Monthly Archives: September 2013

Transhumance

 

Above the tree line of the soul,

Where air is thin and minds can float,

She sparks her memory, speaks her loss.

She moves through pastures draped in blooms.

 

And there she lives her ghostly life,

She watches shadows cast on clouds

Which gather on the valley floor.

She knows the turn and flow of things.

 

But further up, beyond her gaze,

The bells of cattle ring the peaks,

The gentians stain the petaled sky,

The crystals carve the rainbow’s curve.

 

Her soul awaits the season’s change,

With buttermilk and waterfalls.

 

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Stepping Out

 

The dress was blue and never aged.

She dropped it on and felt its cool

The same as on the autumn day

She bought the dress, without his say,

 

Her week revolved around these streets:

Her home, her walk, her week of work,

The wall which held a wagtail’s nest,

The ruts on pavements, worn by years.

 

She passed his parent’s former house:

The new folk kept the garden neat.

She passed the chapel, then the pub.

She felt the village watch her walk.

 

He never said he liked the dress:

Or if he did, she didn’t hear.

 

The Accidental Ricotta

The Accidental Ricotta
The Accidental Ricotta

The Success of Failure

Failure is sometimes the path to revelation. Especially in the cheese world, it would seem.

Yesterday I set out to make a “30 minute Mozzarella”. This involved warming milk with citric acid, then warming again with a fairly strong veggie rennet solution. Once the gently stirred curds had formed, the whey was pressed out, gently kneaded, then (shock horror) microwaved for a couple of blasts (kneading after each blast). The curds are supposed to turn elastic and stretchy and be formable into the – ahem – creamy balls we all know so well.  Except they didn’t.

Not-zzarella
Not-zzarella

 

The Curious Incident

Instead the cheese I ended up with bore a striking resemblance to ricotta. Indeed, for all intents and purposes, it was ricotta. And, it must be added, really tasty ricotta. Why was this so? How had I messed up so well? Too much or too little heat? Incorrect quantities? Badly prepared citric acid or rennet? Heck, I needed to know.

On investigation, I found that the culprit was the milk. Seemingly, milk which has been treated to too much heat during its processing (at the dairy) will not form mozzarella, as the proteins have been damaged. They will not adhere and become stretchy in the manner required. The solution to this is simple: next time use a different source of milk.

Or next time, to quote Samuel Beckett: “fail again, fail better”.

Fail Again, Fail Better
Fail Again, Fail Better

 

The Breakfast Club

Anyhow, I now had a splendid ricotta which worked its creamy magic on the homemade pizzas we had planned. It browned off nicely, without turning to mush. Perfect. And this morning I’ve had it with some top notch bread from the baker in town. Esplendido!

I’ll know next time.

Happy Creaming.