Sunday, 12 May 2013

Perl Las and walnuts focaccia

I love browsing through Abel & Cole's range of products, and when I saw an unknown to me cheese Perl Las, I was curious to try it, especially that I have read about it recently in the Guardian's Weekend, as Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall (every time I mention his name, I have to check the right spelling and every time I get it wrong) praised it as one of his top three current cheese choices. I don't often follow his recipes, but use them more as an inspiration, and his Blue cheese, red onion and walnuts focaccia looked like a winner to me.
What is Perl Las?
According to Abel and Cole, "Once upon a time, in the heart of West Wales there was a family of cheese. Well, a family who have been making cheese for many years.
Gwynfor and Thelma Adams make this gorgeous organic blue cheese, Perl Las Blue entirely by hand. Some of the cast iron presses they use are over 100 years old. Vintage!" Sounds perfect.

Perl Las and walnuts focaccia
1 large onion, thinly sliced
165g Perl Las blue cheese
7 walnuts
2 tbsp pesto
Olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper
a dash of balsamic vinegar
a dash of brandy (optional)
for focaccia:
1 pack of focaccia & ciabatta mix (I used the Sainsbury's variety)
330ml water
30ml olive oil plus extra for coating
more flour
1 tbsp truffle oil (optional)

Start by placing the bread mix in a bowl and gradually adding the olive oil, water and truffle oil, first using the fork to combine it until you have a dough. Then dump the dough onto the well floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until it feels smooth and elastic.
Put it in the bowl, cover with a tea towel and place in a warm place for an hour or more. I think I kept mine for a few hours until I had time to work with it. By then it was well risen and fluffy. Drizzle a bit more olive oil on it and form a focaccia, sort of an uneven rectangle. Using a finger, poke the focaccia to make the dimples on its cheeks.
Slice the onion thinly and fry it in the pan with the olive oil, season a bit, add a dash of brandy and balsamic vinegar for the caramelised effect. 
Shell the walnuts and break them into segments.
Spread the pesto over the focaccia.
Decorate the focaccia with the onions and walnuts and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden. Take the focaccia out of the oven and crumble Perl Las cheese over it. Place it back in the oven, once the cheese has nicely melted, the focaccia is ready to be served.

Mine is a bastardised version of Hugh's recipe, to see his original recipe please follow this link Curd processor.

If you can't find any Perl Las, I'm sure a soft blue cheese like Gorgonzola Piccante or Dolcelatte would work as well. 

I would also love to bring your attention to the bread plate I used for the photo shoot, it is an antique Royal Crown Derby bread plate from 1840-80s. Isn't it pretty? I have bought it recently in the vintage shop. 

I'm adding my recipe to #PoCoLo linky on the inspirational Verily Victoria Vocalises blog.


  1. Oh my goodness, this looks AMAZING, I think this has to be the first thing I will cook in my new kitchen. I'm going to save this recipe. Love your plate find too, its beautiful. Thanks for linking to PoCoLo xx

  2. Thank you, ladies, it was very tasty. Tori, hope to see the photos of your new kitchen!