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.