Thursday, 21 May 2009
The sweet peas are because my grandmother used to have a long trellis of them every year in her enormous garden in Storrington in Sussex - (the house was demolished after Grandpa's death - I remember the asparagus and the cucumber frame too )- and she'd bring huge bunches of them into the house.
Their scent filled every room where they were. I loved them... Sweet peas and the smell of Grandpas's pipe tobacco; the damp, wonderful, faintly alarming smell of the garden room with its enormous rubber plant whose leaves we were allowed to clean with milk; the constant ticking of the huge, spired grandfather clock in the corner of the drawing room; the dark green, musty smelling carpet on which we would lie for hours, making card houses and playing Beggar my Neighbour, while the thrushes sang in the apple trees in the orchard outside and the azure periwinkles crept into every crevice in the stone-flagged terrace under the kitchen window.
The beans go in tomorrow because today is a public holiday in Germany (Ascension day/Father's Day and the shops are shut. So it's a-bean-buying I'll go tomorrow, plus I need two new kohlrabi plants - the first ones are so fat and perfect-looking and they'll soon be ready for picking.
Monday, 18 May 2009
Have also made my first goats' cheese. Same method as with the cheddar - worked beautifully. The curds are a lot softer though, and break up into very fine pieces. It sat under a press for three days and I took it out this morning to begin maturing. It's whiter than the cows' milk cheese, and tastes quite creamy. We'll see how it turns out.
I'm finding that cheese-making is a question of experimenting. So far, each cheese has tasted somewhat different. Maybe I'm too much of a creative chaotic to be rigidly disciplined every time, and follow exactly the same rules. I find experimenting a lot more fun. Two weeks ago I made a cheddar with sage and mediterranean herbs in it. It smells gorgeous. Both this and the previous cheddar are now maturing in the cellar (which isn't ideal as far as its temperature is concerned, but it's the best I can do. Both are covered with a yellow cheese wax to prevent drying out and bacterial attack.
I've also reorganised the cellar and made room for food storage. Our larder in the kitchen is merely a small cupboard into which relatively little food will fit, so it makes sense to have enough room somewhere else. I would LOVE to have a walk-in larder one day.