Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blue Cheese and Red Tomatoes

Last weekend I decided to have a go at making some blue cheese using a slice of bought blue as the innoculant for penicillium roqueforti. It wasn’t too complicated – blend up the cheese with some water until it was a liquid and add to the milk with the starter.

After renneting and cutting the curd into 1cm cubes, it just needed stirring every five minutes for an hour which allowed me time to be doing something else in the kitchen (making tomato paste ready to bottle later). I then had to drain the curds in a colander , mix in a bit of salt and then drain again in a mould flipping every 15 minutes for the first 2 hours and then every hour for the next 2 then overnight.  ! It sat in the cave on  a board, rubbed with salt and turned daily for the next 3 days and then was pierced with a sterilised knitting needle to create some holes in it so that the mould has pathways through which it can spread.. Now it just has to sit in a mini cave (plastic box) within the cave to try to increase the humidity for several weeks to let the mould develop fully. I think it is about 6 months until it is ready to eat.

Meanwhile I was boiling down lots of tomatoes to make some tomato paste to use as pizza toppings in the year to come.  The tomatoes are ripening thick and fast now so I have lots to choose from. The Roma tomatoes that I grow for bottling are comparatively dry to other varieties like Rouge de marmande. This makes them great to bottle or dry as there is less watery flesh to boil down.  I was very pleased to end up with 12 bottles of paste by the end of the day.  On Saturday I put some on to dry as well.  I realised when I finished that last year I just halved rather than quartered them which made for a better resulting shape. The quarters end up shrivelling too much. Anyway there are plenty more out in the garden to do some next weekend.


Anonymous said...

Made Monterey Jack yesterday, and haloumi today (cooked to a safe temperature!) The Ricki Carroll recipe adds culture to it... but the high temp would then kill it..? Think I just wasted a dose of culture!

Sue Roberts: The Preserving Patch said...

Good point Anonymous I had never thought about that before. I must watch the Cheese Slices episode about making halloumi and see if they add culture in factory production in Cyprus. I also have a halloumi recipe from a Middle Eastern cook book and guess what, no culture! Have to wax the Gouda this weekend and then put the Swiss (Gremmental) to sit in a warm spot for a week....who knows what will happen then. Oh, just realised that I haven't posted about the Swiss disaster yet have I. I must do that soon.