A little bit of cheese, my dear?
A. Vasudevan, The Literary Shed
This is that weird time when the climate’s not quite caught up with the changing light. Still, longer days bring that hope of spring and new beginnings. Foodwise, comforting soups and stews give way to salads and lighter dishes made with seasonal fare.
Now, I don’t eat a huge amount of dairy, mainly because of an intolerance to cows’ milk, but I am quite partial to a little bit of cheese, particularly goat or ewe. For me, there’s nothing that adds more zing to a bright salad of ripe-to-bursting chilled tomatoes with a tiny bit of za’atar or a bowl of spiced cannellini beans with wilted lemony spinach than some flavoursome, freshly-made, soft goats’ cheese. OK, I can almost hear you yelling, ‘Why bother? I can buy it at the shop!’ Well, once you taste it, I promise, you’ll understand.
Zingy soft goats’ cheese
• Goats’ milk, 1 litre
• Vegetarian rennet, 2 tbsp
• Lemon juice, 2 tbsp
• Salt to taste
1. In a pan, heat the goats’ milk over a medium heat until it reaches 25 degrees Celsius.
2. Take off the heat, stir in the vegetarian rennet and lemon juice, and leave in a covered bowl to cool for an hour at room temperature. The whey and curds will separate.
3. Place a fine cloth (a clean J-cloth will do!) in a colander over a bowl and strain until only the curds remain. Put the protein-rich whey to one side as it can be used later for stock, baking, shakes/smoothies, among other things.
4. Tie the cloth ends together and hang the curd from a tap or doorknob (yes, really) over a bowl. Leave for at least an hour. Longer if you prefer a thicker consistency and skin.
5. Carefully remove from cloth. You should now have a soft, ricotta-like cheese. Season to taste. Yum.
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