Home made

I often wonder, when I see signs in restaurants and cafe's claiming something is home made, if it actually was made in someones home. I doubt it really and think perhaps the sign should say made in house or something similiar. At the same time as we are fascinated with the Masterchef phenonemen in Australia and the idea of serving restaurant quality food in our home, I think there is a real nostalgia for home made food. Just bake a cake and take it to work to test this theory out. I was thinking when I was a child nearly all of what we ate and a lot of what we wore was home made. We looked forward to the special treat of bought biscuits or sausages. But our diet was limited by the skills and culinary history of our parents and it was quite an impoverished one in many ways, meat and three veg most days and the three veg was mashed potato and pumpkin and tinned peas. We had a vegetable garden and a few fruit trees but I dont remeber either ever flourishing. Dad always milked a cow or two so milk was plentiful and Mum made great ice cream nearly every day. I now realise there was a lot more we could have done with that lovely milk. I found an old milk seperator in our shed the other day and remeber one sitting on our bench at home when i was little, I vaguely remember a few episodes of butter making as well, but imagine if they could have made cheese. Even a simple soft cheese, or yoghurt. I've thought about making cheese for ages but always put it in the too hard basket so when i saw a recipe for Ricotta in the food suplement of the paper last week I decided I was going to give it a go.
Ricotta Recipe   

9 cups of full fat milk
1 cup of butteremilk
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of lemon juice

What I did was heat the milk and butteremil together for about ten minutes in a heavy based saucepan, until they reached 85 degrees celsius
Take the pot off the heat and add the salt and lemon watch the curds form
Let it sit for a while, about 5 minutes and then scoop the curds into a sieve lined with cheescloth or similiar, let it drain for a few minutes and there you have it.
Home made ricotta. It really was very good, I would say about half the price of buying it, but for me the thing is I can make it from ingredients i would normally have in the fridge and dont have to stock up when I go into Orange and freeze it.
We turned this lot into a lovely lasagne with silverbeet, thyme and oregana sandwiched between fresh home made pasta. Imagine how good it would be if i had access to fresh milk!
I did a lot of making of things this weekend, dog food for Angus as  he cant tolerate the commercial dog food well any more. Bread as usual, some nice mulberry muffins and a new batch of soap, using a recipe I found here.  
This looks just beautiful at this stage and I cant wait to use it. It has some oatmeal and lemon zest in it.
Once you have done it a few times soap making is really quite easy and fun and once you have used the soap you find you cant go back to the commercial soaps.


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