The things I have learnt over the last year from reading blogs is quite astounding really. My gardening skills and knowledge have increased ten fold. In fact I feel quite confident that what I plant will grow and do reasonable well, with the odd exception. I have a fairly good idea where and when to plant, not that I always follow these rules, and I can recognise and identify problems (ie pests and diseases) and even sometimes solve these problems.
Equally, I have picked up all sorts great advice for the kitchen as well and in experimenting with some kitchen classics (pav, sponge cake, scones etc) I have at least identified some weaknesses and had a few soaring successes. And along with my addiction to recipe books, food magazines and cooking programs, I now find myself trawling many fantastic food blogs. It was on one of these, Not Quite Nigella (great name!) that I read about making your own ricotta cheese from whole milk. This was a great coincidence as at the time I had far too much full cream milk (due to me mucking up my Aussie Farmers order recently).
The process is incredibly simple, just bring two litres of full cream milk to almost a boil with little salt and four tablespoons of cream. Then add four tablespoons of either white vinegar (I opted for this one) or lemon juice, stir once or twice to combine, reduce to a simmer for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Leave for ten minutes to allow the curdles to form, then drain in a colander lined with cheesecloth. For soft ricotta only drain for about fifteen minutes, for a firmer cheese leave for longer or even overnight.
Keeps for 2-3 days in the fridge. I used mine the next day in a ricotta and silverbeet pie.
The draining process leaves you with quite a lot of whey as a bi-product, and it seemed a waste to just tip this down the sink, so I did a little research and found this recipe for Leek and Potato soup. I can attest to the fact that is was delicious. I have also heard you can use the whey in baking, but I’m not sure exactly how this works, has anyone else tried this?