So many discoveries this week!! Four dollars has changed my life in the form of a cook book stand! I can’t believe I have lived without one for so long! No more precariously balanced books propped up on whatever was hanging around the bench with a lemon, banana or a phone sitting on top to keep the pages open. Fab! It is possibly the most kitsch looking stand in the world, but it was $4, so there you go. Now all I need is some sort of lap-top protector so I can have that on the bench too – I’m sure there is an app for that, ha!
I first came across the idea of making my own ricotta after seeing Jennifer Perillo’s recipe on Food52‘s fabulous website. I wanted to make it with goat’s milk though, so after a bit more investigating I found several websites and blogs with suggestions, and settled on an excellent recipe at Honest Cooking – perfect! Goat’s milk also has a wonderful amount of calcium, vitamin D, and a protein profile to make the cows jealous. It has traditionally been used as a remedy for weakened conditions, malnutrition, stomach ulcers, nervous exhaustion and loss of energy 1.
Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk as it has smaller fat globules, a softer curd, and because of the nature of its fat structure, is naturally non-homogenised. Homogenisation splits up the fat globules making them able to sneak into the blood stream along with particular enzymes (xanthine oxidase for the nerds like me) instead of being excreted. This process has now been linked with damaging cell membranes, creating scar tissue and fatty deposits in our arteries or atherosclerosis 1. So maybe next time you are buying your dairy, check out the non-homogenised milks that are becoming more readily available and relish that layer of creamy fabulousness that settles on the top!
The story of dairy is a lot more involved than that, but I will leave more discussion for another time.
But I digress, ricotta. For one cup of deliciousness, you will need:
1 litre of fresh goat’s milk 1 teaspoon sea salt
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
First, pour the goat milk into a nonreactive (stainless steel, enamel – not aluminium) saucepan or pot and add the salt. Heat gently over low-medium heat, watching with love and stirring occasionally so the bottom doesn’t burn.
When the milk is on the verge of boiling, remove from heat and add the lemon juice.
Stir once, gently, to encourage the curds to form and then let the pot sit undisturbed for five minutes (you should see the curds and whey split straight away). While you are waiting for the magic to happen, line a strainer with a double layer of muslin/cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Pour the milk mixture carefully and let the curds strain. I rigged up this amazingly high-tech elastic band jug scenario, but whatever works is fine.
The ricotta will be ready to eat after an hour of straining, but of you leave it for another hour you will be rewarded with a denser, richer texture. I have already used mine up in a spelt pasta bake and in a little pastry with a fig and drizzle of honey as pictured above….mmmm.
But what do you do with the left over whey? Here is a blog with 16 suggestions for you, and I have also used it to soak grains and legumes and in smoothies. It’s such a shame to throw it out as whey has such an excellent protein profile.
So why not be all artisan about it and make your own cheese – fun and delicious, you can’t go wrong!
1 Pitchford, Paul (2002) ‘Healing with Whole Foods’, North Atlantic Books, California.