where this post is going already.

I’m going to share with you two recipes you can re-create at home with Mainland Egmont! It has a semi-hard cheddar-like texture, with a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that is mild enough to suit most Asian palettes. An excellent choice for cooking and baking, Mainland Egmont melts smoothly, making it versatile for use in various recipes such as pastas, omelettes, savoury tarts, quiches, baked rice, and any cheesy recipe you can think of!

The first recipe I’m about to share is one I know a lot of you are going to love for its flamboyance and decadence. It’s also been highly requested in the past, and here you have it now!

Truffled Mushroom Risotto

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

  • 100g grated Mainland Egmont cheese
  • 300g mixed mushrooms, sliced (I used portobello, white and brown button)
  • 1 cup / 200g uncooked, unrinsed risotto rice (short and fat grained)
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced
  • 60 grams unsalted butter
  • 60ml white wine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, black pepper, truffle oil / mousse to taste
  • optional: bacon or other meats of your choice for a protein punch

Directions:

  1. Sautee onion, garlic, sliced mushrooms together in a large pan until mushrooms release juices. Drain the mushroom liquid into a bowl, and set aside both solid and liquid contents separately.
  2. If you have a meat choice, cook it in the same pan, then set aside for later use.
  3. Using medium heat and 2 tablespoons of olive oil, toast the rice grains evenly for 2 minutes while stirring vigorously to make sure it does not stick to the pan or brown too much.
  4. De-glaze the pan with white wine. Once the wine has been mostly absorbed by the rice, add in chicken stock 50ml at a time, stirring constantly.
  5. Keep adding chicken stock to the pan a little bit at a time, always making sure to scrape through the bottom of the pan and to use medium heat. The stock will slowly but surely be absorbed by the rice. This should take around 500ml of chicken stock and approximately 20 minutes for the rice to cook thoroughly.
  6. Once your risotto rice is cooked to the right onsistency, stir in Mainland Egmont cheese, butter and cooked contents (mushrooms, onion, garlic and choice of protein).
  7. Serve immediately and garnish with more Mainland Egmont, herbs and truffle oil / mousse!

If your heat is too high, you run the risk of running out of stock before your rice is adequately cooked. If you run out of stock, you may use the mushroom liquid or some milk to substitute. The texture of good risotto should be thick, sticky and chewy. A firm bite, with no uncooked bits or overly mushy texture. If you have any soupy or burnt bits, you did something wrong.

If you like it simple, you could eat it like this on its own. It’s honestly more than good enough to. But what’s now good… could be turned great with just a few extra ingredients. And I like to go all the way. We’ve already got Mainland Egmont mixed into this deliciously creamy risotto, but because I’m a cheese addict, there’s no such thing as too much! ;)

The full package – with more Mainland Egmont, parsley, truffle oil / porcini mousse, spring onions for garnishing, bacon pieces and cracked black pepper. Magnifique!

Why pay what’s usually more than $25 per small serving in high end restaurants, when you can do it yourself at home with a little tender loving care over your pan for 30 minutes? I believe this is a dish that even amateur home cooks can attempt, as long as you don’t let the rice burn or overcook, it’s a simple process that simply takes up a bit of your time. There’s no particular science or skill involved.

The amazing thing about risotto is that despite how creamy it is, I didn’t have to add a thickening agent or cream to the rice. It’s the natural starches breaking down that gives it that signature sticky chewy bite. This is the sort of magical meal you’d cook for your boyfriend to convince him to marry you. One bite is all it takes! ;) As a person who cooks, let me tell you that the way to ANYONE’S heart is through their stomach!

A risotto ain’t nothing without good cheese. While some like to use parmesan for their risottos, I find parmesan a little strong for everyday dishes and in contrast, appreciated the subtle sweet flavor Mainlang Egmont offered. It was easy to grate because it’s semi-hard, yet at the same time, the cheese melded into the rice mixture effortlessly within seconds. Baking this cheese would be a dream!

Very soon, this theory will be tested and proven.

On days you don’t feel like you’re up to making risotto, you can also use Mainland Egmont in a 5 minute recipe. The kind of recipe you go to for the quickest lunch in the world, or when you need a fantastic side dish to accompany your mains! I’d also do this for an afternoon snack any day of the week. This time, I’ve grated Mainland Egmont into a finer and more delicate size because it will be sprinkled over a small surface area, this way, it will stick to the surface better!


Cheesy Cajun Corn On The Cob

Ingredients:

  • Mainland Egmont
  • Corn on the cob, de-husked
  • Melted butter
  • Cajun spice seasoning
  • Choice of herb – I recommend fresh dill, parsley or spring onions
  • Cracked black pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare a baking dish, pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Soak corn in cold water for 10 minutes prior to baking. Dry thoroughly, then lay on the baking dish.
  3. Brush melted butter all over corn, turning to cover the different sides.
  4. Pop into the oven to bake at 180 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until you’re happy with how it looks. Some like it a little more charred, and others a juicier yellow piece of corn.. I like mine still juicy with nicely browned bits here and there.
  5. Remove from oven, immediately generously top the baked corn with Mainland Egmont, cajun seasoning and the rest of your garnishings, then eat while it’s still hot!

My idea of good corn. Melted butter, salt, and corn – yeahhhh.

My idea of EPIC corn.    …..YEAHHHHHHH!!!!

Look at that Mainland Egmont shamelessly lying seductively atop that juicy golden corn. They weren’t kidding when they said its usage is awesome for both cooking and baking purposes!

The cheese gives the corn a whole new dimension of flavor, amplified by the cajun seasoning which is a little spicy.. you have yourself a perfect combination that will have your taste buds positively break dancing in glee. I didn’t need to add any salt to this recipe because the cheese and cajun seasoning already contains enough. But of course, feel free to amend this any way you like to your own preferences. This will be a definite hit at dinner or potluck parties, when you need something easy to prepare that’s easy on the wallet, and everyone will be dying to know the recipe because you took an extremely ordinary ingredient and turned it into something pretty extraordinary! In that event, please direct them to this blog.. thank you. :P

Small in buck and effort, but huge on taste.

If corn is “just corn” to you, then you obviously ain’t never had something like this! Corn, will never be just corn again. You’re welcome.

Before I go, I want you guys to know that every single recipe I put up on here, I genuinely want you all to try because I think you’ll LOVE it, not because it is a promoted product. Like I said earlier, I’ve been using Mainland cheeses for years now – their full range includes Vintage, Tasty, Epicure, Gouda, Edam, Swiss and Gruyere cheese. Tasty is another one of my favorites!

I’d love to see you attempt these recipes. Remember to hashtag #mainlandcheese on social media if you do so I check out your yummy posts!