Nortons St Swithins Soft with Lavender wins major national award

Nortons Dairy is celebrating having won the best Flavour Added Cheese at the 2017 British Cheese Awards for its St Swithins Soft with Lavender. The Nortons new natural yogurt also picked up a deserved Bronze medal.

The awards, the pre-eminent cheese event in the UK and a great celebration of British cheese, took place on Wednesday 31st May 2017 at the Royal Bath & West Show, Shepton Mallet, Somerset. 

Nortons Dairy is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Owner Emily Norton explains “This award could not have come at a better time for us. Our St Swithins Soft with Lavender was the first flavour added cheese we made after starting with the original St Swithins Soft 10 years ago. To win this national recognition is credit to the hard work of the family, staff and customers who have supported us over the years”. 

The Norton family make St Swithins Soft on the farm using only milk from their own small herd of very pampered Brown Swiss dairy cows. The herd is milked through a voluntary milking system. “We pride ourselves on creating a high welfare system for our cows. We focus on providing the cows with all the comforts they could need, from the best grass and fresh water to a comfortable straw bed in the winter. Good stuff in makes great stuff out” explains Emily.
 
Just under 1,000 cheeses were entered into the awards by 144 cheesemakers. On the day 70 judges judged the cheeses in 135 classes and nine categories. The judging and the presentation of the prizes at the awards dinner all took place on the same day. 

To achieve this level of national recognition for artisan dairy produce from Norfolk is a great achievement for the Norton family. “I am extremely proud of St Swithins Soft with Lavender and it has developed a loyal following amongst foodies and restaurateurs all over the eastern counties”, said Emily. “What has delighted me even more is the bronze medal for our Nortons slow matured yogurt. This marks it out as one of the very best yogurts in the country, and as we only started making it late last year this is a massive achievement. 

Peter Mitchell, chairman of the British Cheese Awards, says: “Congratulations to Nortons Dairy for winning Best in Category – Flavour Added Cheese for its cheese Nortons St Swithins Soft with Lavender. It’s a great achievement and recognition of the care and attention put into making it and its quality.”

“We were really thrilled to have such a large number of entries for this year’s awards. We had just under 1,000 entries, an +11% increase on last year. This increase was really encouraging and shows that the British cheese industry is thriving. It was a diverse range of entries that included well-established cheesemakers as well as some who have only been producing cheese for a short amount of time.

As well as Supreme Champion, the Reserve Champion, four Country Awards and the eight Main Category Awards, there were also 13 Special Awards. Within the Special Awards there was a new award this year for Best Specialist Cheesemaker. 

Judges scored the cheeses on presentation, texture, aroma, flavour and balance. Dependent on the scores that each cheese received, gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded.

Honey baked figs with Nortons Soft Cheese

Baked figs with St Swithins Soft and honey

Baked figs with Nortons Soft and honey

Ingredients: makes 4

4 large fresh figs
50gms Nortons Soft
2 tbsps honey
Sprigs of fresh mint

Carefully cut the figs in quarters down to about two thirds of their height and spread them open gently. In the centre of each, scoop in two generous teaspoons of cheese. Place the figs in a shallow baking dish and drizzle them with honey. Bake in a hot oven 200oC for about 8-10minutes, until the figs soften and are running with juice. To serve, drizzle over more honey and sprinkle mint leaves on top, and serve with cold vanilla ice-cream on the side.

Nortons Soft Apricot Scones

Ingredients: makes 10 large scones

150gms Nortons Soft Cheese with Apricot
400gms plain flour
125gms granulated sugar
1 egg
150gms unsalted butter, diced
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 1/2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120mls milk

In a bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Crumble in the Nortons Soft Cheese with Apricot and the butter, then blend together. In a separate bowl, combine the egg, vanilla and milk, then gently mix the dry and wet ingredients until the dough comes together – don’t overwork it. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and fold it gently a couple of times. Roll out to about 2cm thick and cut into your preferred shapes. Arrange on a lightly greased baking tray and bake at 200oC for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown on top. Serve with apricot jam and whipped Nortons Dairy cream.

Chicken breast stuffed with Lavender Soft Cheese

This recipe features on our beautiful product postcards and is very simple to make.

Serves 2.

Requires: 2 chicken breasts, 60gm St Swithins Soft with Lavender, lemon juice.

Pre-heat the oven to 180C and drizzle some oil in the base of a small roasting tin.

Simply cut the chicken breasts length-ways along the side of the meat to create a large flap. Place c30gm of Nortons Soft with Lavender in the cavity and pull the breast back together. Squeeze over a dash of lemon juice, black pepper and a little salt to taste. Place the chicken breasts in the roasting tin and cook in the oven for about 25 minutes, until the meat is cooked through.

To serve, simply place the roast chicken breasts on warmed plates, drizzle over with a little extra lemon and any juice from the pan, and serve with freshly steamed green vegetables.

Spanish Omelette

A stunningly simple way to use up some leftover roast potatoes. Whisk up a couple of eggs with 30gm of Nortons Soft Cheese. Pour into some hot butter in a frying pan, slice in the leftover potatoes and some spring onion. Allow to brown underneath before finishing in the grill. Couldn’t be easier!

 

Nortons Bread and Butter pudding

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

8 slices bread
approximately 2 oz (50 g) softened butter
½ oz (10 g) candied lemon or orange peel, finely chopped
2 oz (50 g) currants
10 fl oz (275 ml) fresh whole milk
2 oz (50 g) caster sugar
grated zest ½ small lemon
3 free range eggs
freshly grated nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C) and butter a 2 pint oblong baking dish

Butter the bread and, leaving the crusts on, arrange the bread over the base of the baking dish.  Sprinkle over the candied peel and the currants.

Measure out the milk into a jug, stir in the caster sugar and lemon zest, then whisk in the eggs. Pour the mixture over the bread, sprinkle over some freshly grated nutmeg, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Serve warm. Yummy…

Variations: any bread will do – Katy Norton swears that bread and butter pudding made with French bread is unbeatable, and Nigella Lawson has a delicious alternative made with pain au chocolate. We’ve also tried the above recipe replacing the currants with chocolate coated raisins – a taste sensation!

Buttermilk Pie

This is a great recipe for Buttermilk Pie from the Hairy Bikers TV show. Buttermilk is the liquid part that separates away from the solid butter when we churn our Norfolk Butter. It makes a great marinade as it is slightly acidic, but can be used in many baking dishes too. This recipe is incredibly simple and very effective, combining the great tastes of vanilla and lemon in a light custardy, swirly mix. If you are having a “Delia cheat” moment, simply use a pre-made pastry base or you can use a crumbled biscuit base like for a cheesecake. Delicious!

 

Ingredients:

1 cup/250ml Nortons Dairy Buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup caster sugar (this quantity makes it very sweet – use less if you don’t have such a sweet tooth)
100gms Nortons Dairy Norfolk Butter, softened
5 eggs
2 tbsps/30gm plain flour
1 lemon – juice and rind
1 large pastry shell

Pre-heat oven to 200oC. To make, simply cream the butter and sugar together, then add the eggs one at a time. Add the remaining ingredients and pour into the pastry shell. Cook for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 180oC and cook for a further 40 minutes, or until firm. Serve with a sprig of mint and fresh whipped double cream (Nortons Dairy, of course!!).