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Using Cheese in Brunch and Lunch

By: Diane Bobis - Updated: 4 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Cheese Brunch Lunch Eggs Gorgonzola

Do you know which food is most often found in lunch boxes? It’s none other than our beloved cheese. According to a recent survey by the National Cheese Institute (NCI) 41% of us consume cheese as part of a mid-day meal.

The most popular cheese varieties for brunch and lunch are Cheddar, Swiss or Edam - and these are most likely to be found in some kind of sandwich. But cheese can do so much more than grace a slice of bread. It can add tang to salads, richness to eggs, and creaminess to pasta. Best of all, cheese offers a quick and convenient source of essential nutrients like calcium and protein, especially important for those of us on the go.

These easy recipes turn everyday brunch and lunch into a special occasion by incorporating your favourite Gorgonzola, Mozzarella, Feta, Cheshire, and Red Leicester cheeses. They can be enjoyed at the weekend, or made ahead and packed into a snack lunch (perfect for those hectic days at work). Who's ready for a break?

Simple Spinach Soufflé

Serves: 1
  • 75g / 2¾oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1tsp olive oil
  • 55g / 2oz fresh green spinach
  • 1tsp cornflour
  • 3 eggs (2 yolks; 3 whites)
Pre-heat oven to 200ºC / 400ºF.

Heat olive oil in small frying pan. Add the spinach and Gorgonzola crumbles and cook gently over low heat. When the spinach has wilted, add the cornflour. Remove the frying pan from heat and stir in two egg yolks. Set aside.

In a clean bowl, whisk three egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the spinach and cheese mixture.Carefully pour the mixture into an ovenproof baking dish. Cook for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the soufflé rises and turns golden-brown on top.

Potato and Mozzarella Frittata

Serves: 2
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • ½ potato, peeled and diced
  • 55g / 2 oz. fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, torn into strips
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Pre-heat the oven to 220ºC / 425ºF.

Heat the olive oil in a medium, ovenproof frying pan. Add the diced potato and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until softened.

In a clean bowl, use a fork to beat the eggs. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour eggs into the frying pan with potatoes. Top with the torn Mozzarella. Cook over gentle heat for 2 to 3 minutes, just until the eggs begin to set on the bottom. Sprinkle the egg mixture with basil and transfer the pan to the oven. (You can also transfer the mixture to a round, ovenproof baking dish.) Bake for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the frittata is completely set and golden brown on top.

Grilled Greek Pitta Pockets

Serves: 2
  • 2 pitta breads
  • (preferably whole wheat)
  • 110g / 4oz Feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 roasted red pepper (jarred), thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Slice the pitta breads down the middle. Pop open up each half to make a pocket. Stuff each pitta pocket with Feta, sliced red pepper, and olives. Brush a griddle pan with olive oil and heat. Place pittas on hot pan and grill about 1 to 2 minutes per side, until golden brown.

Cheese and Veggie Pasta Salad

Serves: 4
  • 225g / 8oz penne or rotini pasta
  • 75g / 3oz Cheshire cheese
  • 75g / 3oz Red Leicester cheese, diced
  • 50g / 2oz cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 50g / 2oz frozen peas, thawed
  • 50g / 2oz carrots, diced
  • 50g / 2oz chopped ham or chicken (optional)
  • 100g / 4oz fromage frais (or low-fat cream cheese, softened)
  • 1 tbsp ketchup
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Fill a tall, large pot ¾ full with water. Bring to a boil and season with a few pinches of salt. When salt has dissolved, add pasta. Cook according to recommended time on package, or until “al dente” (pasta will be soft on the outside but still a little hard on the inside).

Immediately drain pasta in a large colander. Rinse with cold running water and toss gently to remove excess liquid. Put the pasta in a large serving bowl and crumble the Cheshire cheese on top. Dice the Red Leicester into small cubes and add, along with the cherry tomatoes, peas, carrots and ham or chicken (if using). Toss together to combine.

In a small bowl, combine the fromage frais and ketchup to make a dressing. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Drizzle the dressing over pasta salad and toss to combine.

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