I went to a trade show or fair once – I cant remember where exactly it was – and I remember watching a Thermomix demo. I watching as the consultant showed how the machine blended, pureed, emulsified, cooked, baked. She made pizza, icecream and soup all in the matter of minutes. I stood there mesmerised, watching alongside the crowds. “Its amazing!” someone exclaimed. “Oh, that would save me so much time! If only I could afford one.” Everyone murmed in agreement except for me, thinking Why would you want something that did everything for you? Its taking away all the fun!
I love cooking, and baking and creating new recipes and the whole process that goes along with it. I don’t mind peeling onions, or chopping carrots or peeling garlic. I like to stand and stir pots, and taste as I go along to decide if my dish needs a little more salt, a little more flavour. I love eating a dish and knowing that nearly every component of the dish I have made from scratch, with love, and if it doesnt turn out right then thats okay because I will learn for next time. I don’t want a machine that takes this away from me.
Not only do I like the process, I like knowing exactly whats in my food. I like to eat as whole and as close to nature as possible, where possible (especially at home when I am cooking and have no excuse not to), and cooking from scratch is the perfect way to achieve this.
This brings me to this ricotta. A while ago when I went to buy some ricotta and while there were a few varieties available. Nearly all were low-fat, and all had lots of added preservatives and/or additives. I did a bit of research on the internet and it looked simple enough to make your own, so I bought a carton of milk and got to work, and a short hour later – voila! Fresh, delicious ricotta, made with whole, organic non-homogenised milk and fresh lemon juice. Not only was it a cinch to make, it worked out cheaper and the taste was so much better than the bought variety.
So, what to do with all this ricotta? You could add it to salads and pastas, or spread it on bread or crackers with some cracked pepper and fresh herbs. You could make this or this or even these. Or you could stay tuned for tomorrows recipe where I’ll show you what I did with mine (if you follow me on Instagram you may already have a fair idea of what this is ;)
Oh, and dont throw out or that whey you have, its packed with nutrients and amino acids and can be used in a number of ways – for example you can add it to smoothies or use it to ferment vegetables (more ideas and details here).
(And apologies about the lack of end shots once the ricotta had drained, I got a little carried away and added it straight to my dinner that night before I could take a snap).
Notes: I have only ever used full cream milk to make ricotta, so Im unsure how the process would go if you use skim/low fat milk (feel free to post in the comments is you have any experience with this!) For those in Tasmania/Victoria, I use Elgaars organic full cream milk.
2 litres || 4 pints || 1/2 gallon full cream milk
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
Add milk to a large saucepan over low to medium heat. Let it gradually heat to around 95 c || 200 F. If you dont have a thermometer, this will be after small bubbles start to appear on the surface, but just before it starts to boil.
Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and stir through. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or so to allow the curds and whey to seperate.
To strain the cheese, put a cloth over a fine sieve (I use a nutbag to do this, however you could use cheesecloth or a clean teatowel), with a bowl or container below to catch the whey. Gently scoop out the bigger curds, and then pout the remaining liquid through the cloth/strainer. Bundle up the curds within the cloth and allow to sit over a bowl for up to an hour depending on how solid you would like then – a shorter resting time will produce softer curds with more liquid, a longer resting time will produce more firm ricotta.
The ricotta can now be used, or stored in the fridge for a few days.
Makes 2 cups of ricotta