Cheesemaking: Basic Farm Cheese

This is wonderful fun to make. Its something thats so different from the usual cooking and is so rewarding and delicious!

Something that we have had great fun with is learning to make cheese – in very small quantities and only in its simplest form – but its real CHEESE!!

Farm Cheese – or Plaaskaas as we call it in South Africa.

I think officially you’re supposed to add a bacterial culture to give it a specific flavour – but we just make it with salt – simple and delicious! Takes some good concentration but once you get the hang of it its easier than you think – and its easier than making mozarella, I think.

1. Equipment:

  • Thermometer that goes up to 110C (225F)
  • Wooden slotted spoon
  • Whisk
  • Sharp Knife
  • 2 Stainless Steel Pots – 1 large, 1 medium
  • Large sieve or strainer
  • 2-3 pieces of cheesecloth
  • Sterilise all equipment by boiling it for 5 minutes
  • Home made pressing equipment (not as fancy as it sounds!)

2. Ingredients:

6-8 litres of the freshest cow’s milk (raw unpasteurised milk is best)

3t Buttermilk or 1/3 cup plain yoghurt

3. Process:

PART A: The evening before (1/2 hour)

1. Remove the cream from the top of the milk and store separately

  • 2. If your milk is unpasteurised you’ll need to add calcium chloride to get it to coagulate (go solid).

2. Pour your milk into the large sterilised pot.

3. Warm the milk to 20C (68F).

4. Add 3tsp of buttermilk or 1/3 cup plain yoghurt. This bacterial starter helps to start the fermentation process and lowers the pH so that the rennet will be effective.

5. Store in a warm place overnight.

PART B: The next morning (2 hours)

Make sure you have 2 hours available to do this – some parts are critical and the first time you need all your wits about you.

1. Warm the milk to 30C

2. Add 3 ??? drops of rennet to 2T water in a small bowl and mix well with the wooden spoon. Pour the rennet into the milk when it reaches 30C and stir well. In the USA you can buy rennet tablets (here you would use 1/4 of a tablet dissolved in water. In South Africa I ordered the rennet solution from here?? LINK.

3. Cover your pot and leave to sit for at least 1 hour. Do not disturb. It is coagulating!

4. After an hour test for a clean break (if you insert your finger into the mixture and lift it, it should be gel-like and break cleanly around your finger. If there is no clean break, leave for a further hour.

5. Cut the curd (I love this part!!!) Begin on one side of the pot. Cut all the way down to the bottom of the pot – all the way across the pot – drawing parallel lines with your knife about 1cm apart.

Turn your pot 90 degrees and repeat,

then again 45 degrees

and 90 degrees the other way.

Cut each time till you have small cubes.

6. Set the curd by placing the pot over low heat and stir with your clean hand by gently lifting the cubes. Cut any large ones as they appear. Continue stirring for at least 15 minutes so that the curds don’t clump together. Heat the curds to 38C(100F).??

7. Maintain this temperature stirring continually until curd looks like scrambled eggs in your hand. I know this isn’t easy to imagine – you kind of have to try it. You’ll know it when you see it. Rather go too long than too short. The curds should sink in the whey.

place the curds in the cheesecloth lined sieve or colander to drain off the whey. Keep the whey to make ricotta or give it to your dogs as a treat!

Add 2t salt and mix in.

place curds into your homemade press

fill it up and press overnight

the next morning remove the cheese and the cloth and

rub the outside of the cheese with salt.Rewrap it in fresh cheesecloth and place in the fridge.

Replace the cloth daily if it is wet. This cheese improves with time – you should leave it for about a month to cure. We left it for about a week (you can wax it after two), we generally eat it after one ūüėČ We don’t bother with waxing it as we eat so quickly.

Delicious!! Some day we’ll take it to the next level and make a LARGE cheese.

“And honey, and butter, and sheep, and cheese of kine, for David, and for the people that [were] with him, to eat: for they said, The people [is] hungry, and weary, and thirsty, in the wilderness.” 2 Samuel 17v29

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Delicious Carob Pie!

Carob Pie is the name that has stuck with this delicious favourite in our household. Its a bit like a chocolate mousse pie (my children were delighted at the idea of moose pie!)

If you want to get your children or hubby to eat banana or avocado – here’s how:

This is a non-bake pie – just blend and freeze and eat in slices as you need.

CAROB PIE

For the crust:

  1. I use a seed / coffee bean grinder to grind up some honey-muesli and put it into the food processor – about 4 cups
  2. Add about 4 T coconut oil and 4 T honey.
  3. Blend with the food processor – you need to taste and check the consistency to see when it is ready. It should be sweet and slightly gooey – just enough to cling together as a pie crust. Add more honey for sweetness and moisture if necessary.
  4. No need to grease – just press into a glass pie dish and your crust is done.

Now for the delicious filling:

  1. In a clean food processor (this is too thick for a blender) blend together until smooth:
  • 2 avocadoes
  • 4 bananas
  • 1-2 T of Tahini (sesame seed paste – optional but wonderful protein)

2. Add about 4T carob powder (keep adding until its a lovely chocolate brown colour

3. Add a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup (also to taste) and blend until its really smooth and creamy

4. Spoon over the crust and spread with a spatula

5. Freeze your pie and cut slices to serve (best when cold but not completely frozen)

Linked to 4 Moms

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9 v 6

Date Night Fondue

A wonderful home date to have with your hubby is a fondue! There are many types of fondues – our favourite ones are cheese fondue, meat & vegetable fondue and carob fondue!

Cheese Fondue

This one is rather heavy so we like to have lots of raw food beforehand. That way we eat less of the actual fondue and also don’t feel so awful after eating it. We’ll usually start with a simple side plate starter followed by a variation of a large salad and then the fondue.

To make a cheese fondue from scratch: combine 2 parts grated emmenthaler cheese (preferably swiss) with 1 part grated Gruyere cheese and 1 part red grape juice.

Melt slowly in a fondue pot on a low heat stirring continually until well blended just below boiling point. Make sure it is really well mixed – if the cheese wont mix with the juice its probably not hot enough. If the cheese is like rubber then it has probably boiled too much and unfortunately won’t recover – so watch it carefully! The cheese should be soft and almost liquid when ready.

Chop a loaf of french bread or ciabatta into bite sized pieces, grab some fondue forks, dip and enjoy!

Meat and Vegetable Fondue

Often with a meat fondue the meat is deep fried in a pot of oil – but this is not very healthy and can be rather dangerous!

We like to use a simple broth or vegetable stock in the pot to cook the meat. Simply grab a fondue pot and add some water and vegetable stock and bring to the boil. Chop meat and vegetables into bite size pieces and place on fondue fork in broth to cook.

Even simpler and yummier:

Pre-cook your strips of chicken or other meat in a wok with some coconut oil, a little soy sauce or sesame oil and coconut oil before hand and lightly steam your vegetables so they are firm not squishy.

Bring the bite-sized pieces of cooked meat and lightly steamed vegetables (broccoli, sliced carrots, brussel sprouts, baby potatoes, etc.) to your fondue table an just dip into the sauce!

We like to use a cheesy sauce or a white sauce or mushroom sauce and a napolitana sauce – tastes delicious dipped in both.

Carob Fondue

Boil some water and fill a small bowl 3/4 full with the carob chunks in a larger bowl on top – the water shouldn’t touch the bowl above but should heat it so that the carob melts nice and slowly – stir regularly.

A warm ceramic dish on a hot mat is the best way to keep the carob warm for a while.

Chop up bite sized pieces of your favourite fruit to dip into the carob with fondue forks – our favourites are apple, pear, strawberries and banana.

Have a plate ready to catch the drips as you eat – yummy!

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me [was] love.” Song of Solomon 2 v 4

See Also Date Night!

Delicious Vegan Strawberry ‘Yoghurt’

We love to make this delicious version of ‘yoghurt’. If you are dairy intolerant – this is for you! Vegan and delicious!

This recipe is adapted from Serene Alison’s Raw Food Recipe Book Rejuvenate Your Life. This is such a wonderful inspiring book – especially if you are looking for a raw food cookbook by a Christian author – avoiding all the new age philosophies that often accompany raw food recipes.

So, here it is:

We have a large 1000W blender which surprisingly is one of the cheaper ones R350 – relatively easy to replace if it burns out. Most other blenders that I have seen do not go above 700W. It has a large 1.5 litre glass jug and I make lots of yoghurt at a time – enough for 8 people to have a small bowl of yoghurt each.

  • If your blender is smaller, try making half the recipe at a time.
  • The most important thing is to blend lots along the way so that you get a smooth creamy texture to your yoghurt – it shouldn’t be grainy!

To your blender add:

  • 1.5 cups filtered water (have another cup of water available to add slowly when your mixture gets too thick to blend. The yoghurt is great thick but can also be nice a bit thinner if you’d like to make drinking yoghurt for your kiddies to drink through a straw.)
  • 5 handfuls of cashew nuts
  • 2 handfuls of almonds

BLEND till smooth and creamy (add water if too thick)

  • In the meantime get out your coffee (or seed) grinder and grind 2 generous Tablespoons of raw flaxseeds (golden are best but brown fine too) – add ground flaxseed to blender
  • Add 2 teaspoons psyllium (available at health shops – this is a great cleanser for your colon and also helps to make the ‘yoghurt’ nice and thick)
  • Juice 4 lemons and add the juice to blender
  • Add approx 1/3¬† of a 500gram jar of honey (to taste – can add more later)
  • Add 2 Tablespoons of Flax Oil

BLEND TILL VERY SMOOTH

  • Add 350-400g frozen strawberries or blueberries (these help make the yoghurt nice and cold again after all that blending!)
  • Taste at this point to see if it has sweetness and tartness of yoghurt (you can either add more honey or more lemon juice if necessary)

ENJOY!

“Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. ” Revelation 22 v 14

How Do You Cope? – Feeding Your Family

Lately, I have been through various stages of inspiration and frustration when it comes to feeding our family. I am blessed to enjoy cooking and to have the creativity to be able to experiment – but often its difficult to be creative with the time constraints of being a homeschooling family.

I plan our weeks meals 1 or sometimes 2 weeks in advance. I have a simple blank menu planner page that I print out and then fill in with pencil each week (for easy editing) and then follow roughly through the week. I often give the family a chance to contribute ideas to the weeks menu (Sunday supper table is a good time for us).

Lately, I was inspired by Kimberley from Raising Olives to cook some freezer meals. I went all out and made lots of big ones – and got thoroughly burnt out in the process! But I must say its been wonderful to be able to rely on those freezer meals when I have run out of energy for cooking on other days. I do prefer though to have fresher food like stir fries or steamed goodies more regularly. I need to find the balance between bulk cooking and regular cooking.

We have also been trying to cook extra meals to bless others with regularly – and that has been great fun. Our children get involved in making little gifts and cards for the recipients to go with the meals. This feels like a relatively easy way to be a blessing, although it does take its toll as I can get quite distracted and busy when the little ones need me!! I am learning the balance – slowly, one step at a time!

The “every second day” concept works well for me and helps me to keep up the good habits without becoming overwhelmed.¬† We have carrot juice every second day, homemade yoghurt (not actually yoghurt but a blend of nuts, fruit, lemon juice, psyllium, etc.) every second day,¬† cooked lunches every second day, etc. freezer meals every second day with cooking on every other day, homemade bread or homemade rolls or breadsticks or pita breads every second day. This helps me to have enough time for the children and to focus on other things than cooking. Of course, the challenge is to find the time to do the freezer cooking or raw food preparing – a Saturday morning every few weeks with lots of planning before hand seems to work for me.

I try to alternate easy homemade lunches like steamed corn on the cob or steamed potatoes with more time-intensive ones like roast vegetable salads or soup and breadsticks, or Raw Pizza (in the dehydrator)….

I also try to alternate easy snacks like popcorn or rice cakes with something a bit more time-consuming like Banana bread or carob chunk cookies.

More on this soon! Any ideas you can inspire me with? ūüôā

“She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31 v 27

See also:

How Do You Cope?

How do you Cope? – Exercise

Delicious Homemade Butter and Banana Bread

This is the banana bread recipe that works the best for us – its so quick and easy and no mixer is necessary!

  • 4 over-ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup melted butter or coconut oil
  • 1 cup sugar or xylitol
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (shallow)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cups of refined spelt or 1 1/2 cups of wheat flour
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C (375F)
  2. With a wooden spoon, mix the melted butter (or coconut oil) into the mashed bananas (* tip – melt the butter or coconut oil in the bread tin in the oven as it warms and then swirl it around to grease the tin before using the butter.)
  3. Mix in the sugar (or xylitol), egg, and vanilla.
  4. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix.
  5. Add the flour and mix.
  6. Pour mixture into greased loaf pan (should fill the pan about 3/4).
  7. Bake for 1 hour and cool on a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

To make the butter:

  1. Find a medium sized clean glass jar (the quickest way to sterilize it if you are concerned is to put it into a moderately hot oven for 5 minutes – the lid separate not on)
  2. Fill the jar no more than half full of fresh (organic) cream. Don’t using whipping or cream that is too thick – it doesn’t shake well.
  3. Close the jar – hold with a dishcloth and shake.
  4. Take turns with whoever is close at hand . Shake for approximately 20 minutes. The cream will start to thicken and then change, then get yellow flecks in it, then the buttermilk will separate out – keep shaking until you are sure it looks like – BUTTER!
  5. Pour out the buttermilk. This you can use in place of milk in any recipe (not conventional buttermilk)
  6. Use a spatula to squish the butter and pour off any extra buttermilk that comes off.
  7. Spread your very soft butter into a dish and use immediately or leave to set at room temperature!

VERY DELICIOUS!

“But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. ” Mark 4 v 29

TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds

I love LISTS and I love things being organized in box-type containers. A TEN THINGS list is like that!  I enjoy writing things in a structured, contained way. You will find links to all the TEN THINGS posts at the end of each. ENJOY!

Seeds are so good for you! They contain so much wonderful stuff – good nutrients, great oils and they are protein power-packs! Here are 10 things you can do with edible seeds. If you’d like any recipes for things in this list, please leave a comment and I’d be happy to send them to you!

1. Sprinkle raw (as in not toasted) seeds  onto salad. I love to add sunflower, sesame and pumpkin seeds to my salad Рyummy!


2. Grind up a combination of  seeds in a coffee grinder and sprinkle over salad or blend with a little with fruit juice or water and spread on a cracker for a great savoury protein snack.

3. Make salad sprinkles by blending / grinding 6 T sesame seeds with 2 T nutritional yeast flakes and 1/2 teaspoon salt – adds wonderful texture and flavour to salad.

4. Eat your seeds just as they are as a great snack with some fruit.


5. Add sesame seeds to your date balls (mix equal quantities moistened rolled oats, soaked dates and coconut plus 1T honey and 1T sesame seeds.)

6. Use sesame and sunflower seeds in your homemade muesli.

7. Grind seeds and add to healthy smoothies – we add ground flaxseeds to our cashew and strawberry smoothie for some great fibre.

8. Use sunflower seeds in combination with cashew nuts as a great base for creamy raw dips (other basic ingredients: water, lemon juice and honey).

9. Toast them and use them to top pizza and pasta – pumpkin seeds work great for this.


10. Add pumpkin seeds to your bread dough or brush a loaf or rolls with some butter then sprinkle sesame seeds on top just before baking.

Or – use them to play maths games with your children!

This post is linked to WFMW and Day2DayJoys.

“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” Matthew 13 v 31,32

TEN THINGS POSTS

TEN THINGS We Love About ‚ÄėRead-Aloud‚Äô Lounge¬†Time
TEN THINGS We No Longer Value and What Has Replaced Them
TEN THINGS about Family Fun Night
TEN THINGS ‚ÄúI Do Notice,¬†Mommy‚ÄĚ
TEN THINGS about Geography with Little Ones
TEN THINGS To Do with Edible Seeds
TEN THINGS to Help You in the Kitchen
TEN THINGS About My Days