Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The mother of invention

In France we have so many wonderful cheeses, and I have always been a cheese fan. This one is a Pyrennean Tomme - local, fresh and delicious. And this is its cousin, Tomme Noire.
Of course Roquefort is not so far from us either, but here's the rub - the steriods I've been given to get rid of the thyroid gland problems, which I'll have to take for at least two months, require me to avoid salt. "Mainly avoid cheese and charcuterie," said the specialist, cheerfully.
Sigh. After a few days into this sans-fromage diet, I was beginning to dream of cheese, and remembered that we have a recipe book with a couple of lovely pages of home-made fresh cheeses!
It's actually a book of Bible-lands recipes, looking at the historical, geographical and social influences on the cooking that Jesus ate (WWJE?).
Ooooh, LOOK at those cheeses! And if I made them myself, I could leave out the salt...
You'll see that the first recipe is for yoghurt cheese, and we have a (secondhand) youghurt maker, in use several times a week. Here goes for youghurt cheese...When it's made, line a colander with boiled cheesecloth :) and pour in the youghurt. Just let it drip...Tie the cheesecloth over the top and squash it flat with a plate and a tin of kidneybeans if you want to copy me exactly!
And a bit over 24 hours later, you have a load of whey (not found a use for that, yet) and some very convincing cream cheese.Who'd have thought it was so easy? I finished the first lot at lunchtime and have another colander on the go at the moment - I shall try some of the flavoured cheeses this time.Now, although I'm tag and award-free due to lack of time, I have accepted a tag from Temps Perdu. How could I resist a Helsinki blogger who finds such great vintage beauties to photograph? And loves France and French?
So I have to tell you seven things you might not know about me:
  1. I can make cheese! Oops, you knew that.
  2. I won a poetry contest in Devon with a poem about Exeter Cathedral - I think I was 14.
  3. I also did a project which won two season tickets for what became English Heritage - we visited loads of castles and stone circles that year! Loved it.
  4. I am half Welsh, quarter English and quarter Irish.
  5. My sons are half of the above, and half a mixture of English, including Jewish and Gipsy.
  6. I am trained as (and do a bit of private work as) a teacher for dyslexic children and adults.
  7. I live in the Foie Gras-producing area of France but I hate the stuff.


Juanita Tortilla said...

Oh no. Sans cheese for the next few months? But yes, not all cheeses need to be salted, I guess.

I have never tried yoghurt cheese before, might give it a go. Did you have an acid (vinegar / lemon juice) to separate the curd and whey?
I have been a fan of paneer, and even managed to succeed in making some of my own. Same steps as you did; with fresh milk, some lemon juice, boil it, drain it, compress it. And you get fresh paneer!

Michela said...

Gosh Floss! You come from a great melting pot!..I'm just a boring 100% Italian..
Your Roquefort looks like our very creamy Gorgonzola, made of green mould and smelling divinely..yuck! Honestly I'm not a big cheese fan :(

Cape Cod Rambling Rose said...

Ohhhh now I HAVE to try that cheese! We even sell those yogurt makers in our shop, so I have no excuse not to! So many kitchen tools, so little time! lol But I know my salt intake is WAY too high, and I LOVE cheese, so this sounds wonderful to try now (you've given me the nudge)!

Yappy Dog said...

It was interesting to read the 7 things about you ... I have Romanies in my family going back several generations (my mother made her income as a 'clairvoyant' and after many years of unsettled house moves, ended her days in Wales with a view of Sugarloaf Mountain). I would love to live in France and eat their cheeses - I love cheese too!

mise said...

Oh well done. I make something similar, but using lime juice as a curdling agent, and the finished product looks identical to yours and impresses guests.

VintageVicki said...

That looks really good :)

Never tried to make yoghurt or cheese but you're making me want to try it now.

TheMadHouse said...

Wow, cool cheese making, I have a receipe for Paneer, that I keep meaning to try. I hope you are feeling better, but must admit I nearly fell off the chair with WWJE. We visited South Arica Once and everyone was wearing WWJD wrist bands, I had no idea what they meant!!

bad penny said...

I'm so impressed with your cheese making Floss !

What else did Jesus eat ?

Elizabethd said...

Clever you. It might be nice with some fresh herbs chopped in? You could revolutionize the French cheese business!

Sophie - Chez Sophie said...

I know exactly how you feel, I am following WW and cheese has soo many points I have really tried to be good an not eat it. My substitute is Bel Fromage Laughing Cow triangles & wotsits!!!
Your cheese looks yummy.
Hope your feeling better.
Luv Sophie xxx

Angela said...

Use the whey when you are making scones [in place of half the liquid]

Floss said...

Excellent! A use for everything!

Lola Nova said...

How do I love thee cheese, let me count the ways...
At our local farmers market (when in season) there are a few handcrafted cheeses that are wonderful, though nowhere near the selection you must have. Unfortunately, these come at a rather high cost and so we only get them as a special treat.
Good on you for making your own. I would love to try my hand at a fresh mozzarella some time.

Kate said...

We've done cheese, yoghurt, creme fraiche, butter and ghee - so satisfying and it tastes much better too. Good for you for making it yourself, it'll be much healthier. There's no stopping you now! Hope you're feeling better. x

Lydia said...

Hello Floss -

Popped across to say how lovely & wise I thought your words to Joanne were today (& Mel's yesterday were very funny too...) Sorry to read that you haven't been well, hope you feel a lot better soon.
Mmm that cheese looks good!

Love Lydia xx

Sarah said...

How fabulous to be making your own cheese. We generally don't eat cheese but No.4 likes it. Hope it tastes as good as it looks. I guess it will taste like yoghurt perhaps?

Mami said...

What a fantastic cheese making!! I'm always inspired of your challange. I have tasted a bit variety of cheese.
Glad your condition is getting better.
Take care!!

Forest View by Jayne-Marie said...

ah.. how I miss my daily visits to l'eclerc to buy my fresh bread and cheeses... seeing the picture of the Roquefort brought it all back.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE cheese, esp. cheese with holes in (we call it 'mousy cheese' here). Unfortunatly am allergic to blue cheeses (maybe it's the penicillin).
Well done for making cheese :o)

Anonymous said...

p.s. Interesting that You teach dyslexia. I'm both dyslexic and dyspraxic as are three of my six children, one is also autistic.

Lululiz said...

I would be a very unhappy bunny if I wasn't allowed to eat cheese. We eat a lot of cheese in France, there is such a fabulous choice even in the smallest shop/market stall. I wonder whether the Pyrennean cheese we like so much is the Tomme Noire. It certainly looks like it.