Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Autumn and winter weather is just wonderful for getting projects done.  In looking for excuses to stay near the fire but still be productive, I've been busy trying new projects as well as making old favourites.
I made quince paste recently (which I have made before) but I took it off the heat way too early.  The next day I put it back in a pot and heated it again.  It took another two or three hours of constant stirring but it worked!

This last month I've started experimenting with my goats milk too.  The first couple of months that I had the does, I was so busy learning about milking and adjusting to the new routine that I couldn't ever imagine getting around to being creative with the milk.  However I've finally reached the stage that I have snippets of time to play with it. 
I love our milk.  It's so pretty, frothy and white as I carry it in from the 'milking shed'.  (Really it's a hodge podge affair of some temporary, but comfortable, pens and a milking stand that Hubby made.)  I've tried my hand at a proper cheese after making one by separating the curds and whey with lemon juice.  Now I have a couple of cultures and some rennet.  The first cheese I tried was a very simple Fromage Blanc which comes out as separate, little crumbly bits.  It's very yummy and great for cooking with!  I've used it on pizza, in soufflĂ© and even in a cheesecake.
Now I'm trying to master a more solid cheese.  A fellow blogger sent me a recipe for a cheese she often makes and I've read and re-read it.   Thank you Cath for giving me the encouragement to try!  Cath sets it in round moulds which really appeals to me but it uses a different culture which I have yet to buy.  So I began experimenting with a Bondon cheese which I press between two boards.  The first one turned out well so I am making it again.  This time I will add herbs to the cheese rather than just salting it.  I'm determined to make a good cheese to use on a platter. 
I also ventured into the goats milk soap territory recently.  I couldn't find a suitable recipe but I shouted out on Facebook and someone found one I could use.  I didn't want to use coconut oil or other fancy oils.  I just wanted a very simple soap.  This one used a bit of glycerin and has oats in it.  I can't wait for it to set so I can try it.  It looks great at this stage.
A friend rang last week to ask if I wanted some excess olives from their tree (um... YES!) so I now have a big pot of olives soaking on the dining table.  In such a small house there was nowhere else for it to go.
We have an event coming up so I've been making fizzy rhubarb, ginger beer and lemon cordial as well.  Hubby's been brewing up beer and trying his hand at cider (from a kit).  It's been a very productive household - we can hardly move for brews and concoctions but it feels good!
Have you been 'making' too?


Cheryl said...

All that home making sounds so good. Could you send a link or put up the recipe for the goats milk soap please. My dermatitis is so bad at the moment, I'm desperate.

Linda said...

Sure Cheryl! I used the first recipe. I just googled to convert the weights to gms. I wasn't sure if the lye was the same as caustic soda but tried the equivalent weight of caustic and it seems to have worked. You can buy glycerine at the supermarket, usually with baking type stuff. It's easy enough if you follow the steps. Be careful with the caustic though, it burns! Keep in mind that I've not used the soap yet. I'm still waiting for it to cure so I don't know how good it is but it looks great so far. Please report back if you do make it!!

Cheryl said...

I could be having a seniors moment, but where is the link?

Linda said...

Ooops! I don't think the link is clickable in comments but you could copy it or google millennium ark.

Cheryl said...

Thanks, I just saw your post on Facebook.

Margaret said...

Wow, you have been busy.
Yes, Lye is the same as caustic soda and you only have to be VERY careful until the soap mixture is combined.
You don't have to pay top dollar for coconut oil, you just use Copha, as that is pure coconut oil, I use it all the time in my soap with olive oil.
Michele on "Going Grey and Green"blog (mentioned on"Down to Earth" today) talks about goats milk soap making a few posts ago.
It is soooo frustrating waiting for the soap to dry enough to use, some times in the Summer I use mine after 3 weeks, but most of it waits the 6 weeks, especially if I am giving it to friends....have fun !

Tania @ Out Back said...

A busy household you have there :)

I cant wait until my daughters goats have their babies so I can get some milk because I want to make some soap too...

Fiona from Arbordale Farm said...

Sound like you are as busy as usual. Have a go at making some Haloumi it is really easy and does not need molding. Gavin has a recipe on his little green cheese blog.