So here we are already well into the first week of December. I swear that time travels more quickly the older I get. I remember as a young child our two week school holiday would last forever, and I managed to cram a million and one things into those long two weeks, often creating little games, making movies, writing stories, playing games and going on adventures. These days, two weeks seem to pass with barely any productivity it seems. I remember reading once that whilst time itself does not actually speed up, our perception of it does because when we are younger, everything we experience is new and life is full of new experiences. When we get older, not only have we experienced more, thus leaving for less “new” experiences, but we also tend to develop more rituals and routines and therefore time appears to go more quickly as we experience the same things every day.
Thus arguably, if we push ourselves to experience new things time in theory should slow down, or – once again – our perception of it should.
This is an interesting concept, but I’m not quite sure how accurate it is. I’ve been trying to take note of new experiences lately. In the last two weeks there have been numerous highlights – a wedding, a fun dinner with one of my closest friends at a new restaurant, plus an after-dinner cocktail (on a school night – crazy!) I also had a hair cut and colour, saw a live band, celebrated another friends birthday and went on a little Sunday adventure with B’s family while his sister was in town. Despite cramming a few fun and different experiences into my days however, I still feel the past two weeks have gone incredibly fast, and I wonder if it’s the fact that my day-to-day life is still fairly routine (9-5 job, gym, Pilates, etc) which allows the perception of time speeding up to prevail. Whatever it is, I still can’t get over the fact that Christmas time has come around again and we’re nearly another year over.
So – lets talk about this dish.
Baked cheese is always going to be a winner at any dinner party or catch up with friends that you may have coming up over the holiday season. Whilst I’d normally associate baked cheese with autumn or winter, the cold and rainy “summer” days we have been experiencing here in Tassie lately make me want to eat warm comfort foods, so I feel this is more than acceptable with the current climate.
I’ve made the ricotta here from scratch. While you could easily buy some ricotta from the store I encourage you to make your own – if you’ve never made cheese before at home this is the best place to start – it’s ridiculously easy and tastes a million times better than the store bought stuff.
I use a fresh, local non-homogenised milk which works really well – you need fat present to allow the curds and whey to separate, and you’ll also want to use a milk that pastuerised as little as possible (ie – no UHT). This dish is supposed to be deliciously rich and creamy, so looking for a low-fat option isn’t going to produce the best outcome – plus if you read my last post (or any media lately) you’ll know that fat is not the enemy and in my book real, whole foods win every time – particularly so when it comes to cheese.
And if you do make your own ricotta, stay tuned next week as I’ll share a great recipe to use up some of that left over whey.
- 1 cup | 200g full fat ricotta (made from 1 litre full cream milk)
- 1 Tbsp minced rosemary
- 1 egg, lightly whisked
- 1 tsp lemon rind
- 2 tsp baby capers, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 160 C | 320 F
- Combine all ingredients except the egg in a bowl. Taste the mixture and season a little, though be careful not to over-season and the flavours will develop more during the cooking process. Stir through the egg and then add the mixture to a lightly greased ramekin or small baking dish, and bake in the oven for 35 - 40 minutes or until the top is set.
- Serve immediately.