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Home Cook: Kris Lloyd, cheesemaker

Eat | Drink | Explore

Kris Lloyd, well-known for her work in developing the South Australian cheese industry, reveals what she likes to cook in her home kitchen and shares a favourite cheesy recipe.

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Kris Lloyd is the head cheesemaker and manager of Adelaide Hills cheesery Woodside Cheese Wrights. She also has a new brand, Kris Lloyd Artisan, which produces a range of fresh, white-mould and matured cheeses from cow, goat and buffalo milk.

She is a passionate and energetic foodie whose cheeses have won countless awards, and her work in developing the local cheese industry, including the establishment of CheeseSA and CheeseFest, was recognised with the 2010 Telstra Business Woman – Innovation Award.

Lloyd is also involved in this week’s Tasting Australia festival (see details below), but has taken time out to give some insight into how she manages her kitchen at home and to share a favourite recipe.

In the kitchen I am …
Happy. Cooking is my wind-down thing to do. I am not great at following recipes; I prefer to make it up as I go. There’s no way I would measure anything – I smell and taste my cooking to work out what it needs.

The fridge is nearly empty – what do you cook for dinner?
If I have onions and olive oil, I can cobble together a pretty fancy meal with scant ingredients. Tonight I am making caramelised onion spaghettini pasta by simply caramelising the onion and tossing it through hot seasoned pasta drizzled with olive oil. Given I always have Woodside goat curd in my fridge, I will serve it with a dollop on top, cracked pepper and some herbs from the garden to finish … along with a glass of Coriole Dancing Fig (Mourvedre Grenache Shiraz blend).

Most useful cooking tool?
I am lost without a crazily sharp knife and my trusty red spatula, which ensures I waste nothing in the bowl.

Three essential grocery items?
Salt, olive oil and onions.

How did you learn to cook?
I spent a lot of time with my Greek grandmother, Chrisanthy, who I am named after. She was a passionate cook. I would help her collect young – almost transparent – vine leaves to pickle for dolmades for her famous psarosoupa (fish soup) with the creepy snapper head boiling in the pot. Everything was made from scratch – she grew all her own veggies and ran chooks, turkeys and ducks.

She taught me a respect for food, particularly food that is in season, and how to ensure nothing would be wasted. I also learnt from her how to barter, as she would visit her neighbours with me in tow, swapping her excess produce for something she didn’t have. At home I have a great veggie patch and chooks and I talk to my chooks in Greek, like she did.

Favourite restaurant?
I have so many favourites, but what they have in common is that they take pride in serving simple honest food,  knowing the origin of ingredients, seeking out the producers to understand the raw ingredient – how it is grown and where it is grown – and they also have a tendency to go out and forage for ingredients.

Favourite recipe?
I’m loving experimenting with my new Kris Lloyd Artisan Brie and Camembert, which are made in small batches from milk sourced from very small Jersey cow herds in the Adelaide Hills. This recipe for baked brie or camembert is seriously so delicious and perfect for the cooler autumn afternoons and evenings. Make it with the last of the summer/autumn fruits, or a more savoury version with chilli, garlic and herbs from the garden.

Kris-Lloyd-Sweet-Brie-1200x800

Sweet baked brie.

Sweet Baked Brie or Camembert

Ingredients

1 ripe (soft) 200g Kris Lloyd Artisan Brie or Camembert
Coriole EVO extra virgin olive oil
Kris Lloyd Artisan honey
berries
figs (fresh or dry)
star anise
toasted flaked almonds

Method

Place 3 tablespoons of honey in saucepan with 2 to 3 whole star anise, bring to the boil and turn off heat, allowing star anise to infuse in the honey.

Cut the top off the brie and sprinkle a layer of the toasted almonds, followed by thin slices of fig and a few ripe berries. Replace the lid and place the filled brie in a ramekin dish brushed with a little olive oil.

Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes or until the cheese begins to bubble. Ensure it is soft and gooey all the way through by testing with a knife before carefully removing from oven.

Top with more toasted flaked almonds and then pour over honey anise mixture. Finish with fresh thyme and serve immediately with bread or crackers  and South Australian sparkling wine.

Kris Lloyd will be present at the Tasting Australia Town Square tomorrow, where she will participate in a Think Session at 2.45pm about the labelling and provenance of food, a cheesemaking demonstration of her Woodside Cheese Wrights Charleston white-mould cheese at 3.45pm, and a flavour-pairing workshop Umami – it’s a savoury thing at 5.45pm in The South Australian Tasting Gallery.

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