Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Homemade Ricotta - simply

Cheesemaking has always been on my list of things to do, and yet seemed scary with thermometers, tools, special things to add that you had to buy from victoria.....

When I saw this simple recipe for making ricotta on a blog that I follow (and forgive me because I can't even remember which one) I knew I had no more excuses. It looked too easy to stuff up.

1. Get milk. put it in a clean pot and heat. As soon as it starts to froth (but before it boils) cut off the heat if using gas, or take off the heat if electric.

2. Add one tablespoon of acid (either lemon juice or vinegar) per one litre of milk. Stir.

Within seconds this was what I saw in the pot. The curds (clumps of cheese) and whey (liquid) had separated and it looked a bit like off milk. funny that.
3. Get a strainer and line with cheesecloth, or if you're doing this after a meeting at 10pm at night and only the supermarket is open - a couple of chux type cloths.
This is what mine looked like before I poured the stuff in.
4. use a pot or bowl to collect the liquid that pours off. It's still very good for you. I used some that night to make up some bread and froze the rest for another batch in place of water.

5. Tie up the cloth around a wooden spoon so the mixture drains. Allegedly the more whey that is drained off, the longer it will last.

And this is the end result - Ricotta Cheese! I did it, and it was delicious. I put it in the yummy ricotta pancakes from Stephanie Alexander's kitchen garden book. Went down a treat.

If you've got some milk that's nearing the use by date. You know what to do!

Degas at the Art Gallery

Last weekend I travelled up the Canberra to catch up with some friends and finally visit the Degas art exhibition at the National Gallery. I met one of my oldest friend's Rae and her boy X in the sculpture garden. It's such a great place.

X definately rated this sculpture, which was mirror like with every section creating a different shape.
Rae and her little man smiling, as we had lunch at the cafe at the portrait gallery (we were hoping to be done in the morning, but alas it was not to be, and we hadn't packed lunch!)

I love Rae, she moved into the house next door when we were both toddlers and we have been like sisters ever since. I know I don't need an invitation or a reason to catch up or even to crash at her place. Thanks Rae

My lovely cousins came to the gallery too, Mel and Bec. We had a lot of fun looking at the Degas exhibition, the children all get a treasure hunt book with things to search for in different pictures and there was a lot of information about Degas work and times. Unfortunatly it was the last weekend of the exhibition, so you can't go now, but it definately won me over to the value of paying to see a quality exhibition.

Another one of us at the lake. I really do love visiting Canberra.

And lastly, just my cousins. Thanks for coming girls.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Weaving Workshop

I have posted previously about learning to spin. I haven't been doing a lot of that lately because I have been doing a weaving class, learning how to use my four shaft table loom. Denise, one of the amazingly talented women from the spinners and weavers is running a beginners class and I have joined. We are doing a sampler to start off with but at the next class i will be threading up to weave a scarf. First one may be for me, but then I'm planning to do some for others. It's such a peaceful thing, I can completely lose track of time.

Something I hope to do soon is be able to weave the wool I have spun and dyed into creations for gifts and to sell (down the track)

Some close up detail of the weaving

My loom, it's an antique but no problems working.

Some of the other ladies at the weaving class. Diny in black brings her small sampler loom to practice on but has a large floor loom at home. If only....