Thursday 7 January 2010

In Which The Pastor Becomes Miss Muffet!

As well as mince pies, we also managed to end the season with 9 pints of milk left over. I somehow miscalculated how much would get drunk in tea/poured on cereals etc. So I decided to make a huge quantity of rice pudding* and freeze it in smaller portions. But one of the library books I took to Norfolk was this...

gennaros italian year Gennaro Contaldo is the Italian chef who is Jamie Oliver's mentor.

The book is fascinating in its details about Italian country life and cooking, but he mentions that 'any leftover milk was made into ricotta'

So Bob thought we should try that.

It is remarkably simple - put 2 pints of milk in a pan, bring it to the boil, and then immediately remove it from the heat. Wait 30 seconds. Repeat this twice more. Then after the third boiling, add the juice of a lemon, stir with a wooden spoon, bring to just below boiling point. Stir again and leave to cool.

The ricotta [curds] and liquid [whey] separate out. Allow to cool and then pour through a sieve and allow to drain.


It looks wonderful in my blue china bowl...


...but you don't seem to get much cheese for your 2 pints! We haven't decided what to do with it yet.

Gennaro says it is a good afternoon snack spread on bread. It can also be used in cooking - sweet or savoury. Its blandness means it marries well with more strongly flavoured ingredients -  with spinach in a flan or pasta dish - or with dried fruits and honey in desserts.

If it stays cold like this, I may just use it to fill some jacket spuds - artistically sprinkled with some smoked paprika perhaps.

The 500ml of whey produced will be useful for making scones - and I may try using some of it in my next loaf of bread.

miss muffet 

*Very Easy Rice Pudding In Pressure Cooker

Melt a small knob of butter in bottom of the pan. Pour in milk, and for every ONE pint of milk, stir in ONE ounce of butter and TWO-AND-A-HALF ounces of pudding rice. Grate a generous amount of fresh nutmeg over the top. Bring almost to the boil - then place a circle of greaseproof paper/baking parchment on top [this is ESSENTIAL - it stops the liquid foaming up and clogging the vent]

Place the lid on the pressure cooker, and all the weights. Bring to pressure, and then turn the heat down and leave to cook for 12 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, turn off the heat and leave the PC to cool down completely and pressure to reduce.

You will be rewarded with a wonderfully creamy rice pud.

I do like the fact that all round the world, for years, people have been milking their cows [or sheep] and making simple home-made soft cheese like this - ricotta in Italy, cottage cheese in the UK, khoa in India, and requeson in Mexico [not sure what it is called in Russia, where they use it for Pashka, a fabulous Easter pudding]

clabber girl And dairymaids [or clabber girls as they were often called in the US, clabber being another name for buttermilk] were always regarded as wonderful young girls.

...and I love all those paintings by the Flemish masters, of young women with jugs of milk




  1. It has never once occurred to me that you could make ricotta cheese at home. Does it taste tons better than the stuff you get at the store? Is it worth the time and effort to make your own?

    The only thing I use ricotta for is lasagne, a dish that makes me very popular with my boys!


  2. Good ideas, but not sure that I'm very keen on, rice pudding, yum!

  3. Of course you could always make Yorkshire Curd Cheesecake!
    You will need a pastry lined tin.For the filling beat with fork curd from 1 and 1/2 pts of milk. Add knob of butter,2 tabsp sugar, 1 tabsp flour. Beat in 1 egg, 1 tabsp dried fruit zest of lemon a little top of milk and 1 teasp of peal (but not for Bob!)
    Fill pastry case and bake at 180C until firm to touch.
    This was my Dad's recipe. He always made his curd by adding a teasp of Epsoms Salts. I promise you cannot taste these but I don't think you could use the whey for your scones!


  4. LHH - It takes remarkably little time and effort - and It is VERY exciting watching the curds and whey separate [I wished I'd discovered it when the girls were children so I could drag them into the kitchen to see it!!] It is quite bland - you need to add salt to taste.
    ED - If the snow clears by Monday [some hopes!] call in and I shall share the rice pud from the freezer
    CV - thank you for the recipe. But PEAL ???? that uncharacteristic mis-spelling set alarm bells ringing. Is that really you, or someone impersonating you??
    Thanks for all comments

  5. Sorry about spelling! I was obviously carried away by thoughts of Yorkshire!
    Carole V

  6. We have a recipe for cheese like this in our Bible cookbook (which we call 'What Would Jesus Eat?', possibly irreverently).

    I knew you were in the swap, Angela - you emailed me! And a fellow Toulousaine has mentioned that she has Marie Claire Idées, so I thought of you!

  7. Oh I LOVE the idea of a WWJE cookbook! And I am sure the Eastern Mediterranean diet is a very healthy one


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