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    Goat's Cheese with Home-pickled Grapes

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    Goat's Cheese with Home-pickled Grapes

    The grapes only take a few minutes, but must be left to mature for at least a week. They'll keep for several months.

    • Preparation time: 15 minutes, plus maturing
    • Total time: 24 minutes 25 minutes

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    • 2 bunches watercress
    • 2 small goat's cheeses such as Banon or St Marcellin
    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • Pickled grapes
    • 150g granulated sugar
    • 200ml white wine vinegar
    • 200ml aromatic white wine, such as a Riesling
    • 1 mild dried chilli, such as Italian sun-dried
    • 3 allspice berries
    • 1 tsp fennel seeds
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 300g small seedless grapes

    Method

    1. Put the sugar, vinegar, wine, chilli, allspice, fennel and bay leaf in a small saucepan. Set over a medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture comes up to a simmer. Simmer for 1 minute. Leave to cool until tepid.
    2. Meanwhile, wash the grapes and snip into small clusters. Pat dry on kitchen paper. Put in a sterilised preserving jar such as a 500g Kilner jar. Pour the syrup, spices and all, into the jar. Seal and store in the fridge for at least a week.
    3. Shortly before the start of the meal, put the watercress in a bowl, cover with damp kitchen paper and clingfilm and chill until needed. Bring the cheese up to room temperature.
    4. When ready to serve, toss the watercress with the olive oil and season to taste. Divide the cheese between the plates. Garnish with a dainty pile of watercress and a sprig of pickled grapes. Serve with oat biscuits or walnut bread.

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