Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Cheesy Chusday

The Chorizo turned out fantastic! I'm thrilled I am able to do sausages now, as I had given up totally on pre-made sausage, with their preponderance of large pieces of gristle. The final straw was several years back when I thought I would try some 'gourmet' sausages that had come on the market from a local artisan place (having given up on standard store-bought almost a decade before). Wow - the gristle pieces were even bigger than standard sausages. Then came the real crunch - literally! I cracked a tooth on a very large piece of bone in the sausage. Gourmet? For Klingons maybe, but I certainly wouldn't class them as even edible, much less gourmet.

Meanwhile, here we are over half way thru winter, and winter has finally actually set in. Brrrr! I am hoping for a sunny day soon, so I can bottle my cider. At the moment it is WAY too cold in the kitchen to do much of anything. Even putting the jug on is a quick dash before rushing back into the lounge and the warm fire. Oh, what I wouldn't give for a wood stove! Fortunately, the entire long 'outside' wall of the kitchen is mostly window, and faces the sunny side all day, so even in winter, when it is sunny it warms up real fast.

The last two sunny days we had I made the cheeses I had been waiting to make. On the first sunny day I did the Gorgonzola, which is a blue cheese. It is the oldest (i.e. first) blue cheese, reputed to date back to ancient Rome. Blue cheeses are quite fiddly to make, this one needing 10 hours set aside for it.
I only like blue cheeses when they are relatively 'fresh'. Unfortunately, even the 'fresh' ones in the shops are not at all fresh. Not that I can actually afford to buy them anyway. The last small (and I do mean small!) piece I bought for a pasta dish was 50g (1.76 oz) and cost almost $9.00! So making my own now is a real boon. Blue cheese dressing, blue cheese pasta sauce, ... mmmm...
Two days later we got another sunny day and I was able to do the Beer Cheese. This is a hard cheese that will be waxed for aging. For this one I soaked the curds in a Cooper's Best Extra Stout, a wonderful, rich, aromatic brew. Cooper's is a great Aussie artisan style beer - my favourite brand for using in breads, cheeses, meat dishes, and stews.

On the left is the Beer Cheese wheel, air drying in preparation for waxing. On the right are the Gorgonzola wheels, salted and ready for maturing to develop the mould, after which they will be wrapped and aged for a scant 4 weeks to produce a wonderful fresh blue cheese.

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