The One with All the Cheese

 

A couple of weeks ago, we were invited to Your Home Depot for a cheese making class. Being the cheese enthusiasts we were, this was an opportunity not to be missed! The class consisted of about 30 other cheese lovers and so having found ‘our people’, it was easy to feel at home. We watched a Mad Millie instructor make an array of different cheeses including Feta, Mozzarella and Mascarpone - #getinmybelly.

 

Not only did it look super simple but we received a cheese making kit to take home. As Vic was otherwise occupied, it was left for Ange and Stace to tackle the making of the cheese, their cooking skills put to the test. Besides the obvious talents of our very own ‘doe eyed baker’, the remaining two members are no geniuses in the kitchen - let the challenge begin!

The Italian Cheese Kit was made for beginners with instructions categorized as ‘very easy’; surely, we couldn’t screw this up? Well we did - before we even started. With intentions to make Mascarpone to bake a delicious Tiramisu, the recipe called for cream, but unfortunately we had stuffed up by buying unhomogenised milk instead. See ya later Mascarpone, Hello Ricotta Salata!

The recipe is very simple, only requiring the heating of milk and the addition of a couple of ingredients and viola, and then there was cheese! We were surprised at how easy it was and we think the best thing about making cheese at home is knowing exactly what’s being put into it. With a shelf life of about a week (it’ll last a little longer in the freezer), this is the perfect addition to breakfast, as a snack or better yet in a savoury tart! 

Armed with freshly made ricotta and bagfuls of groceries, this is what Vic came up with:

Vic’s Savoury Garden Tart

A tart base was made following a David Lebovitz recipe x1. You’ll have to read all about it here as he explains the process with beautiful simplicity: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/05/french-tart-dough-a-la-francaise/

Note: This recipe is used for a 9-inch/23cm tart

Ingredients for the filling:

4-5 medium sized brown onions, sliced thinly

200g bacon, diced

300g pumpkin, roasted

100g heirloom tomatoes

2 baby beetroots, cooked and diced

Pepper and salt to taste

Dill and basil to decorate

100g ricotta

Method:

1. A savoury garden tart in the making: brown onion and bacon is caramelised in a pan until translucent and dripping with porcine goodness. We threw in pepper and salt for good measure to waken the tastebuds! We then plopped in roasted pumpkin, baby beetroot and bright pops of heirloom tomato.

2. Pssst...don’t forget to preheat the oven now to 200 degrees celcius!

3. Obviously, a garden tart is no garden tart without greenery and greenery we had in spades! In went sprigs of dill and verdant leaves of basil. Ricotta hugged the tart securely, nestling into its bright crevices.

4. This was then baked for 20-25 mins.You might need more oven lovin’ as all ovens are a little fussy like that but just wait for the caramelisation to appear and a slightly scorched surface.

And the finished product? A pleasingly golden brown tart with a buttery and fragrant crumb. Let it cool first, sticky fingers (!), and then gently remove the tart from its tart shell and serve. 

Overall, it was really nice to be able to use ricotta we made ourselves for this recipe. The ricotta was soft and creamy and complimented the garden tart so wonderfully. I think we can call this one a success. Next time, mascarpone?!

The Girls Who Ate The World

Angela LiuComment