Friday, 24 April 2009

Today I bought an aubergine plant, a Stevia, and a beefsteak tomato plant. I moved some chard seedlings together - no idea how big they'll get, but it was taking them so long and I decided to use one square for radishes, which I soaked and sprouted beforehand. The spinach is coming on well, and so are the red cabbages. My cocktail tomatoes look very happy, as do the cucumber, pepper and pepperoni plants. The sugar peas are dong well too. And every day I can already harvest a bit of lettuce. I use a few beetroot leaves in salads as well. I read somewhere that they're good to eat, and they are, at least I've only tried the baby leaves. I only have two kohlrabis but they're very boisterous and taking up more and more room in their square. I now also have four celariac on the go. I can't wait to get harvesting.

Started another cheddar three days ago. The last one was made in a hurry and I didn't put enough salt in the curds, plus the milk had gone off just a bit, so it was rather sour tasting. I used it grated on pizzas though, and it was fine. 4.5l of raw milk from the farm around the corner costs 2,80 Euro. That makes 720g of cheese, which would probably cost three times the amount in a shop. Even grated cheese costs quite a bit, even though one is also paying for the air in the packet, so I reckon that even if the cheese is a bit of an experiment, and doesn't necessarily always taste brilliant the first few tries, you can always cook with it, so nothing's wasted and one's probably saved money. I don't HAVE to use mozzarella. She's too fat anyway. ;)

I've been experimenting with different forms. This time I decided not to use the old biscuit tin. The cheese turned out rather flat, and took up too much room in the fridge. So this time I used a large yoghurt pot (the ones which contain firm Greek yoghurt and have a handle - bought expressly for the purpose of cheese-making and not for the yoghurt, of course) - and stuck holes in the bottom to let the whey run out. It works perfectly, the shape is fatter and more compact and will look better once it's cut, I trust. Better for putting on bread too.

I've ordered some cheese wax (yellow) which will prevent the cheese from drying out and growing unwanted mold. It'll ripen longer that way, I hope. Also ordered a berry picker which will be jolly useful for blueberries, bilberries in the woods, and hopefully our own jostaberries, this summer.

Drove my better half down to G. this afternoon for a meeting (so he could work in the back of the car to meet an important deadline) and while I was waiting for him I picked a trug full of dandelion heads.
I've got some preserving sugar left over from last year, and H. inspired me to make dandelion jelly again. We haven't had any for a long time and have run out. So they've been boiling in water in a large saucepan and tomorrow I'll get jelly-making.
I would really love to try making dandelion wine, which my mother used to make (turned out like a rich sweet sherry - yummy), but I haven't plucked up the courage yet. A very kind friend (he's quite experienced at it already) gave me a booklet on wine making, so I'm going to have to try it out.

Actually we're not eating jelly or cows' milk cheese at the moment. We're doing the 'Maker's Diet' again - started 5 days ago. So, no carbs for 2 weeks, loads of berry fruits, veggies, clean meat, seeds, sprouts, goats and sheep cheese - (my next experiment is to try goats cheese). Feeling better already.
Oh yes, and our potatoes are sprouting! Very exciting.

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