Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cheese making and fermentation - part 1

Oh's been a while since I gave my poor blog any attention. I had intended doing this post the day after I attended a 'Cheese making and all things dairy' workshop, however time just got away from me. Here we are, more than a week has passed and I'm just finishing the post.

Now back to the workshop, it was fantastic! Loads of information and tips, great atmosphere and a terrific bunch of people. There were 25 of us there, all eager to learn about making cheese and other dairy products using raw milk....yes you read right, all made with raw milk. We learnt about the value of raw milk, how to make cheddar, brie, cottage cheese, ricotta, neufchattel, fermented cream, butter, ghee, sour cream, milk kefir, yoghurt and using different types of whey. Talk about brain overload. Whilst we didn't individually make cheeses, volunteers were asked to help in each part of the cheese making process. With a very funny mishap along the way!

For morning tea we had sourdough pikelets with kefired cream, cream cheese and jam.....yummo. Then at lunch we had a feast of fermented foods including sourdough bread, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, fruit and nut kimchi, salad, fruit and an assortment of Elisabeth's homemade cheese and to finish off, some homemade lemon wine. For me the taste of fermented foods was a real shock to the taste buds, it really is an acquired taste. However the health benefits of fermented foods are well documented so it really is worth a try.

If you live in South East Qld and are interested in a good basic cheese making and dairy product course then I would thoroughly recommend this workshop. Elisabeth Fekonia from Permaculture-realfood is an accredited permaculture teacher. Her enthusiasm for home food production and preservation is infectious. One point that she stressed was for us to pass on our new skills and knowledge. Sounds familiar doesn't it. Elisabeth also runs sourdough and lactic acid fermentation workshops. I'll be booking in for one of those as well.

All in all it was a really enjoyable day. It was great to be amongst people who were all interested in knowing where there food came from and wanting more control of what they ate. By sheer luck I got to meet Holly (albeit very briefly), one of the members from the Down to Earth forum. I think there may have been another new member there as well.

On the subject of raw milk, I've been buying Cleopatra's bath milk for a while now. It's a great product but rather expensive if you intend using it for cheese making. Luckily for me a neighbour purchases milk in bulk from a local dairy. I got my first lot this week, it's not organic but it is raw and at a great price. Once I get all my cheese making equipment sorted there will be no stopping me!

I'll be back tomorrow with part two - milk kefir and the BEST tasting yoghurt ever.

Cheers Lisa

I seem to have made a bit of a mistake with this post i.e. when it was published. I've deleted the originl post and reposted today. Sorry Rose your comment got deleted as well.

Friday, June 3, 2011

There's been fowl play in the veggie patch

Yes, you guessed right someone got into my vegetable garden and did a bit of their own landscaping. Sorry no photos as my camera decided to kark it. Just picture lots of mulch thrown all over the place, thankfully nothing was damaged.

I believe Miss Lulu to be the culprit. Of the three chooks we currently have, Lulu is the most adventurous and by far the funniest chicken I've ever owned. She walks around the chook yard with you, pecks at your shoes, rings and buttons, then runs after you when you go to leave. Very cute, plus she likes a cuddle too. talkin to me!

Mitzy....our second new chook, she's a bit of a nervous nelly

Margot....older and bossier

Does this photo make my bum look big?

Sadly our little Queenie died a couple of months backs. She had been sick and despite lots of love and care she eventually passed away. Damn wild birds that leave their diseases and parasites around the place!

We've only had these two new girls for three weeks. I wanted a heritage breed or ex-battery chooks but we came home with hybrids. Apparently we are going to add two more to the flock soon, maybe I'll get my way then.