Saturday, 4 February 2012

Ballymaloe Day 10, 20th January - Lamb, sorbet, cheesemaking

Well got in early and just as well as there was a saw and half a lamb carcass to deal with. I sawed off the neck (sometimes called scrag or scrag end), toasted and ground some cumin seed, slashed the lamb with my really sharp knife and rubbed it with the spice, sea salt and olive oil. It was in the oven before 9am and smelled amazing!

Another day at the office for Sweeney Todd 
 Then I had the rest of the morning to make some roast potatoes, swiss chard, gravy and marmalade. Another weird combination. Well, the marmalade took forever to set, and the swiss chard never stood a chance. I was pleased with the marmalade and the gravy was delicious! I am slow at thinking how to present and serve the food though, still haven't really grasped the concept of that.

The afternoon was Rachel Allen showing us how to use use the leftovers from roast lamb in moussaka and shepherd's pie. We also covered green vegetables, green vegetable soup and an orange and passion fruit sorbet, made in the sorbetiere (posh name for an ice-cream maker). She also dealt with some other exotic fruits and made granita and fruits in syrup. We also went through an introduction to wet and dry curing and smoking.

Instead of heading back to the cottage for a well earned rest on Friday evening a few of us went to the dairy to make some cheese. Yes, although I should have been sick to death of dairy products after this week this was a great opportunity you wouldn't get many other places, to make cheese with milk from right there on the farm.

The milk was heated up in a small vat with rennet added, then cut with cheese knives (look a bit like big egg slicers), then the curds and whey separate and we kept stirring and heating them till they reach right stage. Then the whey is drained off (they feed it to the pigs here although we did try a glass to drink - kind of strange if I'm honest) and pull the curds into small bits and pack them into moulds and weigh them down with weights. We kept turning them every 15 minutes, then every 30 minutes, then every hour, then every 2 hours, then in the morning, lunchtime etc etc till we end up turning them once a day for 2 weeks. The cheese will go into the fridges out of the moulds tomorrow when we cover them with salt and rub that in.

sifting the curds and whey
My little cheese

That's all for another crazy milk-themed week here at Ballymaloe!

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