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An amazing way to start the meal – or even just the sexy snack in front of the TV.

It's great because it scarcely costs anything. And it brings everybody together as they dip things into the melted cheese.

Take a camembert – there normally about 5 inches diameter.

Take it out of the box and remove it from the waxed paper. Replace the waxed paper with ordinary baking paper and then put it back into the box.

It's a good idea to tie a ribbon or a piece of string around the box in case it springs open in the oven – leaving you with a huge pool of melted camembert at the bottom of your oven.

You don't need the top of the box.

Skin the top of the camembert so that you remove about the top millimetre of skin just exposing the cheese underneath. You don't need to be too careful about this.

Then take one clove of garlic – slice it up recently finally and put the slices straight up into the camembert so it looks a bit like a cluttered Stonehenge – or a cemetery!

Sprinkle with herbs de Provence. Fresh sprigs of thyme a very good. Sprinkle a spoonful or two of olive oil – or even a couple of tablespoonfuls of white wine – or both (why not) wine first and then olive oil. If you are using wind then it's probably a good idea to pierce the camembert various places to allow the wine to penetrate.

You could leave it for two or three hours to let some of the garlic and herb flavours penetrate the cheese.

Put it in the oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile cut up short 2 inch thin sticks of celery, red pepper, carrot – to use for dipping/poking into the melted cheese.

At the same time as putting the camembert into the oven, get some French bread/baguette cut up into smallish chunks and sprinkled with a little oil and put that into the oven in a dish as well for about 20 minutes. Probably down towards the bottom of the oven.

When it comes out the bread will be toasted and crisp and full of flavour. Use that to dip into the cheese as well.

This is so easy and so cheap it's worth doing a couple or even more camembert's. Put one into the oven, 15 minutes later put another one in, 15 minutes after that put another one. 20 minutes each. So that you've got a good turnover of camembert cheeses to replenish each one as they are used.

At the end you will have basically speaking the skin of the camembert left over. Don't throw this away. Use it in a broccoli soup or something else and liquidise in.


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