Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dairy has endless possibilities.

I have really only scraped the surface of making cheese and other dairy products. The soft cheese is on hold till I procure an old fridge to use as a substitute for the awesome railway tunnels and caves in use all over Europe. That or I bury a shipping container under Lantanaland and use half for cheese and the other half as headquarters to rule the world.

This week has been a bit pressed for time to make cheese, so I was after something quick and simple to utilize the available milk. Making yoghurt is easy, but fiddly to do in small batches. Yoghurt in a large batch is easy thanks to the dream pot, essentially a stock pot wrapped in a large thermos.

Sally Lynch, cooking school guru, herdsharer and tastetrekker makes labneh, a middle eastern soft fresh cheese from yoghurt and had mentioned how good it was made from Lantanaland yoghurt so I thought I'd give that a go. All you do is set the milk into yoghurt, which i do for 12 hours in the dreampot. Then ladle into a cheesecloth bag and let drain for another 12 hours.

The taste? Wow. A tart cream cheese. Fantastic spread on a muffin for a morning snack. I'm also wondering what it would be like in a set cheesecake. Or in a spinach pie. The possibilities are endless (and I'll take recipe ideas in the comments if you've got them).

It will definitely be a fixture in the fridge here from now on, that's for sure.

- MF from my iPhone

Location:Needham Rd,Luscombe,Australia

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I Love My Job

Sometimes you just can't believe how lucky you can get. For those that don't know, I work for a butcher supply company, which gives me access to a whole bunch of interesting small goods manufacturers and butchers, not to mention bulk spices and other things I can use in the kitchen at Lantanaland.

We have a small test kitchen at work, with a mincer, hand sausage filler, brine pump and slicer and I have enjoyed learning and experimenting with our products at work. The chorizo fresh sausage would have to be my favourite.

Recently we managed by a bit of good luck to score a second hand commercial oven, and the GM decided that it would be good for myself and Spud the machinery manager to learn how to cook everything that could be cooked in a smokehouse. This is the older model of the smokehouse we sell, so it would benefit the company greatly for us to have this knowledge, but I was not exactly reluctant to try everything out.

So far we have done, boneless ham, 4x4 ham, frankfurt, kabana, franksy (made when I acccidently combined the kransky and frankfurt mixes together), cooked mettwurst salami, smoked and brined chickens and chilli beer sticks.

Just because we had the smokehouse there, I've done two big batches of smoked tomatoes as well, which add a depth of flavour to lamb shanks, bolognese or a pizza sauce that has to be tried to be believed.

Next week we will be trying a full leg ham and for an experiment, lamb ham, a pumped cured and smoked leg of lamb. Cant wait for those sandwiches next week.

Yep. I love my job.

- MF from my iPhone

Location:Vadals Test Kitchen