Summertime, and the living is easy… every meal is a picnic and what could be more perfect at a picnic than some freshly made cheese… Ricotta cheese for the win. It is the easiest thing in the world to make and we are going to show you how:
Quick Lesson in Ricotta Cheese Making
All you need to make ricotta cheese is a litre of milk and the juice of a lemon and some muslin cloth. And to be honest we always have some milk and a lemon lying around… so the perfect pick-me-up, to an ordinary meal when visitors stop by unexpectedly. We heat the milk with the zest of the lemon and any flavours we may have picked in the garden, really whatever you have and there is no end to experimenting. Read on, read on… to see what we added to our cheese to make all the pretty flavours.
Let’s begin by making a plain and simple cheese…
Firstly, heat your milk to boiling point and then let it simmer for a while. Add the lemon juice from your lemon and stir it through the milk, which will separate into curds and whey.
Using a slotted spoon lift your cheese out of the pot…
And place it in a muslin cloth…
And place your muslin cloth, with the cheese inside it, into a colander, to drain for a few minutes.
And your cheese is ready to feast upon…
Adding Variety to Your Cheese
In our previous post I wrote how we have been on a fynbos forage at Veld and Sea, and learned about edible flowers and which fynbos plants would be perfect to add to our cheese making.
Of course you can add any herbs that you have growing in your garden or on your windowsill: rosemary, basil, coriander, thyme, the list is endless; but we were looking for a truly local flavour and went looking for some fynbos. There is a wide variety of plants that are available to make your cheese fresh and tasty and to add a fun twist to the flavours you are using.
So at the beginning stage where you are boiling your milk, add your flavours to the milk… once the milk has boiled, let it stand off the heat for about half an hour so that it can absorb the flavours. You can either leave the little bits of herb and flavourings in your cheese, to add a little texture to it or you can put it through a sieve before continuing, for a smoother cheese.
Then return your milk to the heat and gently heat it until it is simmering. And continue with the next step of putting the lemon juice into your milky mixture and continuing from there.
A Garlic Cheese
We used a garlic sage, and bushy as well as wild garlic, and some lemon zest. We infused the flavours into our cheese for about half an hour, then we drained it. We made sure to keep some of the pretty garlicky flowers to add to the cheese once we had drained the bigger leaves and bits of stick (!) out of our cheese.
And here we have a garlic flavoured ricotta, filled with pretty wild garlic flowers… and by the time I got to photograph it that was all that was left (so by far the most popular!!!)
A Lemon Floral Cheese
Our next flavour of cheese we added basic buchu leaves, buchu has a lovely unique flavour that is lovely and wild… and pretty, tiny leaves… so we left them in.
Once we had finished making this cheese we added corn flower flowers to our cheese for prettiness.
And Edible Floral Feast
Finally, for a pretty floral feast we used our edible flowers from our foraging…
Nasturtiums and violets for the win.
Pop the flowers into a bowl and place a batch of ricotta cheese on top of them…
When you are ready to eat it, turn it over onto a plate…
And there you have a variety of cheeses to nibble on with crackers, or make lettuce boats with or pop into baked potatoes… or anything really!!!
We couldn’t have created this post without the help of the wonderful Roushanna Grey, of Veld and Sea. You can read her answers to our Three Green Living Questions Here, and find her on Instagram over here, and information on her upcoming events and workshops over here.