Tuesday, 30 June 2009
All of which is a delaying tactic, you may think. Well, you're right. Where were we? Oh yes, watching the goats cheese drain its life blood away over 2 days and 2 nights. So drained was it, that the end result was a mere 100g of cheese. Delicate, delicious, fresh, not very goaty-y, but definitely on the side of paucity. Now I am at a loss to explain this, following the instructions as exactly as I did. I even took a quick survey of the temperature of my finger to see if I was too unstable to estimate body temperature, but no, I'm reasonably normal. I went back to the ingredients, and lo - the rennet's expiry date is July 2009. Now my instinct is to say it's a bit like dried yeast, which gets panicky at least a month before its expiry date and so our baking cupboard is littered with half-finished packs of fainthearted yeast. It's the only thing I can think of, so I am going to email old Hugh and see if they think this could be the reason....
Anyway, back to the story. This somewhat surprising result left me 650g of cheese to the worse. Consequently, it had to be bought, which - let me add - ain't cheap, so if you're making this recipe with bought goats cheese, think carefully, cos it came to about £15 in the cheese shop (not a famous one). It was salted, but not too much and fresh and tangy in a way/whey (ha) that would hopefully enliven my pallid contribution.
Mixed the goats cheeses, 2 whisked eggs, 75g sugar (no semolina or oatmeal - who wants a sandy cheesecake?) and baked it (without base) in the oven for about 25 mins at I think 170C. And the result was good. It was a little dense, but that was to be expected and quite tangy, but cooking does bring out the goat taste, to the extent that MCD - who is an ardent goat fan on many levels - felt it a bit OTT and didn't really come back for seconds.
I will be posting a photo of the finished result. Feelings on this particular experiment - far too much hassle for a cheesecake, but for making your own cheese, it's low-effort and easy. Just watch your rennet.
Friday, 26 June 2009
Tomorrow I can make the cake.
Thursday, 25 June 2009
I downloaded the recipe from the site and it's so simple - goats milk and rennet. That's it.
So, ingredients purchased, I got cheese-ifying. I heated the milk to a body-temperature 37C, removed it from the heat and added the rennet according to the instructions - 10 drops per pint, therefore roughly 35 drops. I gave it a quick stir and went off to read in the garden for the recommended 15 minutes while the curd and whey separated.
20 minutes later, the whole is still decidedly liquid. I checked the instructions, made a phone call to my colleague, who's done this kind of thing before, whose advice was 'give it a bit longer and add some lemon juice' and left it for another 20 minutes. I tried slicing a knife through it and the knife scored remained - looking more hopeful. I tested a bit by adding a spoonful to a sieve (on the premise that if it doesn't slip through the sieve, we're good to go with the muslin...). It held. So, dear reader (I can feel the hot breath of your anticipation on the back of my neck... go away), I lined a sieve with muslin and spooned it in. I wasn't hopeful - like really loose blancmange. I'm not entirely sure Hugh's estimate is spot-on - Christ knows what he put in his, although I wouldn't blame the cheese for getting a move on if it thought it was on TV.
I let it drip through for a good half-hour before taking it upstairs and hanging it from an elaborate contraption involving a bamboo cane, a stepladder, the bed and a large bowl - it's still there this morning. There is a lot of whey, people, a lot of whey.... And not much bloody cheese in the muslin, so my doubts about the rennet remain and now my fear is I shall have to sully my virginal goats cheese with shop-bought...
I'm making the cake itself on Saturday for a BBQ. At this stage, it may just be a small mound of goats cheese and some poached gooseberries for pudding, but you never know. I may be able to do a Marie Antoinette and let there be cake.
Wednesday, 17 June 2009
250g self-raising flour
2 tbsp bio yoghurt (the yoghurt-ier the better, if you know what I mean)
1/2 tbsp salt (3/4 tbsp is a tad too salty for my taste, you may feel differently)
About 100ml water
Mix together the first 3 ingredients, then slowly add the water and stop when you have a soft, slightly sticky dough - you may not need all of it - I added a tad too much and spent a jolly 10 minutes peeling it off my hands and back into the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and leave it to rest for 30 mins or so. It won't rise, btw.
When you're ready to bake, roll out amounts the size of an egg into a pleasing shape - perhaps oval - about 1/2 cm thick. Heat a dry frying pan till really quite hot, then throw it in, give it 30 seconds, turn it over and then keep warm in the oven till needed. I drizzled mine with sumac and olive oil and served them with bbq-d quail rubbed with ras-el-hanout, hummous (I only make my own now - more later), bbq-d aubergine slices drizzled with pomegranate molasses, salad and I think that was it.
They re-heat the next day v successfully either wrapped in foil in the oven or just heated in the frying pan again. And as I said, you can serve them with curry or take them down the Middle Eastern route.
Friday, 12 June 2009
Thursday, 11 June 2009
Tuesday, 9 June 2009
So Saturday night we had (can I just admit at this point that this extreme laziness was brought on by Saturday afternoon drinking and a margarita when we got home - no apologies, hey, I pulled it together!) lamb burgers, spiced up with a little sumac, stuffed into bread rolls with a chunky-in-the-extreme cucumber and mint raita and tomatoes and some oven chips. Rooster, just to experiment - still not a patch on Harry Ramsden's - where have they gone?
Sunday was indeed roast chicken, brushed with goose fat as per new MO - still brilliant - with smashed garlicky potatoes and a half-ton of salad wilting under the lemony, parsley, winey pan juices.
It's the chicken leftovers that are really making me think though. Last night - to comfort myself through my fill of Gene Hunt for the year (ye Gods, how will I cope), I pulled off the wings, coated them in honey and grain mustard and put them in the oven till sizzling. I made a slightly lumpy blue cheese/creme fraiche dressing, diced up some fennel and tossed them with yet more leftover sodding salad. It was a soul booster.
Tonight, I'm thinking I might devil the legs - mix mustard, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, slash the legs and then bake them again till sizzling. To add even more piquancy, MCD might have pulled up the first of the potatoes (now that is exciting), in which case they'll also be bunged in the oven with some rosemary (alas neither of us are that keen on boiled potatoes). And there's salad. Yeah!
PS - The cavolo nero is starting to look like real cavolo nero. Like an excited puppy, MCD wants to pull it all up now (I think the amount of green stuff is starting to scare him very slightly) but I have shown him photos of what we are looking for, and does he really want more greens to tackle. To be fair, he is eating some of the salad. But you can't hide it. Believe me, you can't.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Tuesday, 2 June 2009
What about all this weather we've been having? Naturally they're predicting a dive in temperatures and sleeting rain and hail for the weekend - of course - but hopefully it's not going to last long.
Anyway, I thought I might give you a list of things that are a Good Idea to barbecue, given ours is practically the third person in our marriage (who needs statuesque blonde women when I have to fight a hunk of hot metal for MCD's attentions? Luckily, come November, she goes back under her cover and he forgets about her for a few months. Future Mrs Ds beware - he's a fairweather partner...)
Ahem - back to the Good Ideas list. This is what we've been having over the last 10 days or so...
- Good old-fashioned sausages. Topppest of top tips - poach the sausages in boiling water f0r around 8 minutes before barbecuing. This results in that most appetising of results - perfectly cooked pork meat, glistening San Tropez outsides and praise for The Man on his cooking techniques.
- Good old-fashioned burgers. Yeah, yeah, bo-oring... We'd forgotten how good a plain burger can be on the barbie, slapped in a simple bun, with a slice of Dairylea for the connoisseur and a spread of onion marmalade and Gorgonzola for those with less refined tastebuds. Alternatively you cannot go wrong with pickle, tomato, ketchup, mayonnaise and a squirt of French mustard. Yes, you must simply use all of these together or none. It's the law.
- A leg of lamb, marinaded in molasses, red wine, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, cooked in a medium oven for about 25-30 mins then finished on the BBQ for sticky deliciousness. Amazing in wraps with a cucumber-yoghurt salad.
- Steak with a Chimichurri sauce (Argentinia - the law-makers of how to eat steak, they say - invented this sauce. Basically, parsley, green chilli, garlic, olive oil, white wine vinegar, s & p - slather steak in for about 30 mins before BBQ-ing to rare. We had ours with asparagus roasted on the BBQ and I believe MCD may have folded some carbohydrate around his.
- Seafood. Ooh this was a good one. Razor clams (just slap em on), prawns marinaded in garlic and olive oil, mackerel (just oiled and cooked for about 7 mins a side) and squid. I marinaded the squid in honey, balsamic, green chilli, garlic and oil first for about 30 mins, but you don't have to. What you do have to do is make Val Warner's caper sauce - bashed capers, parsley, olive oil, other herbs if you like, seasoning and a little harissa - as that goes with both squid and mackerel, in a handy 2-for-1 combo. We had this with salad (we have everything with sodding salad these days - see gardening posts) and chips.
Just while I think about it, there's this fab chicken dish I bastardized from Nigella involving rose wine and lavender which is sheer poetry on a summer's evening, but given the lavender is being a tad recalcitrant just now (or perhaps a little shy, given it's quite new), I can't make this yet. When I do, you'll know.