Saturday, 16 January 2010

Hard cheese with cranberries

One of two recent cheeses I made in November - one with sage and this one with cranberries. Both were better than previous ones, even though this one is a bit bland. Toasted cheese with this one, though, is scrummy - slightly sweet.

I bought a 10l saucepan so that I could warm bigger amounts of milk than just the 4,5l which I'd been doing previously, and the resulting cheese size is far more satisfactory, and probably more cost effective.
Some herbs - sage and lovage, which I cut back in early October to dry and keep. I have to shred the leaves and jar them soon. Should have done it long ago but writing the book on Jezebel was taking up all my time last autumn.

I also harvested the stevia rebaudiana plant, dried it, and then pounded the leaves to powder. It's now in a little pot. I use it for putting on muesli instead of suger or honey. It's amazingly sweet.

Black Woodpecker

Saw a male Black Woodpecker (Dryocopus martius) this afternoon while out for a walk in the woods. Its pitch black plumage and deep red crown were incredibly striking against the white of the snow on the ground, where it sat, watching me as I approached, having interrupted its meal of grubs, which it had been pecking out of a rotten pine stump. I stood watching it for a good ten minutes only about 20 feet away. It didn't appear to be afraid, and finally hopped onto a pine tree close by where it perched, quite still, at one moment observing me out of one white-rimmed coal-black eye and the next, hiding behind the tree stem, until I finally moved away.