Archive for the ‘Cheese’ Category

My new toy

June 25, 2013

I’ve been making yoghurt for some time and now I’m making cottage cheese. A batch of each every week. To heat the milk I’ve been using a mercury-in-glass thermometer, a relic of my laboratory working days. Not a good idea, as glass can be broken and mercury is toxic. Before my luck ran out and I found myself having to throw out mercury contaminated milk, or crawl round on the floor trying to scoop up globules of mercury (have you ever wondered why it’s called quicksilver?), I decided it would be a good idea to buy a proper cheese thermometer.

It arrived yesterday. I bought it from Green Living Australia.

I’m pleased with it. It has a dial gauge and a clip that attaches to the side of the pot:

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The dial is small but readable (with glasses on):

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I made yoghurt and cottage cheese this morning. Cottage cheese curds floating on the whey:

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Curds draining:

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Lunch. Cottage cheese and red cabbage kimchi:

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Depending on the draining time, a litre of milk makes around 200-250 gm of cheese. That costs out at around $4-5 a kilo if I buy supermarket milk at $1 per litre. I priced a couple of supermarket cheese brands at around $14 a kilo. The home-made stuff doesn’t have all the additives which is another thing in its favour. Suits my budget nicely!

I usually freeze the whey and use it wherever I can. Today I made Thermomix risotto, so used the whey instead of chicken stock.

Bread & cheese on a wet day

June 13, 2013

We had 47 mm of rain on the first day of June; just over the June average for Melbourne. Then another 23 mm by the end of the following week, 20 mm last night and it’s been raining all day today. The gauge is visible from the bathroom window and it looks like another 20 mm so far. The 3 pools at the rear of the property are brimming. I’d be happy if I was a duck but I’m not. The chooks are disgusted; they’ve been confined all day to the only bit of their playground that’s covered by a tarpaulin and their holes are just puddles. But not muddy ones thankfully; the soil is sandy and water drains quickly, so I don’t expect any cases of chookfootrot.

It was obvious no outside work was going to be done today, but I had a batch of bread lined up to make and also some cottage cheese. I’m making the cheese weekly now, using the recipe from Green Gavin’s e-book, Keep Calm and Make Cheese. It’s a bargain, downloadable from Gavin’s blogsite for just a few dollars, as are his other e-books.

The bread turned out fine:

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As did the cheese. Here it is draining in the sieve:

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From a litre of milk I get 200-250 gm of cheese, depending on how long it drains. I keep and freeze the whey to use as stock:

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The cheese has a lovely fresh taste and it’s free of all the additives in the commercially made stuff. One day I’m going to have a go at a hard cheese.

Out in the garden, I’ve been making more hugelkultur beds from sticks, raked-up litter and leaves. The bed I made last year has been invaded by fungi which is good because it means the underlying wood is being broken down:

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I’ve been adding wood ash and chook poo compost to the bed and I’m hoping to get a good crop of pumpkins from it this summer.

The garlic and potato onions I bought from Yelwek Farm earlier in the year are growing well. The garlic took a long time to eventually sprout but it’s OK now:

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These are the brown potato onions. The nets are to keep the blackbirds off. Their constant digging is driving me crazy:

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There’s not much else happening at the moment. It is winter after all. I’ve planted Sebago, Desiree and Kipfler seed potatoes and still getting lots of greens and two (small) heads of broccoli. It’s almost the winter solstice and time to think about what tomato varieties I’ll be sowing this year. I may wait another month and start sowing in July. Time to get out the seed bank and do some sorting out.