Sunday, March 27, 2011


I spent all weekend making cheese so I was pretty shagged when it came to Sunday dinner. Try this for a simple meal. Serves two, tired, not that hungry people.

Get a batch of ricotta, I used inari, a traditional Cypriot cheese made from whey, very similar to ricotta. I hade made it last weekend after making my best batch of haloumi, using the leftover whey.

Mix two eggs into the ricotta with a handful of finely grated Parmesan. I didn't have any, so I threw in some marinated feta for a bit of extra flavor. Whisk that up till it's smooth, adding a bit of salt and pepper to your tastes.

Get a sheet of puff pastry and quarter it. Spread the mix over each square leaving a 1cm border around the edge, about 1-2cm thick. Sprinkle over some sliced leeks and brush with melted butter. A few stripped thyme leaves and more cracked pepper and bake until the edge is nicely brown. Tasty.

I've been making more and more cheese for my Herdshare and for myself, learning along the way. But this was the real deal, a two day intensive course learning to make ricotta (whole milk and whey), cheddar, brie, chabichou, cheddar, mozzarella and quark. It was run by Graham Redhead an ex DPI guy who was raised on a dairy farm, has worked for a lot of big dairy industry companies and just, loves, cheese.

I was there thanks to The Wife, gorgeous creature that she is and the generosity of her family and one of my best mates who all chipped in for a Xmas present for me.

I was using a bit of Lantanaland milk so I was even busier than everyone else, as I was doing my thing and also helping out my partner on a lot of the cheeses. If definitely helped that I was the only person there that had made cheese before. I still had a lot to learn, especially about process and ways of getting stuff wrong. There are margins of error and there are definitely ways to err on the right side and it was good to know.

The cheddar and the mozzarella were the best. I'd made brie/camembert to a half decent level before, but had not really been that keen on cheddar, mainly because of the long aging times. But when you see the cloth bound wheels, you start dreaming of creating big ten kilo wheels of cheese that you can roll out at your leisure. I'm definitely investing in a cheese press.

Mozzarella was all about the confidence in the process. There are things that can go wrong pretty easily in the making but now I'm sure I can replicate a pretty good pizza cheese. And stretching and shaping the cheese is awesome fun.

All in all a great learning weekend that my herd sharers will appreciate for years to come I reckon. I am also going to hold a mini Cheesemaking day down here, to show off what I can do!

- MF from my iPad

Location:Some tafe training kitchen.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


I like sausages, I don’t care what people say they put in them, lips and a$%^holes as one colleague puts it, not too mention the jokes that even if you’re a vegetarian you can still eat sausages because there is no meat in them. I think it comes from a childhood of going to BBQ’s and getting steak that was so over cooked it was impossible to cut let alone chew. When I am at a BBQ I still always go for the sausages first, I’ll still get steak too, but sausages first. Luckily I have the stomach to match my eyes.

The other night one of my mates who makes his own sausages brought over some home made salmon sausages. There were a couple of types on offer, a teriyaki salmon and plain salmon. Using a thermometer we poached them until the salmon was 60c (140 f). The plain salmon was nice, beautiful flavour but a little dry. It really needed something just to give it that moisture to really let it melt in your mouth. The teriyaki sauce gave the sausage the right amount of moisture to really set it off. It had the lovely taste of salmon with the spices really enriching the flavour without overpowering it.

The recipe and notes from the creator.

Teriyaki Salmon
1kg salmon offcuts from local salmon farm
1.5 meters of hog casings ~ 30mm diameter (doesn’t matter)(soaked)
Medium to large onion
Medium to large red pepper (capsicum)
Half a Small onion
Good chunk of ginger (thumb size?)
Several cloves of garlic
Soy sauce
Rice vinegar
Corn starch (corn flour)
White pepper

Dice the large onion and red pepper and then sauté in a pan with a bit of oil until cooked to your liking. Chill.

Dice small onion, ginger, and garlic, and sauté in a small sauce pan until the edge is taken off. Add soy sauce ( cup???), mirin, and a bit of water. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Taste and adjust as needed with rice vinegar and sugar. . .likely will need some of both. The mirin is not essential and can be replaced with more vinegar and sugar. When happy, strain out chunks and save. If already happy, strain it when you like the flavor. Thicken sauce with corn starch until quite thick and then chill.

Sausage: Combine and mix everything (plus add some white pepper and green onions if you like!) in with salmon meat cut in chunks suitable for the grinder. Grind. Knead ground mixture with hands for a couple of minutes to develop some stickyness. Cook a bit in a pan and test flavor. . adjust ‘til happy. .. but don’t eat too much of it.

Stuff it! Or make a log and wrap in several layers of plastic wrap. This you can then poach.

Have only made this once with, making it up as we went. The texture, especially when poached in plastic, was a bit crumbly. I’d possibly add an egg white to the mix, or mousseline a portion of the salmon.