Ongoing support from the course

As part of my cheese making course, I offer support for participants after the event. Here's an example of an email I received:

"As you know I had to abandon my immature cheeses for 4 days whilst I went off to Sweden - they were drying out nicely so I took them off the cheese grid and put them onto the cellophane, but left them unwrapped in their Tupperware with a bit of kitchen roll to absorb extra water.
When I came back they were as the picture below - and I have wrapped up and put in the fridge - the mould is green / blue but clearly we were not trying to make a blue cheese - any advice?!"



My reply was: "Wow, that's a lot of mould! I would put a teaspoon of salt with a couple of dashes of malt vinegar in a small ramekin, top it up with tepid water and soak the corner of your cheese cloth in it then gently rub it, or use a pastry brush to gently brush the cheese, that should do the trick. It probably means you will need to wait a bit to wrap. Let me know how you get on. It probably is harmless but not attractive."

The reply from the participant was: "The miracle vinegar cure for the mould worked well and we ate it all up this weekend."

Unfortunately, as you can see, by the time I asked for photographic evidence of how the cure had worked – the cheese had all been eaten!
However, because the reply about the "miracle vinegar cure" had been shared with the other course participants, they all wanted to know what it was, I therefore copied everyone into the simple technique which is also mentioned on the website as part of my article on washed rind cheeses and also the New Cheese recipe.

This got me thinking, should I be doing a problems page?

Cheese Making Course Blog

Having just completed another successful cheese making course, I found myself reflecting on how many people had been on the course and still continued to make cheese after the initial enthusiasm had waned. I get the occasional email from people asking questions about cheese, but in general, rarely do I get feedback or information on whether or not people have continued to regularly make their own cheese.

Imagine my delight when I received the email below, it comes from Julie who attended a course I ran in early 2013:

Hi Doug, Hope all going well, I am now working 4 days week with rest of time cheese making. I have a Facebook page. Here is a picture of some of my creations. I am also making my own dry cure bacon, gammon and pastrami and have a smoker and outside wood fired oven. So as you can see it's all go. To think it all started from your course.

Homemade Cheeses

This is what the website and the cheese making courses are all about and feedback like this makes it all worthwhile – I know Julie has a daughter who she includes in her cheese making and other endeavours, so that's another generation being made aware just what we can do for ourselves; thank you Julie for the feedback.

I definitely know of one other person who has continued to make cheese and perhaps there are those who fully intend to make cheese 'once they have the time', but, experience tells me that that does not happen unless the time is made.

I know of others who have taken to making the Liqueurs we have on the website, Chutneys and Jams also are a popular thing.

We get lots of hits on the website, so perhaps people, by dropping us a line, would let us know if we have inspired them? 

Latest Cheese-making Course

The latest cheese making course was, for me a bit of a departure from the norm in that I had 6 participants instead of the usual 4. It necessitated an increase in station numbers and a change in the shape of the setup, but in general it worked well; in fact, one person commented in their feedback form about it being a good number or participants (Fig 1).

I get lots of enquiries about what happens on the course, so I thought, in this blog I would take the opportunity to explain with a little more detail about what happens during the cheese making day.

  Figure 1

Read more: Latest Cheese-making Course

Bounty of the Wild Hedgerow

Hi folks, we are just back from Tuscany (see my article here) and once again we have had a fabulous time, we visited hillside citadels etc. and did all of the things that Italy is famous for, such things as eating, drinking good wine, sunbathing, visiting museums, magnificent views (Fig 1) etc. etc.

Jan and I have always enjoyed walking around the local countryside whilst we are staying in the Zampugna apartments (Fig 2), I know I have mentioned these walks before, especially as we usually pick some green walnuts to make our Walnut Liqueur with (see recipe here). We may even have commented on the bounty of wild food available in the hedgerows, but on this visit, all of the seasonal vegetation was 3 to 4 weeks ahead of its normal timeframe, therefore the hedgerows were different; gone were the Poppies and even the Orchids were not as plentiful, but the fruit was much more in advance of what it normally is. So much so, that as we walked down to collect the Walnuts, we were able to feast on Morello Cherries, so ripe, juicy and full of taste, they were divine.

This served, to once again, make us think about the bounty of fruit there was in the hedgerow, Apples, Apricots, Plums, Cherries, Grapes, Olives, Almonds, Blackberries, Sloes, Fennel, Walnuts of course, and probably much more, but these are the ones that were readily recognisable and accessible, all within a 1 Kilometre walk from our apartment. No pears though, that's was a bit strange – and don't whatever you do, mention the Mushrooms (Fig 3) !!!

Have we missed a trick in Britain by grubbing up our hedgerows? I think so.

Added to this bounty there is also the Wild Boar, Hare, Rabbit and Deer, all there to be hunted when in season of course – and just to complete our wild hedgerow experience, one evening when returning from a restaurant, driving down our little back road, we at last got sight of the wild Porcupine; I say 'at last' because Porcupines have always been a bit of mythical creature to us when visiting Tuscany; others had reportedly seen them, but this year we saw them for ourselves.


Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Walnuts



Break in Paris

We've just returned from a 4 day weekend break in Paris, it was fabulous. We stayed in the Mercure Hotel in Dupleix, right opposite the Dupleix Metro Station; very handy for the Eiffel Tower (fig 1) and other tourist attractions. We did the usual sort of things – Louvre, river boat, Les Invalids, eating and drinking etc. and in keeping with modern time, a selfie (Fig 2); however, we just loved walking around the streets appreciating the spring blossom on the trees and the architecture. There were some fantastic building to behold; this area has quite a few Embassies situated in it, therefore the buildings are well maintained (Fig 3 & 4), but that's not what I want to reflect about in this blog.

Figure 1 Figure 2 Figure 3 Figure 4


Read more: Break in Paris


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