2014-11-16 - No Meat Lunch2014-11-16 - Artichokes2014-11-16 - Carcioffi Cooked2014-11-16 - Carcioffi Eaten

Lunch without meat does not often happen in our house, but today’s meal was so good I almost did not miss it. Fritters made from radish leaves, of which the seeds were purchased from Italian Seeds Pronto the very good Italian Franchi seed supplier in New Zealand, complimented by home made yogurt with milk purchased from the most beautiful dairy farm ever. A salad with borage leaves and flowers, the plant being supplied by Kimberley of Good Life Gardens in Dunedin, mixed with radish from the back yard and a good vinaigrette  – mix two parts good extra virgin olive oil with one part of home made apple cider vinegar, ad a bit of salt and pepper and shake well before dressing. Of coarse all were supplemented by good home made wine.

This was followed by artichokes again from our dairy farm in Port Chalmers. We like to cook it in water with a squeeze of lemon until the leaves come free when pulled lightly, then drained. Pull the leaves from the head and dip into good extra virgin olive oil with plenty of salt added to it and then rip the soft flesh from the leave with your teeth. After an enjoyable meal you eventually reach the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – artichoke hearts!

All of the above accompanied by delicious home baked bread and at the end there is no space left for the meat in any way.



Cheese Production for May 2014 – Romano recipe

2014-06-02 19.54.09


We use a lot of cheese in cooking and for light meals.  There is very little choice in Dunedin where Italian cheese is concerned, so I hope to keep us supplied all year round. I shall soon post some information on the background and various uses of Italian cheeses


The month of May has been relatively productive with five kilograms of hard cheese (Parmigiano, Montasio, Cheddar and Romano) two kilograms of bacteria and mold ripened  cheese (Brie) and about four kilograms of soft cheese (Three types of Ricotta, Mascarpone and Mozzarella) being produced. I purchase about 20 liters of Dairy and Goat milk  per week and after harvesting some cream, drinking milk and making yogurt (four kilograms per week) the rest of the milk is being used for cheese making. All the whey, off coarse, is being made into Ricotta and the “whey” after the ricotta is being fed to the animals. The Dunedin climate, during the next three to four months, will be very good for cheese maturing and my outdoor cheese ripening safe on the South side of the house compliments the process very well. I therefor expect my first cheese season in New Zealand to produce good products. Because of the favorable conditions, production will increase during the following months to produce another 60 Kg of hard and Mold ripened cheese during the next four months, thereafter monthly production will decline to normal levels.

Next week we kick off with Cacciocavallo and Scamorza, then back to Provolone, Parmigiano and Romano. I am also going to try a yogurt cheese shortly. We also hope to have some sheep milk coming on line soon, which will result in Pecorino being produced.

Last week’s Romano. one of the easier cheeses to make, produced a very high yield and here is the recipe.


Heat 10 Liters of milk to 32 C and ad 150 g of Thermolytic mother starter.  Mix well and ad 2 g goat Lipase. Cover and allow to ripen for 15 minutes. Now ad 7 ml rennet and stir for two minutes with an up and down motion. Top stir for another minute. Allow to set until the curds gives a clean break. Cut the curds in 6 mm cubes – I use my salmon filleting knife and a stainless steel whisk.

2014-05-27 12.23.212014-05-27 12.45.20


Slowly, over a period of one hour, raise the heat of the curd whey mixture to 48 C, while stirring constantly but gently, to prevent mat forming. Now keep the temperature at 48 C for another 40 minutes, whilst stirring gently.  The curd granules should now be firm enough to hold their shape if pressed between the fingers. Drain the whey and keep for Ricotta. Line a 1 Kg cheese mold with cheesecloth and pack the curd inside. Press at 2 Kg for 20 minutes, then flip and press at 5 Kg for 40 minutes. Flip again and press at 10 Kg for 2 hours. Flip again and press for 12 hours at 20 Kg.

Cheese Press

Remove cheese from the mold, peel the cheesecloth and submerge in a saturated salt brine solution for 12 hours. Pat dry and leave to air dry. Ripen for 4 – 12 moths. Turn daily for the first few weeks, thereafter turn weekly. If any molds form on the surface, rub lightly with a vinegar cloth.   ENJOY!!



2014-05-14 - Brie

I did some Bacteria and Mould ripened cheese today – Brie. This is one of my favorites, but is not easy to make. Heat 10 Litres of full cream Jersey milk to 30 C and ad your mother Flora Danica starter. Stir very well and let ripen for 15 minutes. While keeping the milk at 30 C add the 4 ml Rennet diluted in 50 ml distilled water. Stir with a up and down motion for one minute, then top stir for another minute. Leave it undisturbed for 3 hours while keeping the temperature at 30C.  All cheeses using little Rennet may be problematic, but trial and error is the only solution. By now the curds should have formed. Cut the curds in 12 mm cubes. The moulds to use for Brie are open on both sides, as to facilitate easy turning over. Fill the moulds and leave to draqin for 12 hours at about 20C (Room temperature). With a board on top and one at the bottom, flip the cheese over and let drain. The cheese should not break in this process. Repeat this flipping over every four hours for at least five times and let it drain all the time. Once the cheese is dry enough, approximately one day after filling the moulds, take it out of the mould and lay on a clean cloth. Now rub the top and sides with salt. After two hours, flip the cheese over again and rub the other side with salt. Let is rest for one hour and spray the white mould on all sides and store at 15 C for one week or until the white mould appears. Now store for 3 months at 13 C and 85 % humidity. The cheese should now be soft inside when pressed, slightly brownish on the surface and creamy and buttery when eaten.  If the cheese is cut before it is matures, it will not mature. A pure white coloured cheese has not matured yet and needs to be stored longer. ENJOY!!  Off coarse I made Ricotta with the Whey


Looked for Bufala but only found Jersey

Today was another family outing to the dairy farm and the youngest was keen to get to know the young Jersey bull a lot better by poking and pulling ears of the young future stud.

After having a good look to see if there were any buffalo around, as it was my intention to make some Mozzarella, I had to settle on Jersey milk after all.

We came home with some beautiful fresh full cream Jersey milk, of which I converted the bulk into some fine Brie and Mozzarella. The rest of the milk I put into my home made Separator to collect the rich and yellow cream tomorrow for our week’s supply. Tonight after supper I am converting the whey into Ricotta. We had a delightful antipasto of INSALATA CAPRESE, with fresh home made Mozzarella, fresh ripe tomato, fresh basil, olive oil and pepper, with fresh home made bread to clean out the plate.

2014-05-11 - Insalata Caprese 2


Heat  10 Liters milk to 33 C and wait until the pH is 6.8. Ad 100 g of thermophyllic mother starter and mix well. Ad 3 g lipase and stir very well. For Jersey milk, top stir for another minute. Cover and ripen at 33 C for 30 minutes. Ad 4 ml rennet and stir with a up and down motion for one minute.. Cover and let is set at 33 C for 90 minutes, or until the milk has set into a soft curd. Once set it will have the texture of a soft yogurt. Gently cut the curd into 6 mm blocks and let it set undisturbed for 20 minutes. The whey will float to the top and the pH should now be 6.5, if it is not, wait a bit longer. Slowly heat the curd t0 38C , increase heat by 2 degrees every 5 minutes. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Drain the whey from the curds (save the whey for Ricotta) Fill a large pot with water (double cooker) and heat water to 40C. Now place the curd pot into the water pot and keep it at 40 C for three hours so the curds can acidify.  Every half hour, drain off the whey and flip over the curds. At the end of the three hours check that the pH is 5.2 – 5.3, if not, wait some more. Now put the curd mass on a draining board and cut the curds in 10 mm sizes. Once cut up and drained, put the curds into a stainless steel bowl and cover with water at 78 C. Using two wood spoons, work the curd together and form it into balls. The surface will now become glossy and stretchy. when gently pulled. Continue to work the curd mass until blisters start forming on the surface. When the ph is 5.3 or less, put the cheese into a bowl with cool water to become firm. Make a brine with 5 Liters of water, 1 Kg cheese salt and 20 g Calcium Chloride and submerge the cheese for one hour. It can either be eaten fresh or stored for later use to make delicious pizza.


Low-Fat Fad Has Done Unfathomable Harm – Eat Healthy


Real Ricotta – made from Whey

2014-04-15 - Montasio and Ricotta

As we all know Ricotta is suppose to made from whey and not milk. Even though the whole milk version is not bad, nothing comes close to the real deal. I make milk Ricotta every time I fetch milk, which is about once every ten days. but only can make real Ricotta after I made a hard cheese, which is not every week. Last night the Montasio went well and after it was in the press, I made some Ricotta with the whey.  Following breakfast and lunch, I had to be quick, otherwise there would have been no product left to photograph. Even though the yield from whey coming off ten liters of milk is not a huge quantity, but it made up in quality.


Fresh whey – less than two hours old

50 ml Apple Cider Vinegar

100 G Mesophillic Starter (I propagate my own cultures)

3 g Salt (Non iodised)

50 g Heavy cream – I made my own milk separator – simple and cheap – and will blog about it soon.

Put whey in a large non corrosive pot and heat over direct heat to 94 C.  Stir continuously to prevent the whey from burning to the hot bottom of the pot, but do not boil

Turn the heat off and slowly ad the vinegar whilst stirring continuously. Small white particles will commence to form which is the precipitated protein (curds)

Ladle the curds carefully into a ricotta colander lined with fine muslin cloth.  When all the curd is in the colander, allow to drain for about ten minutes and when no more visible moisture is present in the curds, then mix in the starter.

Tie the corners of the muslin and hang over a container to drain for about three hours. When the ricotta does not release moisture any more, untie the muslin and mix in the salt and cream

Store in refrigerator for up to ten days (It never lasts that long in any case).

One of the most common cheese products used in Italian cuisine