Stressful days at work mean that it’s easy to build up a rather extravagent list of ideas to get out of the office world. These range from my actual dream to run a tea shop to the slightly more ridiculous plan of running away to live on a cheese farm. It sounds random but anything goes in hypothetical land, right? Just in case the incredulous turns into reality, we are now fully prepped following an exciting course in cheese making from the Devilled Egg Kitchen Academy.
The course was set in the basement kitchen of a beautiful house in Clifton. I would say it’s worth attending a course just to witness the fantastic kitchen. With a large table for entertaining and island in the middle of the kitchen it has a lot of the elements of my dream kitchen and I had some extreme jealousy issues. They have a huge range of courses over the year so when I first thought up the idea of getting a cooking course related gift for Christmas it was a tricky decision. The thought of being able to make halloumi though won.
My random story aside, the chefs of Devilled Egg, Barbora Stiess (Director and the culinary guru behind the courses) and Becci Sargent (assistant chef and half of Bristol Foodie blog 🙂 ), had been prepping for weeks to ensure we were using tried and recipes for the five different cheeses we had come to learn: Halloumi, Feta, Cottage Cheese, Ricotta and Mozarella. A bit of a history on cheese and introductions all round set the scene before we got to see the beginning of the process for mozzarella. For the soft cheeses that we covered, cheese making is a fairly simple process but a game of patience. In a nutshell, you start with the making of the curd through slowly heating the milk, turning off the heat at various specific temperatures, adding the acid (citric acid or vinegar) followed by (for most of the cheeses) rennet. The following stages vary in complexity but were all achievable, even with my limited cookery skills (my interest is more baking-focused).
In order to cover as much as possible within the three hour course, the different stages of each cheese had been prepped over the previous days. This was awesome as we got to then do all the fun bits without the waiting stage. 🙂 We were also split into pairs, each having our own recipe to tackle, whilst also stopping to make sure we could see what was required for each of the recipes. I loved this way of learning.! We were also in charge of halloumi which is ones of my favs. Whoop!
The icing on the cake was trying out all the cheeses at the end. Not our own attempts as we would have been there for days – luckily each of the cheeses were already made up in their finished states. Furthermore they were dished up in scrumptious recipes with a chilled glass of pinot grigio (which was the end of my somewhat feable attempt at a dry January).
I didn’t take any photos of the evening as I was too busy concentrating on how to make cheese and enjoying the results. However we have been truly inspired by the Devilled Egg Kitchen Academy and 2 days later we were the proud owners of a digital thermometer (a necessity for the precise temperatures required) and enough muslin to keep experimenting. Here’s how our first home attempt at halloumi went:
1. We needed a digital thermometer! Only issue is we can’t work out how to get rid of the word ‘Beef” – we’ve found a meat-obsessed thermometer! 🙂
2. Preparation! Have your ingredients at the ready. We attempted it with goats milk as although I booked onto a cheese course, I technically shouldn’t eat cow’s milk. I tend to generally ignore this though and deal with the resultant sneezing fit.
3. Milk temperature hits 95 degrees. Heat off and white wine vinegar added. Leave the curd to develop….
4. Skim off the curd into the muslin and squeeze – already for the fridge to chill for a few hours. Layered up with chilli and salt 🙂
5. Sliced, fried and topping a puy lentil, beetroot and pepper salad (recipe also from the course – YUM!) A bit crumbly but tasty. Pretty proud of our first attempt. 🙂
We’re converted. Thanks Devilled Egg Kitchen Academy for the most wonderful course and evening!