I do believe that it is time to apologise for the onslaught of posting and to reassure the nervous reader that this posting rate will not continue. It really was just a matter of, having decided to establish this blog, getting it up to date so that nothing was forgotten.
We are up to date now, more or less, and I do believe that I can promise not to exceed one post a day on a regular basis on average. In fact, I may well be stuck for enough of interest to manage a post a day. We shall see.
What is upcoming? Well, I had wanted to make a start on cheese-making (Halloumi-style) at the weekend but it is becoming clear that I have significant challenges to meet, not least of which will be to find some decent fresh un-homogenised milk.
When I was a girl we lived a Downstairs life, in tied Estate cottages that went with my parents’ work. Dad chauffeured and Mum was often called upon to work in the Big House as a requirement of his having the job and cottage. Some of the Estates that we lived on had a Home Farm and often one of the perks was a daily supply of milk from the dairy. There were five in our family and I remember one place had a rule of “1 jug a day per cottage”. My ever-resourceful parents spent time seeking out a jug that held three pints and lodged it in the dairy, sticking to the word, if not the spirit.
“Green Top” raw untreated full milk (not the same as the newer semi-skimmed green topped milk) is a thing of rare beauty. In those days our milk never got as far as receiving a green top. True enough, my kid sister did develop Brucellosis, but the custards were good… you know? Occasionally we would have a dish of cream allotted as well. Cream that could be cut and sliced with a knife. Sheer heaven
Later, as a young adult, I led my own Downstairs life – I was a cook in a large Tudor built mansion house. The Estate was into beef and sheep, but there was no dairy on the farm. We had a local delivery instead, but that milkman delivered Green Top from another farm and I rediscovered the delights of cooking with such richness and freshness. Oh my, the Pavlovas filled with cream of ultimate unctuousness!
The UK Government put the milkie out of business. They wanted to ban Green Top altogether but an outcry led to sales being permitted from the Farm Door still. It is difficult for anybody to find the right farm door these days. Especially in Scotland – the only part of the UK where it is not legal to distribute raw milk.
I live on an island full of cattle, but this is Beef country. Orkney Beef is renowned and is a rare thing of beauty itself but that does not alter the fact that there are no dairy cows here and that the only milk that we can get is Supermarket milk – delivered, already ageing, by ferry from Kirkwall to our few small shops.
Now, it turns out (and I had never really considered this before – it clashes with what I learned in Domestic Science, oh so many years ago) that your basic Supermarket pinta is homogenised these days. I have read many articles that state that cheese cannot be made with homogenised milk, though a few others say to go ahead, it may be successful though not as good. Un-homogenised milk may be had from Prince Charles, via Waitrose, and this is what most home cheese-makers use. Alas, I am in Orkney. I imagine that, wherever our nearest Waitrose is, the mileage will have three figures in it.
…aha, they have a Branch Finder. There is a branch closer than expected. They do exist in Scotland, although I was sceptical. It seems that the more exclusive parts of the Central Belt are supported. Morningside. My, how posh. A bit far to pop out for four litres of milk, though. 337 miles, and that’s probably as the crow flies.
So, homogenised milk it must be. My next problem is that supplies come in on Thursday evening – so that’s probably Thursday morning delivery to Kirkwall and that milk is certainly already a day older than when delivered to stores further Sooth. By the time that I (actually, we – this is joint quality time venture stuff) want to make the cheese at the weekend, the milk will be poised to go off.
Anybody tried making cheese with the micro-filtered stuff? Does it leave sufficient of the good bacteria in the milk? I rather think that the answer is not the one that I would like.
I think I am going to get me some goats.