Homemade soft cheese

Here, as promised, the pictures of the cheese from the other day(which was eaten as soon as it  was spotted in the fridge!). It’s taken me a few days to get this done as Little man and I have been fighting the germs again-we are full of cold 😦

homemade soft cheese
Ha ha, you can’t see it! I’m so rubbish with a camera!

I put my finger over the flash this time so it’s a little dark…
homemade soft cheese

…and this was all mine, for all that hard work. Yeah, I watched it dripping for about 2 hours…well I wasn’t watching all the time…but It’s still mine! This was made with skimmed milk so not as naughty as you might think 😉

homemade soft cheese and bagel

Another batch of yoghurt was “cooked” last night for more cheese and yoghurty goodness 🙂

CHEESE PIE UPDATE

We tried it again with potato and it got a thumbs down. That’s settled it. It’s just cheese next time for us!

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Home made fresh yoghurt/yogurt

So how do you spell it anyway? With or without a h? I looked at an online dictionary and both seem right or am I reading that wrong? Oh well it’s yoghurt in my book now!

Recently I made yoghurt in an ordinary thermos flask with fair results. An ordinary yoghurt that you could spoon over cereal and add to cakes etc. So pleased were we that I made up another batch. Um…runny, gloopy sloppy stuff. I’m not impressed. I emailed big sis, Fluffy Red who is very much more of a chef than I am.  I’m thinking that it was made properly with no nasty bugs getting in there. I had a big pan of freshly boiled water with all my utensils in. They weren’t boiling but sitting in it for a bit. The yoghurt tasted like yoghurt, not nasty or anything. I then discovered that it had been knocked over and put back during the incubation time. Eeeeeeek! All of those bio-wotsits have had a kick in the head! Not good! I don’t know whether that made this batch so runny and wrong, but still, there’s room for improvement.

Fluffy Red uses an EasiYo maker for hers. Having bought it at a charity shop a few years ago.

I’m no so lucky as that but I did discover that Lakeland Ltd have theirs on sale, half price….yay….I’m getting one’o them thingies I said to myself. We spend too much money on yoghurt and it’s a lot of recycling, excuse or not, I trotted off to town to get one.

EasiYo™ Yoghurt Maker

Whilst I’m in the shop, I got talking to a lady who also makes yoghurt with her Easi Yo with just milk and cultures. She said she saved the last tbl sp of made up yogurt (after having made up a packet of easiyo) and made another batch with milk mixed in (Dear lady i’m so sorry that I didn’t ask your name and have to refer to you as she or lady. If you do ever get around to reading this, apologies).

So with my new Easi Yo on the go, tapping fingers and saying to myself….must not touch….must not touch….must not touch…I await my first batch. Here it is. Ooooooooh or is that mmmmmm. Delish, even if it is warm! It’s into the fridge to set. Eaten later with muesli and fruit, swirled into soup. It’s so not like shop bought rubbish. How did I live without this stuff?

Home made yoghurt

Now I’m addicted. So taken with it that I put on another batch and made soft cheese, it tastes exactly like Philadelphia! All I had to do was strain the whey from the yoghurt by putting it in a clean scalded tea towel. From the photo you can see that I put an elastic band around the tea towel and the handle of a wooden spoon. Then let it dangle over a glass jug for a few hours. Thumbs up from us.

making soft cheese

Sorry that I forgot to take a pic of the cheese but will follow with one, promise!

If you don’t count how much it cost to buy the maker itself, i’m going to be saving by making my own yoghurt and cheese. All I need now is a cow and a few chickens in the garden…nah not really but I really do wish ;-D

School cheese pie

When we were younger, at our school there was a pie on the menu. Cheese and onion pie. More like a flan really, it didn’t have a pastry top. At the time I wasn’t fussed over it, then again I didn’t like school dinners at all. Sloppy cabbage and lumpy custard just didn’t do it for me if you know what I mean. I usually ended up with a soggy cheese and sweaty onion sandwich wrapped clingfilm and the whole thing tasted of plastic. Oh yeah school dinners…mmmm! Saying that, they are much nicer nowadays. Little man has a flavour station with salad and wraps on the menu!

Ok ok, back to the cheese pie…My hubby remembers a cheese pie at school. It didn’t have onions in. I have searched high and low for a recipe for a pie that matches the description. A few have come close but none really hit the nail on the head.

At first I thought cheese, onion and potato, like mashed or something but no that wasn’t it…..just cheese? I decided that the pie was rather, quiche like, but without anything else in. I remebered onion in it but hubby said not in his school, so just cheese it was.

We could give that a go…..

……Oh yeah that’s it, believe me that’s it! Wahoo! After all the head scratching and trips down memory lane flippin’ eck’ we’ve got it! *bashing hand on the dinner table with joy!”

 I’m sharing our version here in case there are other people wondering how to make school cheese pie. If you try it please leave a comment. I’d love to hear how you got on and if it matches your description of school cheese pie too.

It’s a favourite in our house now by the way. We have it once every week or two. I remember it with onion but we think it’s much nicer without 😉

First off, this is my best pastry recipe. Not hard or rocket science and a nice light crumbly texture. Throw it together in a few mins and leave it in the fridge to rest, hey you don’t even have to walk to the shop to buy it. All the ingredients will probably be in the cupboard or fridge. EASY!

It’s just the average 1/2 fat to flour with an egg yolk and a bit of water…

Short Pastry

10 oz plain flour

2 1/2 oz butter, cold, cubed

2 1/2 oz trex/lard

1 egg yolk, beaten (you can keep the white to add to the filling)

2-3 tbl sp cold water

pinch salt

Sieve the flour and salt, chop the fats into the flour with a knife or whizz in a processor until you have fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk and 2 tbl sp cold water and another if needed to bring together into a ball. Handle as little as possible, wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 mins (If you are like me you might make the pastry in the morning ready to throw the whole pie together later on. If you did your pastry will be pretty solid. That’s ok just leave it on the work top for a little while to soften up a bit.)

Roll out the pastry to fit 2x 7 inch flan tins or 1 larger (I usually put one in the freezer for later). Whatever you have in the cupboard that will safely go into the oven really. I try to use metal since the heat is conducted better(no soggy base!).

I don’t bother to bake blind but you can if you want to. Same temperature as below for about 20-30mins with greaseproof and baking beans in.

Cheese pie filling (to fill one of the cases)

A pack of medium cheddar cheese

2 eggs and the white from earlier

milk to make up to 1/2 pint

salt and pepper

Put the oven onto 180 degrees C. If yours isn’t a fan oven you need it to be 200 degrees C/gas 6. Grate the cheese and fill the flan case with it. Yes I mean fill it, impossible to say how much as it depends on the size of your flan case. Let’s say to the top, level, loosely without packing it in. Grate as you fill I find the easiest way.

Beat the 2 eggs with the extra white from earlier and make up to 1/2 pint (again difficult to say how much as I don’t know how much your dish will hold. In general I use one egg made up to 1/4 pint times by however many times to fill the space in the dish, if that makes sense) add pinch of salt and a shake of pepper. Pour over the cheese. (If you find you are short of egg mixture at this point you could mix up another egg to make 1/4 pint and add to the flan. Just pour it on the top of the rest.)

cheese flan
Yes that’s it. Nothing fancy. Bake for about 40 mins until golden brown and risen up. It will fall flat when it cools. When you shake it gently, it shouldn’t wobble about in the middle. If it does, leave it in for another 5 mins or so.

Allow to settle for a few mins before slicing and serving with salad or jacket potato and open your mind to memories of school dinners if you so wish!

Enjoy 😉

Please leave a comment. I’d be interested to hear how you got on.

Making more circles and telling the time

This weeks home-school is of more circle making and telling the time. 

Using a compass to draw circles again. A fairly difficult task for smaller hands. Is it easier to turn the compass or the paper?

Today we made our clock face, glued numbers on and stuck on some fingers with a brad. We have talked about how many seconds in a min etc.

We watched the seconds hand on our clock tick round and timed how long it takes to do things like pick up a pair of shoes and how many seconds it takes to get up stairs. I was particularly interested that it took a whole 2 mins to boil enough water in the kettle for my cup of tea! Ha ha!

We will be looking at counting in 5’s next since each mark on the clock is 5 mins. That’s for next weekend though, we are busy playing tomorrow, it is Sunday after all!

Fish Cakes (or cleverly disguised leftovers)

When we have mash for tea there’s always a bit left over. Even if I think that I made enough extra to top a shepherd’s pie or something there’s never really quite enough for that. I have made up a lot of recipes in the past, disguising the leftovers as something else or thickening soups etc with it. Today its fish cakes.

I’m sorry that I didn’t weigh anything but I never really weigh leftovers since they are for using up anyway.

Fish Cakes

I had about 2 handfuls of mashed potatoes from yesterday, use whatever you have.

about 2 tbl sp cooked spring cabbage (also from yesterday, if I had carrots or other veg I’d have used that as well or instead of)

3 pieces haddock from the freezer, defrosted and cut into very small pieces

couple of sprigs fresh parsley from the windowsill, chopped (you could use dried if you have it. Or miss it out all together if you don’t. Ditto with the lemon)

1/2 lemon

1 egg, beaten

a bit of flour

a crust from the top of a loaf of bread, whizzed up to make breadcrumbs(I have made them without breadcrumbs before, just use flour and egg. They came out ok too.)

salt and pepper

Put the potato and the cabbage into a large bowl with the parsley, salt and pepper, grated lemon rind a tbl spoon of beaten egg and a tbl sp flour (a bit more of either the egg or flour if you need it). Using a fork, give it all a good mix up. Then add the fish and mix gently through. Try not to mix it too much if you don’t want the fish to break up too much.

Put the remains of the egg in a bowl (add a small amount of milk if you need it to go a bit further). Put some flour into another bowl and the breadcrumbs spread on a large plate. Have a spare plate ready to put the finished fish cakes onto.

Turn yourself into a conveyor belt and go for it! If you have another person around it’s very helpful at this stage, if not then you will just have to alternate between plates.

Get a spoonful of mixture (I used an ice cream scoop so they were all the same size), make into a ball then flatten a bit. Flour the flattened shape then dip it in the egg. Press breadcrumbs all over then put it onto the clean plate at the end. I hope that makes sense, sorry I didn’t take pictures, my hands were  full!

fish cakes, before cooking

Fry the fish cakes in a little oil then squeeze the lemon over the top. I had a big salad with mine, the boys had chips. Be healthy or not, depends how you feel really!

Enjoy!

Happy New Year

Happy New Year to all of you even though I’m a bit late in saying it.

I hope you all had a fun time over Christmas and New Year. It’s been busy with visitors here. I have been poorly with the flu but now getting back to normal. The time with my feet up, allowed me to tie up some loose ends of projects, the blanket that Little Man and I began has made its merry way onto the bed and I finished some embroidery that I started forever ago.

Little Man, Jade and I went for a short wobbly walk a couple of days ago. We manage a little further each day. Steamy hot cups of tea welcome us when we arrive back home. I’m glad my hubby thinks of the little things even if I have to remind him when bigger things like birthdays are!

We had a bit of snow today. I wonder if you had any where you are? I hope we get more soon, enough to build a snowman maybe. I will stay here, warm and snug for now though. Thinking of new projects for a new year. x