Tag: Cheese

Blessed Are The Cheesemakers

 Hey People of the Internet,

I’ve been making cheese.  Actually I made cheese a long time ago and then totally forgot to post it.  But, I am thinking of stepping once more into the breach and it inspired me to hunt this down and get it out.

mozzarella2 To get me started, I bought a Mad Millie Italian Cheese Making Kit which came with all the bits and bobs, you need, the cheese cloth, the thermometer, a ricotta mould, citric acid, rennet, steriliser, etc as well as recipes for mozzarella, ricotta, salted ricotta, burrata and mascarpone.   You can of course do it without the kit and there are some recipes below but I found the kit was very useful in pulling together all the items listed above. 

mad-millie italian cheesemaking kitAll I needed to buy was the milk. They recommend you buy unhomogenised milk –  i.e milk where the milk and cream are still separate.  I thought this might be difficult to find but my local supermarket stocked it.

Now make way for a super thrilling picture of milk heating.   Here it is, if you can stand the heat, milk in a saucepan. Oh, the cream blobs I’ve circled?  Are actually blobs of cream.  That’s about as exciting as the first part of cheesemaking gets!

mozzarella-making1Once your milk gets up to temperature, pop in your rennet and citric acid.  And wait a bit. Your milk mix will thicken into gel like consistency. 

mozzarella-making3Now  get your knife  and slash away.  If you want to make that noise from Psycho, go right ahead.  After all, you’ve just spent twenty minutes watching milk heat.  You deserve it. 

And now you have…no, not a dead girl in the bathtub but some slashed up curds and whey.

mozzarella-making4You then stir some more, heat them some more until they start to look kind of like melted cheese:

mozzarella-making5Next up, pour the entire mix into a colander lined with cheesecloth.  The whey will run off and the curds will remain in the cloth.  I deft you not to think of Little Miss Muffet when you are separating curds and whey. 

Tuffet optional.

mozzarella-making6Now take a handful of curds.  Drop them in hot water to let them melt a bit.

Now stretch.

Not like this:

stretch

Like this:

 

mozzarella-making7And when you’re done stretching, form a ball. 

mozzarella-making8Then drop your balls in ice-cold water….

And you’re done!  Fresh delicious mozzarella.  Perfect for your next pizza or why not try my cheesy eggplant and salami sandwiches?

mozzarella2I also made some ricotta:

ricottaUntil I made it,  I never realised how much milk you need to make cheese.    I think I used  two litres of milk for the mozzarella and I got five fairly small balls (bigger than a golf ball, smaller than a tennis ball) of mozzarella.  With the ricotta, I used a litre of milk and got the cheese shown above which even taking my huge man-sized  hands into account, is not all that much!  Still, it is a great experience and not at all hard to do – the ricotta was even easier to make than the mozzarella. 

In a few weeks, I will be trying my hand at goat’s curd but shh don’t tell my book club, it’s a surprise!

Have a wonderful week!

PS…you didn’t think you were getting a post on cheese making without this did you?

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Cowboys, Caviar, Casseroles and Cocktails

Dear readers

I had such high hopes for this post.  Then they were totally dashed by a twist of fate that…well…I guess if I’d seen it coming it wouldn’t be a twist would it?  But I’m jumping ahead of myself.  First, I was totally delighted when Greg from Recipes4Rebels asked if I would join in a cookalong for Cowboy Day!  This event occurs on the fourth Saturday of July each year and is celebrated all over the world! 

Cowboy Caviar 1Obviously, this is not the fourth Saturday in July, however, as I will be sunning myself on the beach at Sanur in Bali that day, with Greg’s blessing I am posting my ventures into Cowboy Cookin’ early!  And it’s a three course meal y’all. (Because 1 that’s how cowboy’s talk and 2 cocktails are a course aren’t they?  This one is almost a meal!  But again, getting ahead of myself!)

So now onto my foiled grand plans.  My idea was that I would find a cocktail called a Bali Cowboy – possibly a more tropical version of this cowboy cocktail and I would make it for my post and then, on the day itself, I would tweet another picture of me in Bali with with my Bali Cowboy and it would in a glass as big as my head and it would be blue and loaded with umbrellas and pineapple wedges and all the other tropical cocktail paraphenalia. 

Cowboy Caviar 2A quick google soon showed me that there is such a thing as a Bali Cowboy.  It is NOT a cocktail.  Turns out that a Bali Cowboy is a male prostitute who hangs around Kuta Beach willing to sell his services to any rich (ie all) Western women who care to pay for them. So, whilst I’m not 100% ruling out a photo of me with a Bali Cowboy on Cowboy Day, the likelihood of it happening has dropped significantly!

So, new ideas had to be found.  Starting with some caviar.  Because we’re classy cowboys!  It’s Cowboy Caviar of courseCowboy Caviar 4Where has this salad / dip been all my life?  If this is what cowboys eat, then I want to be a cowboy.  It’s all kinds of beans and corn and tomatoes and avocado . Truly delicious!  I loved this! 

So, for the second course, I went straight to the top.  And by that I mean Mr John Wayne himself.

John wayne casserole recipeTurns out The Duke and I share a love of eggs, cheese and chillies.  Now, just one thing about the John Wayne casserole…. To my mind, when you combine egg yolks to beaten egg whites with other stuff, in this instance cheese and chilli and you them put that in an oven and cook until it’s all puffed up and golden, that’s not so much a casserole as a soufflé. 

You be the judge:

John wayne casserole1I’ll sit quietly over here and let my case speak for itself. 

By the way, cooking this for an hour would be way too much.  You are seeing about 35 minutes and I think it was over.  I would cook this…half an hour max.  Also, the tomato didn’t do much.  I would actually leave it out and cook this for 20 minutes total. 

John Wayne casserole2The soufflé casserole was good but I think I was so blown away by the Cowboy Caviar that it kind of paled by comparison.  I will definitely make it again though!

John Wayne casserole3And now for my grand Cowboy finale, I am turning to to person who started all of this, yep, Greg.  This cocktail /dessert  is A-MAZING!  So, so good.  Cowboys and cowgirls, can I present, the Giant Martini! 

Giant Martini2There is no other word for this but absolutely divine! The giant in the Giant Martini doesn’t refer t to it’s size (but you could scale it up very easily)  but to the fact that it was created on the set of Giant by Liz Taylor and Rock Hudson.

Git along little doggie, this cocktail is all mine!

Giant MartiniAnd you too!

Giant Martini3jpgAh yes, Greg’s site on the PC, a cocktail in front of me and The A-Z of Cooking behind it.  Just a regular day round these parts!

Many, many thanks to Greg, this was so much fun!  Thank you so much for including me!  I always say this but you hear so much about the internet being a a horrible vicious place, I am always delighted and totally honoured to make new friends, like Greg, on here. 

Ok, I’ve gotta go, 5:30am start tomorrow!  But I’m loving and leaving you with some some super rhinestone cowboy singing!

Find out all about the Cowboy Day Cook A Long here.  Hopefully my attempts will inspire you to bigger and better things on the day!

The recipe for Cowboy Caviar I used came from Cookie and Kate.

The Giant Martini recipe is here.

Kiss me and smile for me, I’ll be back here in a couple of weeks but if you can’t smile without me, I’ll be tweeting and instagramming from Bali throughout.

Loving you, leaving you, now!

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Rothko Rarebit

This is a Rothko:

Yellow-and-Gold-Mark-Rothko-1956-e1404491464866And this is the Rothko Rarebit:

Rothko RarebitLooking for something quick and delish for breakfast, a lunch or a light supper or any of those meals in between? (I’m eyeballing you brinner.)

Have only one piece of bread in the house and can’t decide if you want egg on toast or grilled cheese?

Have only ten minutes to make it?

Well, with the Rothko Rarebit you can it all!  And with  – crispy toast, melty cheese, runny yolk….you might not be able to hang it on your wall but it is a work of culinary art!

And it comes with it’s very own round of toast for dunking!

Rothko Rarebit2I found the  recipe for Rothko Rarebit in Posh Eggs by Louise Hagger and it is has quickly become one of my go to meals for…well just about any time of day really!

Posh Eggs

The  hardest thing about cooking the Rothko Rarebit is getting the timing right.  Too long and your yolk is solid – not a bad thing in itself but that oozy egg yolk is A-MAZING!  Too short and your white is uncooked which, in my opinion is gross!  I had a play around with the timings to suit my oven and grill but start with what is given below and see how you go!

Also, if you can’t be bothered making the rarebit, potted cheese is a lovely substitute.  There is some beer in the original recipe – it’s only a tiny bit so should not cause any ill effects if you are having this for breakfast.  However, if you are at all worried by this, sub in some cream. 

Rothko Rarebit
A quick and delicious combination of grilled cheese and egg on toast which is a work of art on a plate.
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For The Garlic Toast
  1. 2 thick slices of bread
  2. 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  3. 10g butter, softened plus an additional 5 grams
For The Rarebit
  1. 1 egg yolk
  2. 1 tsp Hot English Mustard
  3. 70g finely grated mature Cheddar
  4. 1 tbsp beer
  5. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  6. dash of Tabasco
For The Rarebit
  1. Mix the egg yolk, mustard, cheese, beer, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco sauce together in a bowl. Set aside.
For The Toast
  1. Preheat your grill to high.
  2. Mix the crushed garlic with 10g of butter
  3. Butter both sides of the bread with the garlic butter mixture.
  4. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium high heat, place the bread in the pan and cook for a minute until the butter down side is golden-brown.
  5. Flip the bread over and toast the other side.
  6. Remove the bread slices from the pan and, using a 5cm round cookie cutter, cut a hole in the centre of each piece of bread.
  7. Set aside the toast holes
  8. Place the bread slices back into the frying pan and place a dab of butter into the centre of each hole.
  9. Allow the butter to melt then crack an egg into each hole.
  10. Leave for 1-2 minutes or until the whites look as if they are halfway set.
  11. Using a fish slice, carefully flip the slices over.
  12. Cook for another 1-2 minutes until the white has set.
  13. Transfer to a baking sheet.
  14. Spread the rarebit mixture onto each of the toasts and place under the grill.
  15. Check every 30 seconds.
  16. After the first 30 seconds, add the toast rounds.
  17. After the second 30 seconds flip the toast rounds over if necessary.
  18. Keep checking every 30 seconds until the rarebit is golden, melted and bubbly.
  19. Serve immediately.
Adapted from Posh Eggs by Louise Hagger
Adapted from Posh Eggs by Louise Hagger
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
 Eeeek.. This time next week I will be in Bali!  I just had a quick sneaky peek at the weather and it’s 29°C there at the moment.  In comparison here, it’s 8°C. I cannot wait to feel the sun on my skin. 

But so  much to do before I go!  I’ve got at least two posts that are screaming to be posted before I leave. I also have a HUGE personal decision to make between now and then, which is kind of taking over all my waking…and sleeping…thoughts. I always feel when bloggers say this, it either means a baby or a book.  Well, it’s neither, just some work decisions.

But this is the level of my distraction.  Last night I made the most delicious meal which was bound for these pages, took all my photos, ate every last crumb and nearly licked the plate it was so good.  A couple of hours later, I went to the pantry for a snack and realised I had left THE most important ingredient totally out of the dish!

Doh!!!!  Facepalm!!!!

Good thing it was delicious, now I have really good reason to make it again!

Rothko Rarebit4Hope your week isn’t too distracting.  Have a good one.  I’ll be back in a couple of days with the next instalment from The A-Z of Cooking!

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Potted Cheese – Delicious Food, Impossible Ingredients

Hey there people of the internet! 

Take a look at this super delicious snack plate.  Good at any time – but my favourite? A snack plate, a sunny Sunday afternoon,sitting on my balcony with  a good book and a cheeky glass of wine =  heaven!

Potted Cheese 7

The star of this particular snack plate is some potted cheese.  .  

Which sadly relies on two ingredients that may as well be unicorn’s tears and dragon’s blood for the times they have ever been available in this kitchen.  Just one of them is nigh on a miracle and as for both, you had better go outside and look up because that moon out there will be bluer than Tobias Funke! 

So what are these two magical, nigh on mythical substances?

  • Leftover cheese
  • Leftover wine

Whoever has them?  No one I want as a friend!

My cheeses were the remnants….actually it even pains me to say that.  The cheeses were items from a cheese platter (probably the previous weeks snacking plate) that I had  just not got around to eating yet. And I cheated and opened a bottle of wine to make this.

Potted CheeseI used a goat’s cheese, a blue cheese, a pecorino pepato and some cheddar.  You can use any cheese you have. 

First up, place all your bits of cheese into a food processor and whiz it up!  Then add in your flavourings – I added port, a splash of red wine, Worchestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and then, because it was a little dry after the first whiz through, a little more port and a bit of cream.  My recipe is based on a classic one by Jane Grigson but you can play with the flavourings to suit your palate and your mix of cheese.

Potted Cheese2

Once you have whizzed it all up , pop it into a pot:

Potted Cheese3

The next step is optional but traditionally the pot was then sealed with a layer of clarified butter:

Potted Cheese 4Why Potted Cheese?

The idea behind potted cheese is simple.  Back in the day when refrigeration was not as it is today, cheese was far more perishable than now. Potting your ends of cheese prolonged it’s life – I’m guessing the booze helped to preserve it whilst the clarified butter seal stopped bacteria getting in. 

Nowadays, it is done more because it tastes delicious than for the preserving factor.

Potted Cheese 8

What Can You Do With Potted Cheese?

OMG, so much.  Have it on crackers with a glass of wine! Quick, easy, delicious.  

Potted Cheese 9

Replace regular cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich!  Here is my salami, potted cheese, red onion and tomato version. With a pickle to add some sharpness. 

So much oozy goodness!

Potted Cheese 5I haven’t made these next lot but I think potted cheese would be delicious used in the following ways:

  • Replace sour cream in a baked potato.  Or add it to chips and gravy for a take on a poutine. 
  • Saute some bacon or steam some broccoli (or do both), cook up some pasta, top with potted cheese and stir through the bacon or broccoli
  • Fill celery sticks, add a topping of chopped walnuts
  • Replace crackers on a snack plate with slices of apple or pear
  • Heat up a dollop, add some more cream if necesary and use as a mornay  or gratin sauce over anything you want to mornay or gratin
  • Spread it on bread, make up a savory custard and you have a super strata to go!

Potted Cheese
A delicious way to use up leftover cheese and wine! I
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Ingredients
  1. 250g cheese - whatever you have.
  2. 90g softened butter
  3. 2 generous Tablespoons Verdelho Madeira, tawny Port or Amontillado Sherry or wine
  4. 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or Tabasco)
  5. ¼ teaspoon mace, (optional)
  6. 1/2 teaspoon dry or prepared mustard
  7. A splash of Worcestershire
  8. Melted clarified butter (optional)
Instructions
  1. Whiz all the ingredients except the clarified butter in a food processor until it forms a thick paste.
  2. Place into small pots.
  3. Top with the clarified butter and place in the fridge for 24 hours to allow the flavours to develop
Notes
  1. I added a splash of cream because my mix was quite dry and I thought adding more wine or port would make it too boozy. (Yes, there is such a thing!).
Adapted from Jane Grigson
Adapted from Jane Grigson
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
So, it’s Sunday and whilst not balcony sitting weather at all, I’ve got the fire going and Hollow City, the second book of  Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children good to go, so excuse me, I have a potted cheese snack plate to prepare!  Dammit! Speaking of YA literature just made me realise  I should have saved this for when The Cursed Child, the new Harry Potter comes out.  I could have filled it with Harry Potter of cheese gags!  Stay tuned for the re-post!

Have a fab week! 

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Cucumber Catamaran with Carrot Paprika Balls

They say the devil will find work for idle hands to do.

And when I say they, I mean Messrs Morrissey, Marr…and….ermmmm…. the other two.  AKA The Smiths.  I’m not sure where the original quote for that comes from.  Shakespeare? The Bible?

Wouldn’t it be fabulous if I had a little box and I could type questions into it and get almost instantaneous answers to questions like who were the other two and where did that quote come from? 

But, no time for that sort of sorcery right now….these idle hands built a boat!!!

Not a real boat, I haven’t spent my holidays tinkering around the backyard with a hammer and some hickory barky bark, but a boat nonetheless.  A catamaran to be exact!

Remember when I made the Hayman Island Chicken Salad? That post contains this photo amazing photo of a catamaran table. 

Hayman Island BuffetAnd now, in the spirit of a Russian Doll, imagine a  smaller catamaran.  Maybe one that could be placed on the catamaran table, filled with some cheesy balls o’ goodness.

Et voila…

Cucumber Boat 4The cucumber catamaran. 

Now, I”m not saying she’s the best looking boat in the world.  She’s a bit wonky.  But she is quite obviously a boat. 

Cucumber Boat 3In case you need some work for your idle hands, here’s how to make your own:

 Cucumber CatamaranThe paprika carrot balls weren’t bad either…recipe below…

The Smiths are one of my favorite bands ever.  I spent countless hours of angsty teenage emotional turmoil locked in my bedroom listening to “How Soon Is Now” and “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out”,  countered only by and the sheer manic malicious exuberance of “Panic”.

So here’s a little treat for me you!

This week,  I’ll be “spending my warm summer days indoors, writing frightening verse to a buck tooth girl in Luxembourg”…

Otherwise known as doing this. Which I guess makes you my bucktooth girl. 

Where ever you are.

Have a great one!

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Paprika Carrot Balls
A yummy retro appetizer, best served in a Cucumber Catamaram
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large carrot, finely grated
  2. 150g cream cheese
  3. 1/4 cup finely chopped toasted walnuts
  4. Smoked paprika
  5. Salt & Pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix carrot, walnuts, and cheese.
  2. Season to taste.
  3. Form into marble sized balls.
  4. Chill.
  5. Lightly dust with paprika.
  6. Serve in a cucumber catamaran with crackers as an appetizer.
  7. Alternatively, serve with grilled meat.
Notes
  1. I used a Herb and Garlic Boursin to boost the flavour in my balls.
  2. Feel free to snicker at will.
  3. If you don't want to make the boat, these can be served in a lettuce cup.
Adapted from Rosemary Mayne-Wilson, Salads For All Seasons
Adapted from Rosemary Mayne-Wilson, Salads For All Seasons
Retro Food For Modern Times http://www.retrofoodformoderntimes.com/
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