Quickies Noodle Challenge
Update : I am pleased to announce that we've now received  6  very interesting entries! Thank you very much and remember this is open to everyone, worldwide, so keep them coming! As this may be the last Quickies Challenge for a while,  we really hope there will be a fantastic turnout. Of course, if you really want more challenges, let us know and we'll do our best to oblige! Send in as many entries as you like, just remember to get them in by midnight of  December 14 2010 (EST)  - we're looking forward to shouting out the winner and showcasing a fantastic line up of entries on December 15 2010 (EST)  !! What's your motivation? A gorgeous autographed cookbook! (take a peek here) A
nd now on to the day's post....

I doubt you would like mites in your linen, furniture or bed. What about in your cheese then? No? You sure?  I stumbled on this gorgeous cheese called Mimolette. Come on, say it with me ..."Mi-mo-lette" Doesn't it sound pretty, coquettish almost? Well, what would you say it I told you that the aging process for this very distinctive looking and delicious cheese, may sound questionable to some, if not in fact, utterly disgusting?

The Mimolette originated in the Netherlands, before making it's way to France and it's beautiful, deeply golden, cantaloupe like colour is derived from the annato seed. It's distinctive flavour, is the result of it being intentionally infested with..... mites! YUM. Every week, mites are allowed to swarm each sphere and every week, the old mites and their excrement is swept off before a fresh batch of mites is introduced. On and on it goes until the desired level of maturation and intensity of flavour is achieved. Fascinating. And utterly delicious. All this flurry of mite activity results in a very distinctive rind that is deeply pitted and bears a striking resemblance to the skin of a cantaloupe.

Judging from the firm texture of the wedge in my possession, I estimate it must have been aged for quite a while as it didn't have much of the Parmesan flavour that young specimens of this cheese are famous for. Instead, I found it very buttery, nutty and rich, with a satisfying chewiness. It was almost like cheddar,  without the biting saltiness. Mine was packaged and sold minus the distinctive rind, possibly because cheese buyers here are easily freaked? Wish they had left the rind on, so I could've shown you just how uncannily it looks like a slice of cantaloupe sans seeds, but I did find the next best thing.

I thought that with its cheddar-y overtones,  it would make a good savoury tart with cauliflower - a favourite I haven't eaten in a while.  If you love quiche, this would almost certainly be right up your alley. A heap of green apple slices, a mound of watercress and a vinaigrette pebbled with whole grain Alsatian mustard would make a beautiful light lunch. oh, yes...

20 mins      Cook 45 mins      Serves 4 as a light lunch, 8 as an appetiser


200 g (2 cups) plain or all purpose flour
100g (2/3 cup) soft butter
4 1/2 Tbsp cold water

Put flour into a bowl and put butter into the middle of flour. Using a spatula, cut butter into the flour with swift and light movements until you have a bowl of uneven and coarse crumbs. Add the water and keep stirring with the spatula until mixture begins to form a ball.

Use your hand to push mixture together into a dough. Avoid kneading. Shape dough into a disc, divide into two and cover with a plate. chill for 15 minutes or so, while you clean and wash up.


400 g  (2 ozs short of 1 lb) cauliflower, trim and cut into evenly sized florets
1 clove garlic, brutally bashed and skinned
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp light vegetable oil
Generous pinch of coarsely ground black pepper
100 g (1 1/4 cups) coarsely grated mimolette
2 eggs
200 ml cream
Pinch of salt
Pinch of white pepper

You will need two 15 cm (6 in) pie/tart plates or dishes. Preheat oven at 230 F (450 F)

Combine cauliflower, garlic clove, salt and black pepper. Toss until thoroughly mixed. Add the oil and mixed through again until caufilower is evenly coated. Transfer to a parchment lined baking tray and roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 190 C (380 F).

Roll out pastry on a large square of parchment to a circle about 3 mm (1/8 in) thick. Line plate or dish with pastry. Remove parchment and press pastry flat against pie plate, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Trim off pastry overhang, neaten edges and prick bottom with a fork a few times to allow steam to escape so the pastry base does not blister of puff up too much. Repeat with the other half of pastry.

Bake pastry shells for about 12 minutes or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 160 C (325 F).

Divide roasted cauliflower between the two baked pastry shells. Scatter half the cheese over each, reserving a little to sprinkle over the custard before baking. In a jug or bowl, lighlty whisk together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper.

Pour half the egg and cream mixture into each tart and sprinkle over the reserved cheese. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and filling is set. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving.