Swedish soup and cheesy dipping sticks

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Västerbottensost is known as the ‘king of cheeses’ in Sweden, and has been made using the same secret recipe since 1872.  It was made by accident one day when Ulrika Eleonora Lindström, a dairy maid, was distracted from her work by a romantic interlude which caused the cheese to develop its unique character (it is aged for 14 months). Västerbottensost is available to buy in Waitrose, Ocado and Selfridges. The light, nutty flavour of cannellini beans along with aromatic rosemary is the perfect partner for those moreish cheese toasts, made with the Swedish cheese.

Find out more about Västerbottensost.

Rosemary and Bean Soup with Västerbottensost Toasts 2-1Rosemary and Bean Soup with Västerbottensost Toasts –  serves 4

Soup:  1 tbsp olive oil, 1 onion, roughly chopped, 2 garlic cloves, crushed, 400g can cannellini beans, drained, leaves picked from 1 rosemary sprig, 500ml vegetable broth, 100ml white wine, aalt and freshly ground black pepper, ½ lemon,  30g Västerbottensost, grated

Cheese toasts:  8 thin slices of sourdough bread, 1 tbsp soured cream, 120g Västerbottensost, grated, 30g butter

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion. Turn the heat down low and cook for 5-10 minutes until starting to soften. Stir in the garlic, cannellini beans and rosemary leaves and continue to cook for a couple of minutes.

Pour in the stock and wine and bring to the boil. Season well then cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Allow the soup to cool a little and then use a stick blender to whiz until smooth. Season to taste again, adding a squeeze of lemon juice to balance the flavour. Keep warm.

Put half the sliced bread on a board and spread over the soured cream evenly. Top with the cheese and put the other half of the bread on top. Slice each piece into thick fingers.

Put the butter into a frying pan and allow to melt over a low to medium heat. Fry the fingers, in batches, in the pan until golden on each side. Ladle the soup among four bowls, top with the grated cheese and a little black pepper and serve with the toasts.

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