Friday, 13 September 2013

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Last Irish Cheese

A Cheesy Recipe

During my last few months at Gubbeen farm I attempted to understand further about making and ripening cheese by making 3 more "Gubbeen-style" cheeses.
For the first cheese, made on the 5th February 2013, I used the same techniques as I did when making the 'Christmas Cheese'.
The second cheese, made on the 13th February 2013, I varied the recipe to test the effects, by using double the amount of Starter.
For the 3rd cheese, made on the 15th February 2013 I also doubled the Starter and also "cooked" the curd up to 50 degrees celsius.

The Curing Process

I had been scared of curing cheese up until now.  Cheese is a living thing, reacting to its environment and is very temperamental, almost like a baby.  You must have a 'feel for it' when washing the rind, and check its progress up until the end.
It has been a big learning curve when it comes to the acidity of cheese.  Personally, I like to know what things mean.  When a cheese-maker says to me, "the pH of the curd needs to be x", or "if the pH isn't right at this stage then this will effect the curing", I need to know why.  I still have a lot to learn about the science of cheese and the effects of the environment on cheese, but I'm looking forward to discovering all I can.
You can see in the last photo that I'm still creating a somewhat 'Caerphilly' cheese - where the centre is holding less moisture that the nearer to the rind.  The taste is slightly acidic but overall enjoyable.
Also worth noting here is that these cheeses have great shelf life.  I brought my Irish-made cheese back to Australia, kept it in the fridge for nearly 6months and it still tasted good!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Christmas Cheese 2012

I'm having trouble with uploading photos from my iphone so just checking if this works:

Oh dear! Must fix glitch which is inhibitng these photos being rotated.... will get back to you!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Other Food On The Menu

For the food fans - some of these pics are from a while back (like about 5 months!) but I thought I'd include them as they're of mouth-watering food which I thought you'd enjoy.

Out for dinner at Ballymaloe Restaurant, main course

Dessert time - making me happy!

Load up your plate with sweets - raspberry fool, stewed rhubarb, homemade ice-cream and more

Breakfast in Galway at a funky cafe

Out for dinner in at Ard Bia in Galway, very cool restaurant, starter

Main course

Menu from the restaurant, sorry folks couldn't rotate it!

We returned the following morning to the restaurant, which became a cafe, and served a lovely breakfast and had sweets on display to tempt us

Tea time at Ballymaloe House

One of the best ways to cook a pig

Home made brioche - if you ever get the chance to make this you should!

Pizza from Antonios - a local pizzeria

Quite refreshing

Delicious sponge cake!

British Cheese Awards in Cardiff

A weekend away from the farm, an interesting time talking to other cheese-makers, a short stay in Cardiff.

The trip started with a road-trip with the farm manager Andrew all the way to Dublin where i stayed at a bnb and then flew to Cardiff Friday morning.
It was straight to work upon arrival in Cardiff, to the "Cheese tent" within the Castle walls.

Day one (Friday) was the Trade day - to talk to prospective buyers, or those people representing restaurants, deli's, supermarkets etc.  It was a relatively quiet day for me unfortunately with few reps tasting or asking questions, but I was told that the Trade day was always quiet.

Day One: Marion from Killeen (cutting her Award-winning goats cheese) talking to reps
Friday night was the Annual Award Dinner where we all gathered to eat and to have the awards presented to the winners of each category.  Ireland did well, taking prizes for Best Modern British, Best Goats Cheese, Best Flavoured Cheese and a few others!

Menu for the night

Me and Siobhan from Ardsallagh Goats Cheese

Veronica (Milleens Cheese), Tom the cheddar maker and Dick who makes Coolea cheese
Day two (Saturday) was open to the public and was much busier! There were crowds of people thronging through the tent sampling and talking and enjoying the general ambiance.

It did seem to me to be somewhat of a cheese-buffet for those going through, as you can see in the above picture.  Our cheese did sell quite well on that day, and the people there loved hearing all the stories behind the cheeses.  The rest of the crowd would just wander through with a drink in hand and enjoyed all the cheese samples on offer.

I really did enjoy meeting other cheese-makers, all hard-working, smart and most of them have a wonderful sense of humour.

Sunday morning I flew back to Dublin and spent the day wandering around the main streets of the city, enjoying the sights, doing a spot of shopping, while waiting for my ride back to the farm.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Cheese Diary - part one


Dear Cheese Diary

Today I made a cheese of my very own using 7 litres of pasteurised cows milk. 

I brought this milk up to 32 degrees centigrade and added 1 heaped teaspoon of 404 Culture.

After stirring in the culture I waited 1hour and 5mins and added approximately 2 dessert spoons of rennet (which had been diluted in double the amount of water) and stirred again.
I left the milk to set or coagulate for 30 minutes and then cut the curd.

Once I'd cut the curd a few times (ensuring enough moisture had escaped the little curd pieces) I turned up the heat gently to about 45 degrees, continually stirring. This is known as "washing the curd".

At this point I found that the curd was ready to be put into my mould.  It actually didn't make as big a cheese as I thought.  I was aiming for a fat "Large Gubbeen" size weighing in at about 1.7kilos.  Sadly it's only about 600g!!

My waxed cheese!
So I'm about to try it and will add some photos when I do - I hope it's a good one.
It did get smoked, which is why it's been waxed, but it didn't dry out properly the first time, so it could be that it doesn't taste quite right... we'll see!!!

1st Sept
Back again Cheese Diary

I know it's been longer than expected, but I've finally tasted my cheese and it tastes great - smooth and creamy and lightly smoked - not overdone.  I'm very pleased with the outcome.

I'm attempting to add some photos below...

The moment of truth... will it be good or won't it???

smells good to me!

sweet satisfaction

A cheesy grin!