To celebrate British Cheese Week running from 26th September-4th October, the British Cheese Board have gathered together some of their favourite recipes which use a minimum of one type of British cheese as their main ingredient.

As far as food initiatives go, British Cheese Week is relatively easy to make the most of because quite frankly who doesn’t like the excuse to indulge in cheese? Even Stephen Fry enjoys a substantial nibble, “Cheese is one of those extras that a kindly nature provides, like wine and music for example, and without which life would be unthinkable. I could more easily live without bread, or fruit or trousers than I could live without the cheese that our great island nation has given the world.”

Check out some of our favourite British Cheese Week recipes below and wallow in their cheesy goodness.

Shropshire Blue, Orange and Spinach Salad

Packed with goodness, this recipe is a great example of how cheese can be part of a balanced diet. There is calcium in the cheese and plenty of Vitamin C in the oranges and spinach too.

Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 medium red onion, very finely sliced
2 large oranges
200g (7oz) baby spinach
85g bag watercress
225g (8oz) Shropshire Blue cheese, cut into chunks
50g (2oz) blanched almonds

1. In a large salad bowl, mix together the olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and black pepper. Add the red onion and stir well.
2. Using a serrated knife, peel the oranges, removing all the pith. Do this over the salad bowl so that you catch all the drops of orange juice. Segment the oranges with the knife to remove all the membrane, adding them to the bowl with the juice.
3. Put the spinach and watercress into the salad bowl. Toss together to coat in the dressing. Add the chunks of Shropshire Blue cheese.
4. Toast the almonds, either under the grill or in a heavy-based frying pan, until they begin to brown lightly. Tip onto the salad whilst hot and serve immediately.
Cook’s tip : Blue Stilton or White Cheshire can be used as alternatives to the Shropshire Blue used in this recipe.

Cheddar Risotto

Risotto is an easy, economical meal for family and friends – it just requires a little patience when you make it. This delicious vegetarian version is made with mature Cheddar cheese. British Cheedar is the best in the world – we invented it! So make sure you check the label and buy something from the UK – we like West Country Farmhouse Cheddar.

Serves 4
2 tablespoons olive oil
350g (12oz) carnaroli or arborio risotto rice
1 onion, chopped
1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
200ml (1/3 pint) dry white wine
2 vegetable stock cubes, dissolved in 900ml (1 1/2 pints) hot water
225g (8oz) mushrooms, wiped and sliced
75g (3oz) frozen petit pois or garden peas, thawed
100g (4oz) mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Basil or fresh herb sprigs, to garnish

1. Heat the olive oil in a very large frying pan. Add the rice and sauté it gently for about 3 – 4 minutes, until it looks glossy. Add the onion, leek and pepper and cook gently, stirring often, for a few more minutes.
2. Add the wine to the frying pan and allow it to bubble up, then cook gently until it has been absorbed, stirring frequently.
3. Ladle about one quarter of the stock into the rice, stir, then let the rice simmer gently until the liquid has been absorbed.
4. Add the mushrooms to the risotto with another ladleful of stock. Cook gently, adding more stock as needed until the rice is tender – it will take about 20 – 25 minutes to cook in total.
5. Stir in the peas and Cheddar cheese, season to taste with salt and pepper, stir well and serve, garnished with basil or fresh herb sprigs.
Cook’s tip: Be sure to grate the Cheddar very finely, so that it melts quickly and easily into the risotto. You can also grate some extra cheese to which people can sprinkle on top of their portion. We recommend West Country Farmhouse Cheddar, or look out for Joseph Heler Parmesan-style cheese to use as an alternative to Cheddar.

Courgette, Tarragon, Tomato and Reduced Fat Cheese Gratin

This recipe demonstrates the kind of delicious dishes you can create using the variety of reduced fat British cheese available in major retailers. This is a great vegetarian dish and can be put together several hours in advance, or served as a vegetable accompaniment for roast chicken or grilled lamb chops.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
3 courgettes, about 450g, cut into 5mm slices
Ground black pepper
300g ripe plum tomatoes cut into 5mm slices
3 stems tarragon, leaves stripped and roughly chopped
50g breadcrumbs
110g half fat hard cheese, finely grated

This gratin dish can be made up to the end of step 4 several hours ahead of cooking.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) mark 6. Warm 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large frying pan and add the onion and garlic, 2 tbsp of water, and cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until softened.
Remove the onions to an ovenproof dish or gratin dish and spread them evenly over the base. Season with pepper.
Warm the remaining oil in the same pan, raise the heat to medium high and add the courgette. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes until they start to colour. Tip the cooked courgettes out of the pan so they cover the onions and garlic in the dish.
Scatter the courgettes with the tarragon leaves then tuck in the tomato slices randomly between the courgettes. Mix together the breadcrumbs and grated half fat hard cheese and sprinkle over the vegetables.
Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and continue to bake for a further 10 minutes to brown the top. Serve immediately.