I woke early, eager to get on with the ricotta, after yesterday’s cheesemaking adventures! Waylaid rather, by lack of bread, beer, tomatoes – and, it transpires, a whole rucksack of provisions that then had to be yomped uphill in a rucksack – and then further waylaid by the good coffee at Galindo’s and toasted bread soaked in olive oil and rubbed with large juicy garlics and tomato – we didn’t get back to the casita till nearly mid day. Then we had to round up the dogs, which knew instinctively that Kalyani had returned to the UK this morning, and thus had gone walkabout. Except the mastiff. He knew that squirming through the hole in the fence and prancing around in the street looking happy and making an exhibition of himself, sniffing everything that moved was beneath him . So he stayed asleep under the trees, barely lifting an eyebrow.
And so, to the 4 litres of whey left over from yesterday. Into a large cauldron, bring slowly to the boil and then boil for 10 minutes, stirring all the time. The whey has a very pleasant slightly acetic tang. And it looks so unpromising. How can solids come from liquid?
My propensity for hoarding came into its own when I found myself, before we left home, unearthing a nappy muslin from the depths of the airing cupboard without a second thought. It last saw the light of day when it was wrapped around Anna’s bottom 34 years ago. Amazing what memories lurk in the depths of this brain of mine. Now, bleached and sheer, and white as the driven snow, and draped over an arcane lime green plastic colander in a casita way up a mountain in Spain, it receives the liquid whey. With a sigh, I find myself muttering with pleasure at the simplicity of it all. WTF? What is that splashing noise? Why are my legs dripping? Ah yes. Forgot to put a container under the colander. Spot the deliberate mistake….. Having mopped the floor, and washed my hands, decided that probably a shower was a better idea, so I didn’t walk round for the rest of the day with an aroma of baby sick about my person.
Whilst for the draining process to conclude, I started to think about how I would use the ricotta. So I sliced and fried some aubergine in olive oil and chopped chilli’s then drained them. In fact, I had previously poached some citrus peel in the pan (see another post for this) and a scant amount of the syrup was still in the pan when I added the oil. Not only did this help caramelise the aubergines, it also sorely tested the smoke alarm. Many times. Enough! Finally the ricotta stopped dripping, and there was about 250g of ricotta nesting in the muslin. And about 3 litres of whey to be used tomorrow to make hallumi.
The final dish will be warm caramelised (!) aubergine on a bed of herby black and red tomatoes, topped with ricotta dotted with more herbs, lemon zest and drizzled with olive oil. And fresh bread. And lettuce and chicory salad.