Saturday, June 6, 2015

The best of bartering - Cheesemaking Lesson for a bottle of The Retiring, an artisanal gin. Saturday June 6th 2015

Yesterday I had a cheesemaking day with a difference. A work colleague retired a few months ago and I had promised to give him a cheesemaking lesson one day in winter when the garden harvest was over.  Our paths crossed last week so we arranged to meet yesterday for a big day of production. My plans were almost foiled by the milk truck arriving at 8.30am. That meant me hot footing it up to the vat with several bottles to fill before all the milk disappeared off to the factory.
This is the first time I have actually taught anyone to make cheese and it was a bit hard to decide which cheeses to make to teach to not have too much time to kill in between steps but that also taught some of the basic processes. After a lot of deliberation, I decided on Parmesan, Camembert and Ricotta and the timing was pretty much perfect. Five hours later after much talking, timing and curd cutting and stirring, we had Parmesan into its final stage of pressing, Camembert halfway through its 5 hours of flipping, Ricotta drained and ready to use. I sent Bert home with some ricotta and a few Camembert to flip on his own and then sit back and have the pleasure of watching the mould grow over the next week or so.He also took some bottles of milk to try to make some Fetta at home. 
This is what mine look like this morning.
Parmesan just out of the press
and into a saturated brine for 24 hours

And the Ricotta into an Egg and Bacon Pie

And my reward?    Only a bottle of the gin judged to be the best Tasmanian gin by the staff at the bar at the fabulous MONA (Museum of Old and New Art)!!! Bert hasn't been idle in his retirement but has started making a beautiful artisanal gin called ,appropriately, The Retiring. Guess what we had with our dinner last night! 

The Retiring Gin

And after he left,just to finish off the day, I made some Cherry Chocolate ice cream with the cream I had skimmed off the milk used in the Parmesan .

Today has been wet and drizzly outside all day so a perfect day for staying in the Preserving Patch Kitchen. I have been busy making some Jostaberry and Gooseberry Jam

And a nice crusty loaf of bread to go with it.