It’s March which over here in Blighty means it’s the start of Spring. Everyone is muttering ominously about snow but there are defiant little signs of life popping up everywhere. For instance, here are some tiny daffodils that managed to push their way through the cat poo in my garden; how cute are these:
As ever, when the seasons turn, so too do our tastes and appetites. Although there’s still a fair old amount of stewing, casseroling and currying going on Chez Homage, the odd salad is starting to creep in and I’m contemplating crisper, fresher food. And so, with this in mind, this month’s Cheese, Please! Challenge is fresh cheese. I’m talking about the sorts of cheese that are made with little more than milk and acid and eaten within days: ricotta, paneer, queso blanco. Tasty and versatile, they can be used in savoury dishes such as pasta, fritters or curries or in cakes and puddings, paired with fruit, chocolate or honey.
So there we are.
Oh, did I mention there’s a catch?
There’s a catch.
You have to make the cheese yourself. No, really.
Stop fretting. Seriously, all you need is milk, lemon juice and a (preferably) clean tea-towel or muslin – even kitchen towel at a push. Here, look, I’ll even show you how…
Heat one litre of full-cream milk (supermarket stuff is fine) in a saucepan until it just starts to boil. Add the juice of one lemon and this should start to happen:
If it doesn’t, try adding a bit more lemon juice. You can also use vinegar or rennet if you have it. Line a colander with a clean tea-towel and spoon the curds out into it; put it over a bowl if you want to keep the whey.
Leave it to drain until you get the texture you are looking for. If you want to make a cheese like paneer, you can also press it like I did here. One litre of milk will yield about one small yoghurt pot of fresh cheese.
It’s easy, really. But I can tell you’re not convinced so because this Challenge is a bit trickier than normal and because I promised the overseas Cheese, Pleasers a chance of a prize this month, there’s another prize. Don’t get used to this treatment, okay?
So, for the best recipe incorporating fresh cheese in March, the prize will be a copy of The Whole Fromage by Kathe Lison. All about French cheeses and the people who make them, this is one of my favourite cheesy reads. I first read it on holiday in France last year and have re-read it since. It’s a lovely book.
Want to take part in March’s Cheese, Please! Recipe Blog Challenge? The usual rules apply which can be found here.
Write a recipe post using home-made fresh cheese and post it on your blog or website. To be eligible for the competition, recipes must be submitted by midnight on March 29th 2014. The winner will be announced on March 30th 2014. The winner must send their address details to me so that I can post their prize; I promise not to keep them or do anything sinister with them.
There will only be one winner. Judge’s decision is final.
A link to this post and the Cheese, Please! button (code below) should be included in your post.
You can also tweet the link to me @fromhomage or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org then I will pick it up and post a link on this page.
So what are you waiting for? Get cheesing!
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Entries so far:
Yorkshire Curd Tart
Home-made Ricotta and Mushroom Pate
Ricotta Vegetable Pots
Orange Ricotta Poppy Seed Coffee Cake
Home-made Baked Ricotta
Hot Smoked Home-Made Mozzarella
DIY Pizza with Home-Made Mozzarella (and whey in the dough)
Potato, Carrot, Quinoa and Home-made Cheese Salad
Working Girl’s Baked Ricotta
Chickpea and Cucumber Quinoa Bowls with Home-made Ricotta
Home-Made Ricotta Gnudi with Tomato and Chilli Sauce