Monday, September 30, 2013

Artichoke time. September 30, 2013

Despite all the rain saturating the soil making it impossible to dig, at least the artichokes are starting to produce beautiful tender artichokes in increasing numbers. On the weekend I marinated my first jar for the season using my tried and true recipe. I think I have posted about this before but no harm in repeating it. 
Prepare the artichokes by stripping off the outer leaves, cutting about 1/3 of the top, cutting in half and removing the choke if there is any. Quickly put the prepared artichoke into  some water acidulated with a bit of lemonjuice. This will stop it browning while you prepare the rest. Mix white wine and white wine vinegar in a half half mix with a few peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves.
Bring to the boil then throw in the artichokes. Bring back to the boil and cook for a few minutes until the artichokes are tender but not overlooked.
Place in a sterilised jar and cover with olive oil. That's it. Ready to eat immediately or else you can store in a cupboard successfully for many months or even a couple of years judging by some in my cupboard.
Another nice recipe for using artichokes is an artichoke risotto recipe in Jamie Oliver Does Spain, Italy, Morocco, Sweden, France. Simply make a basic Risotto Bianco and then add a mix of sautéed artichokes, garlic, thyme and lemon juice. Top with some freshly grated Parmesan to make a delicious meal.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

And now for 15 minutes of fame - a podcast interview with Little Green Cheese September 17th 2013

Last night I did a Skype interview with Gavin Webber of Greening of Gavin fame. He also has a great cheesemaking blog called Little Green Cheese to which there is a link on this page. I have been a student of Little Green Cheese from time to time and have used some of his recipes in my own cheesemaking. Especially if you are a beginner cheesemaker, his video tutorials are great at demystifying the process and showing how simple it is to do in your own kitchen.  The Wensleydale recipe is a real winner and I think I am currently up to about my 5th or 6th batch of it. Here is the link to the podcast. Enjoy my 15 minutes of fame!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Caerphilly cheese and preserving fruit juice in the microwave. Friday September 1 2013

Last weekend I got busy on restocking the cheese cave. For the first time I am attempting Caerphilly cheese, harking back to my Welsh heritage perhaps, or just because it wasn't too complicated. I wanted to make some Camembert at the same time so I needed a recipe that wasn't to complicated prior to pressing. Caerphilly fitted the bill as after cutting the curds it just needed some slow heating up to 104 degrees F.( Most recipes come out of American books so handy to have a thermometer which shows both Celcius and Fahrenheit). After that some stirring for 20 minutes or so then into the press it went. It has been drying on a board in the kitchen since then and should be ready to wax by the weekend. Too soon and whey continues to seep out and you end up with liquid sloshing around inside the wax. This cheese should only take a few weeks to mature.

Another thing I experimented with last weekend was using the microwave to bottle some apple juice. I recently borrowed a book from the library about bottling fruit in the microwave using recycled jars with metal lids. I was always under the impression that metal and microwaves don't mix and I was feeling a bit precious about my microwave which is only a few months old. So it was with some trepidation that I put a jar in and hit the start button but thankfully there were no sparks or alarming noises. Apparently it all depends on the ratio of metal to what is in the jar. It took a bit of experimenting to get the right temperature without the liquid starting to boil and to get a lid that sealed properly.In the end I got 3 jars of fresh apple juice to seal with the lids making that lovely sound of a vacuum sucking in the lid .

And finally for Fathers Day, we decided to cut open the Wensleydale with cranberries....and the verdict? Not bad at all. No fermenting of the cranberries. So after cutting a wedge to eat this week, the rest was re-waxed to mature a bit longer.