All posts filed under: Spring Recipes

Basic Cheese Cake

Cheese cake can be eaten either raw or baked. Although different they are equally delicious. The one difference between the two is that raw cheesecake is brimming with beneficial LABs from your home-made cream cheese whilst the heat from baking kills off the micro-organisms present in the cream cheese should you decide to bake the cake. I prefer to work with yoghurt for my cheese cake since it is the most tangy of all the cultured milk products and works beautifully when off set by some fresh fruit and the added sweetness of  sugar or honey. This recipe is good for a 26 cm tin. Try and use a springform tin since it makes it easer to release the cake when ready. Ingredients For the base 250 gr of dry biscuit[1] (digestive, shortbread, speculaas) 80 gr. of butter – or a good pat of butter. For the cake 1 lt. or 1 pt. of home-made yoghurt cream cheese 250 ml of fresh cream 150 gr of sugar 6 eggs (the yoke separated from the whites) 1 tsp. of vanilla …

Asparagus Tips

The flavour of asparagus is concentrated in the delicate spear-heads whilst the base of the asparagus tends to be milder – and depending on the age of the asparagus – can be woody and fibrous. I was, therefore, pleased to see the farmer selling just the asparagus tips on the market at a reasonable price last Friday. We ate them alongside some lemon chicken drumsticks. They were delicious! Some of the left-overs I added to a potato salad the following day. Ingredients 1 kg of asparagus tips Butter Salt & pepper Juice of ½ a lemon Directions Rinse the asparagus tips underneath some cold water and leave them to soak in cold, salted water for ½ hour. Drain and rinse before proceeding to the next step. Add around 5 cm of salted water to a wide pan. When it comes to the boil add the asparagus tips and leave to cook for around ten minutes. At this point the asparagus should still be hard not completely softened. Turn the heat off, put a lid over …

Whey

Whey is the liquid by-product from the production of cream cheese or any other fermented dairy produce. Authentic, traditional Italian ricotta is made not from milk and lemon as many recipes now suggest – but from gently heating whey together with an acid such as lemon or vinegar and stirring until the whey coagulates into ricotta. Most modern, industrialised manufacturers of cultured diary products consider whey an unfortunate waste product and have problems getting rid of all the whey produced. One modern application of whey is to dry it and sell it, powdered, as a fitness product for sport fanatics. Other than in Germany I have never seen a shop sell fresh, liquid whey. If you have any left-over whey from making your own cream cheese it can be used as an inoculant for fermented fruit chutneys. It also tastes very refreshing chilled and combined with some freshly squeezed lime juice and a tsp. of honey. It is a great health tonic, packed as it is, with wild microorganisms that are great for feeding our …

Cream Cheese

Many think that cream cheese is Kraft’s branded “Philadelphia Cheese”. In a previous life so did I. It never occurred to me that I could make my own cream cheese at home on the kitchen counter. Once I found out how easy it is I was surprised no one I knew was making their own cream cheese. The difference in taste between mass produced cream cheeses and a home-made cream cheese is astounding. I would be interested to hear if any agree with me or if they think I’m exaggerating! Most commercial cream cheeses – including ones labelled organic – use powdered LABs to ferment their products. To be fair, I think they are obliged to do so by a set of food regulations unable to distinguish between the good, the bad and the ugly. If you make your own cream cheese from home-made clabbered milk or yoghurt you can be sure you’re using wild ferments. Cream cheese is used in hundreds of recipes and has many different names : fromage blanc in French, kwark in German …

Clabbered Milk

Clabbered milk refers to fresh milk that is left to ferment at room temperature. The taste and flavour of clabbered milk varies depending on where you live since every region has a different set of wild yeasts and LABs. The taste of clabbered milk in the south west of France is very different to the one in Belgium though the texture is the same: thick and clotted. If you don’t like the clots in the milk give the bottle a good shake before you drink it. (For more information on clabbered milk see below). It is also useful to have a bottle of clabbered milk at hand for some baking recipes. Ingredients 1 lt. or 1 pt. of fresh raw milk OR 1 lt. or 1 pt. of pasteurised full fat milk[1] Method For fresh raw milk Leave the milk to rest either on the counter or on a shelf in the kitchen at room temperature. Within 24 hours the fresh, raw milk will have fermented spontaneously into thick clabbered milk. Once it has fermented …

Butter and Buttermilk

Butter Butter derives from full fat cream. Prior to industrialisation fresh milk would be poured into a wide, shallow dish which allowed the cream to rise to the surface. The cream would then be skimmed by hand and collected in a jar. Vermeer’s “The Milk Maid” is doing just that in his iconic painting from 1657. The jar would be topped up every day until there was enough cream to make butter. By way of example 1 kg of butter – or four 250 gr. packs of butter – requires 2.5 lt. of cream. It can take a while to collect such an amount depending on the size of the herd. As the cream rested it fermented spontaneously. The natural and spontaneous fermentation of the cream meant that the cream could never “go off”. The acid from the wild microorganisms are excellent at preventing the colonisation of pathogens meaning that it could safely be preserved for future use. Neither Vermeer not his milk maid would have known that their cream was souring because of wild …

Easter Leg of Lamb soaked in Buttermilk

If you are thinking of having a traditional Easter lamb here is a really simple recipe that is easy to prepare and tastes delicious. A leg of lamb is lovely when roasted with some rosemary and garlic – but soaking it overnight in buttermilk and then leaving it to cook on a low heat for hours is equally delightful – and dead simple. The meat falls off the bone. No wastage. Serve it alongside the classics – roast potatoes, roast carrots, roast parsnips, peas and creamed spinach – and mint sauce of course! Ingredients 1 leg of lamb (try and aim for 200gr/adult portion). 1 lt. or 1 pt. of buttermilk. Chopped mint. Salt & Pepper. Directions Wash and pat the leg of lamb dry. Place in an oven dish with a lid. Sear the fat on the leg and rub a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper over the leg. Add the chopped mint. Cover the leg in buttermilk and leave to rest overnight. The following day put the leg of lamb into the …