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Saturday, 27 April 2013

Beetroot two-ways with goats cheese, honey and thyme

I bet that some of you have noticed the lack of an apostrophe in the ‘goats cheese’ in the title of this blog post. And I bet that it really annoyed some of you. That’s the funny thing about grammar and punctuation – they make people go crazy.

When I was writing this post I wasn’t sure where to put the apostrophe in ‘goats cheese’. Like any other normal person, I was pretty sure that I would find the answer easily on Google, and that would be the end of it. And then I could write another perfectly pleasant blog post about the many joys of my local Farmers’ Market. I had no idea that can of worms it would unleash. It seems that there is no consensus on the placement of the apostrophe: on the BBC website it is goat’s cheese and on UKTV Food it is goats’ cheese. On Twitter I asked Xanthe Clay and Felicity Cloake and they both said Goat’s Cheese, but I wasn’t convinced.

This is what happened on Facebook to my question of goat’s cheese or goats’ cheese?
- Goat cheese. Problem solved!
- That may be good enough for Americans, but it isn't English!

- Capric cheese.

- The Cheese of goats?

- If the cheese belonged to the goat, then it would be goat's... If it was made from a goat but didn't belong to it, it would be goats'... Right????
- if the single cheese was made from a single goat it would definitely be goat's cheese. Other than that I have no idea.
- I'd go with goats' cheese as you can't guarantee its the cheese from a single goat

- I'd say goats' cheese!
- Not sure why but I find this thread really funny!
- Depends, do you want to give it back to them?
- I would have thought *goats cheese*. Have just looked in the fridge to find Goats milk yoghurt and Goat's Cheese. Maybe there isn't just one answer??

- Once had a long conversation with my in-laws in a restaurant over what the menu meant by "a small goat's cheese salad"

- Goat's cheese. Cheese of the goat species. Or just be pretentious and say 'chèvre'.                 
- The cheese doesn't belong to the goat. The milk did, so that would be goat's milk or goats' milk. Now it's turned into cheese, the goat in question is an adjective rather than a genitive noun. Therefore I would go with goat cheese or goats cheese but wouldn't put an apostrophe.
- Neither, as the goat in question does not posses the cheese. It’s not spring's water or olive's oil, is it? Ergo, it is Goat Cheese.

I decided to go with goats cheese. If you disagree, please let me know. But to be honest, I would much rather talk about food than grammar. And I would much rather eat goats cheese then think about how to punctuate it.


100g creamy goats cheese
2 beetroots – golden if you can get hold of them
Olive oil
Rocket leaves
Fresh spinach – or similar sweet, dark green leaf, like winter purslane
2 tsp. honey
3 sprigs fresh thyme, lemon thyme or a mixture
2 tsp. white wine or cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 180c

Beetroot 1: Rinse the beetroot and scrub off any dirt, but don’t peel. Slice it into 4 or 6 wedges running lengthways. Drizzle lightly with oil and sprinkle with salt. Wrap the wedges loosely in foil and bake for about 40 minutes, until soft. Slice each of these wedges in half again once cooked. Keep warm until ready to serve.

Beetroot 2: Peel one of the beetroots and slice it as thinly as possible – use a mandolin if you have one. Make sure that your slices are going horizontally, so that you get a beautiful ring of colour in every slice. Put the slices in a bowl and toss with a little bit of oil, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Dressing: In a small bowl, mix the honey with a little bit of boiling water to loosen it, and add the thyme leaves to steep. When cool, mix in the vinegar.

Goats cheese: Depending on the consistency of the cheese, either crumble or cut into small squares.

Leaves: Wash in cold water and dry – use a salad spinner if you have one.

Assemble: Build salad in this order – Large flat plate, leaves, beetroot 2, goats cheese, beetroot 1, dressing.


  1. Good decision, I in apostrophe denial myself

    1. Thanks!! Apostrophes are so annoying, what's worse is I have started noticing their (mis)usage everywhere!