Alex James: The Great Escape

We were hosts to the British Cheese Awards on Friday. And so it was that 910 different varieties of cheese arrived at the farm on Thursday. It doesn't sound that bewildering, but a good delicatessen probably only carries a couple of dozen varieties. Mayhem, it was. A cavalcade of cars and couriers; crates of the stuff pouring up the drive. From every corner of the kingdom they came, from Cornish Yarg to Orkney Cheddar, Lincolnshire Poacher to a highly prized Swiss-style cheese called Desmond from West Cork.

Grilled courgettes with scamorza

Serves 4

Picture Post: Rind and a rind: cheese rolling, 26.05.08

Along with hundreds of others, Christopher Anderson yesterday braved the torrential rain of a Gloucestershire hillside to take part in a bizarre local custom: he ran down a near-vertical slope in pursuit of a round of cheese. Victorious, he was the first to seize it. But, in doing so, he picked up more than just a malodorous dairy product. The muddy, frenetic some might say downright lethal conditions on that hill eventually saw Anderson carted away on a spinal board by medics, following suspected injury to his back.

The resurgence of British cheese has boosted many farmers' incomes – and led to a new job

We may be the subject of European culinary ridicule, but nobody – not even Charles de Gaulle – could accuse the British of not being good at making cheese. With British Cheese Board putting the number of varieties in the UK at more than 700, it seems that the small-cheesemaker is on the rise.

Sprouting broccoli with garlic fondue

Serves 4

Buck rabbit

Serves 4

Cheese traditionalists taste victory in Camembert war

The Camembert civil war is over. For once, the small battalions have defeated the big cheeses.

Operation Sinbad: Mission failure casts doubt on entire British presence in Iraq

'Rogue elements', politics and lack of manpower in Basra clean-up make limitations of coalition forces frighteningly clear. By Raymond Whitaker

Eight killed as factional feuding erupts into Gaza gun battles

Eight Palestinians were killed and at least 50, including many civilians, were injured in Gaza yesterday in the worst outbreak of violence between Hamas and Fatah since the legislative elections last January.

Food & Drink notes

Barn storming; sachet along; cut above the rest; get a grip

Rocket pesto

Hot Rod Pin-ups, by David Perry

Welsh rabbit crumpets

Makes 8 crumpets
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Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
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