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(Image by TSL)

(Image by TSL)

Spectator I: I think it was “Blessed are the cheesemakers”.

Mrs. Gregory: Aha, what’s so special about the cheesemakers?

Gregory: Well, obviously it’s not meant to be taken literally; it refers to any manufacturers of dairy products.
(Monty Python’s ‘Life of Brian’)

You may recall a post i did back in June about the very tempting Cornersmith. Along with West Juliett, it remains a favoured brunch/lunch spot for LM and me. Mainly because of the unpretentious, locally sourced food and friendly service. LM still reckons the Cornersmith Crab Apple Jelly is the best he’s had.

Well, about three months ago, Cornersmith launched their Picklery. Located a few blocks down Illawarra Road from the café (in Marrickville), the Picklery is the new HQ for much of Cornersmith’s food preparation and preserving, AND offers punters (like you and me) the opportunity to learn traditional food crafts in their work shop classes.

LM bought me a work shop with Cheesemaker, Kristin Allen for my birthday. A six-hour session learning how to make my own halloumi, feta and marscapone. LM is pretty good on presents (especially when you remember he is allergic to all things dairy!).

Well, my class was on Saturday. And, I had a ball. If you have any interest in food, you should do yourself a special favour and book into a workshop. I may have to do another. Perhaps, something to consider for Christmas presents… (Cornersmith also offers beautifully presented gift vouchers).

(Image by TSL)

(Image by TSL)

Cheese is milk’s leap towards immortality. (Clifton Fadiman)

Kristen Allan is both Cornersmith’s resident Cheesemaker and the teacher for the cheese making workshops. Obviously, she’s passionate about her cheese. But equally, she’s passionate about sharing her knowledge of this ancient fermenting technique. She’s quite delightful and clearly knows her curds and whey…

Kristin Allan - Cheesemaker (Image by TSL)

Kristen Allan – the Cheesemaker and our teacher for the day
(Image by TSL)

The day began with a wee sit down chat complete with herbal teas, artisan bread, Pepe Saya butter, Kristen’s ricotta, Marrickville honey and a selection of Cornersmith preserves. I wish every day began that way.

Very quickly our class of twelve was split into groups of 3 Cheesemaking teams. I was partnered with the very lovely sisters Amelia (visiting from Geelong) and Maddy (who works at Cornersmith).

Kriten Allan, Maddy & Amelia (Image by TSL)

Kristen Allan, Maddy & Amelia
(Image by TSL)

We learned early on that cheese-making is both an art and a science. And, it can’t be rushed…

Heated milk is poured into our cheese vat

Making Feta
Heated milk is poured into our cheese vat
(Image by TSL)

Checking for a clean break in the curd

Making Feta
Checking for a clean break in the curd
(Image by TSL)

Stirring the curds

Making Feta
Stirring the curds
(Image by TSL)

Draining the whey

Making Feta
Maddy drains the whey
(Image by TSL)

Curds going into their hoops

Making Feta
Curds going into their hoops
(Image by TSL)

Stirring rennet into our heated milk

Making Halloumi
Amelia stirs rennet into our heated milk
(Image by TSL)

Heating our milk

Making Halloumi
Cutting the curds
(Image by TSL)

Curds wrapped in muslin

Making Halloumi
Curds wrapped in muslin
(Image by TSL)

Heating the halloumi curds until they float

Making Halloumi
Heating the halloumi curds until they float
(image by TSL)

Making Halloumi Amelia, Maddy & TSL's Halloumi just waiting to be salted… Image by TSL)

Making Halloumi
Amelia, Maddy & TSL’s Halloumi just waiting to be salted…
(Image by TSL)

Making Marscapone Heated cream and vinegar waiting to go home for stage II… (Image by TSL)

Making Marscapone
Heated cream and vinegar waiting to go home for stage II…
(Image by TSL)

And, at the end of the day, armed with my additional purchases from the Picklery (well, it would have been rude not to!) I tootled home to complete the drying of my feta before popping it into brine AND the refrigeration of my marscapone…

TSL's Feta in brine & Marscapone (Image by TSL)

TSL’s Feta in brine & Marscapone
(Image by TSL)

I would show you my halloumi, but I ate it in my breakfast scramble (along with Cornersmith green tomatoes) this morning. Sorry!

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