This page will document how my otium translated into making food from scratch. It is not meant to be a list of recipes, but more an exploration of what can be made simply and what effort is required to achieve acceptable results with just an average kitchen – with no freezer. I prefer experimenting over following recipes, I like to understand what I’m doing and what’s happening, and I am stubborn. This is the log of my mistakes and my successes, and what I learned from them.
I have finally started to make my own bread. It is not easy to find simple, fat-free, good tasting bread in London that doesn’t cost a fortune. I don’t think it is easy to make, and I suspect that it is one of those things that once you learn how to make and make often, will seem natural. Remember how hard it was to learn to cycle? Exactly. So I think it is worth trying to document my efforts.
I started by reading around the internet, but there are a lot of TV chefs that make it look so easy – but don’t explain why they do what they do. So I got this book from the River Cottage Handbook series and I love it! I can understand how it all works. I think it is the best book about bread I could find – even with all my free time. I definitely recommend it to beginners like me!
My first white bread after ‘the book’ (10/01/2013)
This is much better! (11/01/2013)
Oh dear. Cake or over-proved bread? (14/01/2013)
Buttermilk sourdough – sort of (23/01/2013)
A wholemeal and a half (29/01/2013)
Sourdough tastes better! (04/02/2013)
Biscotti – whether you wanted them or not (05/02/2013)
Bubbly sourdough (19/02/2013)
There is a lot to say about cheese – It is wonderful, second only to chocolate in my opinion. I want to keep this page essential though, even though I feel that there isn’t a lot of ready to use information available about making cheese at home in the UK. There are a lot of sites with recipes and ideas, but almost all of them are written by people with a lot of experience, who live in a farm, who have a lot of space and time…and some of the best ones are from the US – different milk, different climate and so on.
The short story is this: you need to breed some bacteria in the milk, until they start developing flavours and the milk becomes acidic enough for the rennet to work. Rennet is a natural enzyme in calves and kids’ stomach that is activated by gastric juices, that are acidic. The rennet will curdle the milk, and then you have to filter out the whey and cure the curdle to make cheese out of it. This said, the ways to do it are endless and the difference in outcomes is what makes cheese such an interesting food.
Making cheese: the story so far (16/01/2013)
Robiola e tomini (21/01/2013)
Mozzarella II (29/01/2013)
Toma e tomini (31/01/2013)
Mozzarella III – with a vengeance and a recipe (07/02/2013)
What can be done with sloppy curd? (15/02/2013)