Cheeses from around the world are displayed here at jones the Grocer. Photo Courtesy TOH PR
The cheese room at Jones the Grocer in Abu Dhabi’s Khalidiyah neighbourhood features a wide array of choices from around the world.

Cheese: the superior slice



For a food that has only four main ingredients - milk, rennet, bacteria and salt - the breadth of the cheese spectrum really is quite staggering.

From meek and mild mozzarella, all clean, white and fresh, to buttery Brie, bursting with the vim and vigour of middle age, to the full-bodied, tangy blue varieties and wedges of vintage cheddar studded with salt crystals - cheese aficionados are never short on choice.

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In its purest, simplest form, cheese is concentrated milk, which has been curdled (normally by a coagulating agent) and drained of its whey. Cheese-making dates back some 5,000 years and travellers in the hot climes of Asia and the Middle East are generally credited with discovering that sour milk could be preserved by discarding the watery whey and salting the residual curd. How exactly they came to learn that this was achieved more efficiently if the process took place in an animal's stomach or in the presence of stomach matter (where the natural enzymes curdle the milk) is not entirely clear, but this use of rennet is vitally important in the history of cheese production.

Despite the short ingredients list, artisanal cheese-making is a complex business that requires specialised knowledge and equipment. Subtle variations in temperature, humidity and time, as well as the type of milk used, the diet of the animal, not to mention the presence of microbes (which add acidity and flavour), all play a role in determining the look and taste of the end result.

The recipe followed by the cheese producer is the most important determining factor, however, and these are often closely guarded secrets, which change hands for vast sums of money.

For the home cook wanting to get in on the action, basic paneer or cottage cheese is very easy to make. Simply bring two litres of milk to the boil in a large, heavy-based saucepan, add two tablespoons of lemon juice and stir gently. After a minute or so, the curds will start to coagulate and separate from the whey - at this point remove the pan from the heat. Suspend a sieve or colander lined with muslin cloth over a large bowl, strain the liquid through the sieve, tie the corners of the muslin together and hang to drip above a bowl or sink for a couple of hours. You should end up with a mild, delicate cheese with a dense crumbly texture.

Try serving it drizzled with olive oil, black pepper and lemon zest, with honey or toasted nuts in the morning, or, of course, with Indian spices.

Now, that's all well and good for a spot of amateur dabbling, but what about the serious stuff? How does a milky, pure cheese transform into the stinky, vaguely sweaty, fearsomely flavoured blue varieties that cause arguments across the dinner table? What, in essence, makes a blue cheese blue? Those distinctive coloured veins that permeate these cheeses are caused, for the most part, by the addition of cultures of penicillium.

Once mould cultures have been added to a partially aged cheese, a process known as needling begins. The surface of the cheese is pierced several times, allowing air to enter and feed the mould, which in turn causes the blue veins to thread their way through the wheel.

Protective AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) laws dictate that only penicillium roqueforti, from the cool, humid caves of Mount Combalou in France, can be used to make true Roquefort cheese.

In the UK, the production of Stilton, the granddad of all British cheeses, also has its own certification trademark and is an EU Protected Food Name, meaning it can be produced only in the English counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

Other stipulations, set out on the official Stilton cheese website (www.stiltoncheese.com), dictate that it must be made with locally produced, pasteurised milk, should be cylindrical in shape and must never be pressed or allowed to form its own crust.

It seems that cheese producers are a territorial bunch. Under EU law, Greek feta also holds PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status, meaning that in order for a white-brined curd cheese to have the moniker "feta" bestowed upon it, it must be made in a specific region of the country, following traditional methods. This means that, if you hadn't already guessed it, those little tubs sold in supermarkets and labelled "white cheese" aren't the real deal.

When it comes to imitations or close relations, confusion often arises over the difference between Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano. While they are both Italian favourites, pecorino is made from ewe's milk (pecora meaning sheep) and tends to have a sharper, slightly less salty flavour. Parmigiano, on the other hand, is a harder, more granular cheese with a fruitier taste that develops with age. Provided you steer clear of the travesty that is a little shaker pot filled with the pre-grated stuff, the two can be used interchangeably when cooking, without affecting the end result too much.

But this certainly isn't true of all cheeses, and it's worth noting that not all of them are made to be melted. The Cheddars, Gruyères and Emmentals of this world are well-suited to the task and will dissipate over a piece of toast nicely when placed under the grill. Attempts to do the same with paneer, ricotta, or halloumi, though, and you're likely to be left disappointed: no matter how high the heat, these cheeses refuse to be reduced to a molten mass.

This does, of course, have its benefits - think slivers of fried halloumi, with their salty, golden brown crust, cubes of paneer simmered in a buttery masala sauce or ricotta mixed with wilted spinach and stuffed into ravioli cases.

As a general rule, the best way to store most cheeses (halloumi and feta not included) is by loosely wrapping them in wax paper. Cling film or tight plastic wrapping will make the cheese sweat and can cause (undesirable) bacteria to form.

Although it is safest to store them in the fridge, if you want your board to impress, make sure you bring the cheese to room temperature before serving. When a cheese is fridge cold, the milk fats solidify and the proteins stiffen, which both impairs the overall flavour and makes the texture rubbery.

David Haye record

Total fights: 32
Wins: 28
Wins by KO: 26
Losses: 4

MATCH INFO

Manchester United 2 (Heaton (og) 42', Lindelof 64')

Aston Villa 2 (Grealish 11', Mings 66')

FA Cup semi-final draw

Coventry City v Manchester United 

Manchester City v Chelsea

- Games to be played at Wembley Stadium on weekend of April 20/21. 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

Sri Lanka-India Test series schedule

1st Test July 26-30 in Galle

2nd Test August 3-7 in Colombo

3rd Test August 12-16 in Pallekele

How to play the stock market recovery in 2021?

If you are looking to build your long-term wealth in 2021 and beyond, the stock market is still the best place to do it as equities powered on despite the pandemic.

Investing in individual stocks is not for everyone and most private investors should stick to mutual funds and ETFs, but there are some thrilling opportunities for those who understand the risks.

Peter Garnry, head of equity strategy at Saxo Bank, says the 20 best-performing US and European stocks have delivered an average return year-to-date of 148 per cent, measured in local currency terms.

Online marketplace Etsy was the best performer with a return of 330.6 per cent, followed by communications software company Sinch (315.4 per cent), online supermarket HelloFresh (232.8 per cent) and fuel cells specialist NEL (191.7 per cent).

Mr Garnry says digital companies benefited from the lockdown, while green energy firms flew as efforts to combat climate change were ramped up, helped in part by the European Union’s green deal. 

Electric car company Tesla would be on the list if it had been part of the S&P 500 Index, but it only joined on December 21. “Tesla has become one of the most valuable companies in the world this year as demand for electric vehicles has grown dramatically,” Mr Garnry says.

By contrast, the 20 worst-performing European stocks fell 54 per cent on average, with European banks hit by the economic fallout from the pandemic, while cruise liners and airline stocks suffered due to travel restrictions.

As demand for energy fell, the oil and gas industry had a tough year, too.

Mr Garnry says the biggest story this year was the “absolute crunch” in so-called value stocks, companies that trade at low valuations compared to their earnings and growth potential.

He says they are “heavily tilted towards financials, miners, energy, utilities and industrials, which have all been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic”. “The last year saw these cheap stocks become cheaper and expensive stocks have become more expensive.” 

This has triggered excited talk about the “great value rotation” but Mr Garnry remains sceptical. “We need to see a breakout of interest rates combined with higher inflation before we join the crowd.”

Always remember that past performance is not a guarantee of future returns. Last year’s winners often turn out to be this year’s losers, and vice-versa.

JOKE'S ON YOU

Google wasn't new to busting out April Fool's jokes: before the Gmail "prank", it tricked users with mind-reading MentalPlex responses and said well-fed pigeons were running its search engine operations .

In subsequent years, they announced home internet services through your toilet with its "patented GFlush system", made us believe the Moon's surface was made of cheese and unveiled a dating service in which they called founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page "Stanford PhD wannabes ".

But Gmail was all too real, purportedly inspired by one – a single – Google user complaining about the "poor quality of existing email services" and born "millions of M&Ms later".

Super Saturday race card

4pm: Mahab Al Shimaal Group 3 | US$350,000 | (Dirt) | 1,200m
4.35pm: Al Bastakiya Listed | $300,000 | (D) | 1,900m
5.10pm: Nad Al Sheba Turf Group 3 | $350,000 | (Turf) | 1,200m
5.45pm: Burj Nahaar Group 3 | $350,000 | (D) | 1,600m
6.20pm: Dubai City of Gold Group 2 | $300,000 | (T) | 2,410m
6.55pm: Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 Group 1 | $600,000 | (D) | 2,000m
7.30pm: Jebel Hatta Group 1 | $400,000 | (T) | 1,800m

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The bio

Favourite food: Japanese

Favourite car: Lamborghini

Favourite hobby: Football

Favourite quote: If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough

Favourite country: UAE

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

RECORD BREAKER

Youngest debutant for Barcelona: 15 years and 290 days v Real Betis
Youngest La Liga starter in the 21st century: 16 years and 38 days v Cadiz
Youngest player to register an assist in La Liga in the 21st century: 16 years and 45 days v Villarreal
Youngest debutant for Spain: 16 years and 57 days v Georgia
Youngest goalscorer for Spain: 16 years and 57 days
Youngest player to score in a Euro qualifier: 16 years and 57 days

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

The bio

Studied up to grade 12 in Vatanappally, a village in India’s southern Thrissur district

Was a middle distance state athletics champion in school

Enjoys driving to Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah with family

His dream is to continue working as a social worker and help people

Has seven diaries in which he has jotted down notes about his work and money he earned

Keeps the diaries in his car to remember his journey in the Emirates

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Indika

Developer: 11 Bit Studios
Publisher: Odd Meter
Console: PlayStation 5, PC and Xbox series X/S
Rating: 4/5

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000
Batti Gul Meter Chalu

Producers: KRTI Productions, T-Series
Director: Sree Narayan Singh
Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Divyenndu Sharma, Yami Gautam
Rating: 2/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The years Ramadan fell in May

1987

1954

1921

1888

How to keep control of your emotions

If your investment decisions are being dictated by emotions such as fear, greed, hope, frustration and boredom, it is time for a rethink, Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, says.

Greed

Greedy investors trade beyond their means, open more positions than usual or hold on to positions too long to chase an even greater gain. “All too often, they incur a heavy loss and may even wipe out the profit already made.

Tip: Ignore the short-term hype, noise and froth and invest for the long-term plan, based on sound fundamentals.

Fear

The risk of making a loss can cloud decision-making. “This can cause you to close out a position too early, or miss out on a profit by being too afraid to open a trade,” he says.

Tip: Start with a plan, and stick to it. For added security, consider placing stops to reduce any losses and limits to lock in profits.

Hope

While all traders need hope to start trading, excessive optimism can backfire. Too many traders hold on to a losing trade because they believe that it will reverse its trend and become profitable.

Tip: Set realistic goals. Be happy with what you have earned, rather than frustrated by what you could have earned.

Frustration

Traders can get annoyed when the markets have behaved in unexpected ways and generates losses or fails to deliver anticipated gains.

Tip: Accept in advance that asset price movements are completely unpredictable and you will suffer losses at some point. These can be managed, say, by attaching stops and limits to your trades.

Boredom

Too many investors buy and sell because they want something to do. They are trading as entertainment, rather than in the hope of making money. As well as making bad decisions, the extra dealing charges eat into returns.

Tip: Open an online demo account and get your thrills without risking real money.

I Care A Lot

Directed by: J Blakeson

Starring: Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage

3/5 stars

PRISCILLA

Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

Rating: 3/5

How to come clean about financial infidelity
  • Be honest and transparent: It is always better to own up than be found out. Tell your partner everything they want to know. Show remorse. Inform them of the extent of the situation so they know what they are dealing with.
  • Work on yourself: Be honest with yourself and your partner and figure out why you did it. Don’t be ashamed to ask for professional help. 
  • Give it time: Like any breach of trust, it requires time to rebuild. So be consistent, communicate often and be patient with your partner and yourself.
  • Discuss your financial situation regularly: Ensure your spouse is involved in financial matters and decisions. Your ability to consistently follow through with what you say you are going to do when it comes to money can make all the difference in your partner’s willingness to trust you again.
  • Work on a plan to resolve the problem together: If there is a lot of debt, for example, create a budget and financial plan together and ensure your partner is fully informed, involved and supported. 

Carol Glynn, founder of Conscious Finance Coaching

Iran's dirty tricks to dodge sanctions

There’s increased scrutiny on the tricks being used to keep commodities flowing to and from blacklisted countries. Here’s a description of how some work.

1 Going Dark

A common method to transport Iranian oil with stealth is to turn off the Automatic Identification System, an electronic device that pinpoints a ship’s location. Known as going dark, a vessel flicks the switch before berthing and typically reappears days later, masking the location of its load or discharge port.

2. Ship-to-Ship Transfers

A first vessel will take its clandestine cargo away from the country in question before transferring it to a waiting ship, all of this happening out of sight. The vessels will then sail in different directions. For about a third of Iranian exports, more than one tanker typically handles a load before it’s delivered to its final destination, analysts say.

3. Fake Destinations

Signaling the wrong destination to load or unload is another technique. Ships that intend to take cargo from Iran may indicate their loading ports in sanction-free places like Iraq. Ships can keep changing their destinations and end up not berthing at any of them.

4. Rebranded Barrels

Iranian barrels can also be rebranded as oil from a nation free from sanctions such as Iraq. The countries share fields along their border and the crude has similar characteristics. Oil from these deposits can be trucked out to another port and documents forged to hide Iran as the origin.

* Bloomberg


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