Saturday, July 7, 2012

Learning to make cheese

We recently hosted the fabulous Katherine Mowbray at Owhanake Bay for a cheesemaking course. Katherine is one of the best presenters I have come across - very knowledgeable, engaging, with a lovely sense of humour.

Curds and whey. 

 Setting up the mould for the feta - note the glasses of wine.... seemed only appropriate for cheesemaking.

 Curds into the mould.

 Making ricotta, after the feta and haloumi, from the same milk (it's magic....).

 Cooking the haloumi - there may a more technical term for this.

Ta da! Finished haloumi.  She also made feta, and marscapone.

I already had the thermometer, now I have the culture and the rennet, so there is no excuses. (But if only I had a cow...).

Monday, July 2, 2012

Pruning Season

Pruning has begun. 8 rows down so far, 28 to go. Although some of those are much shorter, I'm leaving the short rows till last this year, so psychologically maybe I'll feel like I'm speeding up as I progress.

I enjoy the process, but can find it a bit tough mentally (and physically, both wrists currently strapped). I'm amusing myself with BBC podcasts at the moment.

Managed to fit in a bonus mid winter honey harvest. Not something that you'll find recommended in the books I'm sure! But I needed to treat for varroa which I'd found by monitoring, and I still had a half full honey box on top of one of the hives, so I took it off.  Thanks Tony (& Mike, but not my Mike :) for the lifting hand.

 There is nothing quite like honey straight from the hive, it tastes fresh, if you can imagine what fresh honey would be like - fragrant and clean flavour. I've had this frame sitting on the kitchen bench, waiting to do a little home processing, but will a packet of crackers sitting next to it, it's disappearing at a fast rate.
Tonight at 5pm. The rain is coming. Predicted to be heavy. There may not be much pruning around here tomorrow.