All posts filed under: Spring Recipes

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 …

SPRING!

We’ve had to wait a long time but I think it is fair to suggest that Spring has arrived! Blossom everywhere and a new array of fresh foods to chose from.  It’s a time of year when the butter from grass fed cows is at its peak, when asparagus is pushing its head above the ground and when rhubarb will become available one again to turn into delicious jams, compôts or fools.  Hope you enjoy some of the fesh, Spring recipes listed here.