Last weekend I made cheese.
My friends have called me the Dairy Queen for decades.
My love of cheese and cheese dishes is legendairy!
So a cheesemaking course at Cornersmith was always going to be something I had to do.
I just had to find a free weekend.
Kristen Allan is the cheesemaker; ricotta, yoghurt and labneh are the cheeses we learn to make.
Slowing cooking is the philosophy; sustainable, ethical food production is the aim.
And good times are the name of the game.
The course begins in a relaxed manner.
A platter of homemade cheeses, pickles and bread are provided for us to sample as we get to know each other over a glass of wine (or homemade cordial).
After a discussion about what type of milk we should use and the various processes involved we get stuck in.
We don our aprons, pick up tools and begin to slowly heat a pot of milk, lemon juice and salt.
Kristen told us lots of amazing facts about curds and whey, including the uses of whey to wash your face and to water your pot plants.
After the appropriate cooking time, it's time to separate the curds and whey.
Ricotta is born!
Kristen then showed us how to make our own yoghurt before providing us with enough of her homemade yoghurt (made earlier as it takes a day to make yoghurt from scratch) for us to start our own labneh.
I have since made my own yoghurt at home and another batch of labneh.
Kristen provides a cheese hotline so that we can contact her with any problems.
My second batch of labneh ended up tasting quite different to the first - it may have been the milk I started with or not enough salt.
I'll add some herbs and olive oil to see if that improves the flavour.
It's all very, very fascinating & I can't wait to have more time over Easter to make another batch!