Here are three organic cheeses I have made recently, with the help of my gorgeous step daughter.
|L-R Farmhouse Cheddar, Fetta marinated in oil and house garden herbs and Haloumi|
Aren't they GORGEOUS!
The cheddar really was a labour of love, 2.5 hrs of stirring, four days of curing and now up to 12 months until eating! This to me epitomises delayed gratification! Something the GEN Ys are going to have to learn!
The fetta we have soaked in a brine for a few days and now have marinated in canola oil (the last time I put it in olive oil it set hard in fridge, canola doesn't) and thyme, oregano and parsley from the garden,we have also put in a little cracked pepper for zing! It will keep for up to 6 weeks now which is a great shelf life I think (not that it ever lasts that long because we share it around!)
The halmoui is a relatively easy cheese to make, only requiring a large saucepan to make it in and it is simply delicious fried up! The first time I made it I was so excited when it squeaked (the first lot didn't even make it into the brine!). Kids love this cheese as is salty and has such a delicious flavour from the cooking process - the texture is also very agreeable, albeit slightly hard to describe!
The satisfaction to be gained from turning litres of ORGANIC, unhomogenised milk into delightful edible treats that can be shared with family and friends (marinated fetta will make a great Christmas gift!) is truly a joy. Just like sharing the veg from the garden, the glow that I get when people comment that they love to eat what we have grown is a natural high!
I do sometimes worry about the food miles of my cheese (I have to order it from Coffs Harbour - 9 hours away) but it does come in a refrigerated truck that comes across with produce for other shops in town anyway! So in that sense I am just making their trip even more worthwhile! I am, however, always keeping my ear to the ground locally for someone who milks a cow...or goats!
I learned to make cheese at a couple of courses in Armidale last year, just one day workshops with a wonderful woman Siggi, who I have called a few times since with cheese dilemmas and she has been more than happy to help! It was such fun and as you can probably tell, it is a skill I am thoroughly enjoying (both for the making and the eating!)