Monday, 24 September 2012

Cheesy Goodness

In my last post I wrote a quick update about all the goings on around these here parts. One of the things I have been doing lately is making cheese.

Three friends and I all got together to learn how to make Haloumi (also known as Halloumi) cheese.

Pan cooked Haloumi Cheese. Image from Wikipedia
Have you ever eaten this type of cheese? If not you are missing one of lifes' great experiences. It is brilliant for pan frying (I like it with a little garlic in the pan) and serving in a salad or eating just on its own with a drizzle of lemon or lime. Yum, yum and yum. The problem is it is fairly expensive in Australia so when the opportunity came up to learn how to make it I jumped at it. As part of the course we had a Masterchef cook off at the end to see which team could make the best appetizer with their box of mystery ingredients. Our team won and we all got a Cheese maker cooking timer and a set of mini measuring spoons.

This is a white cheese with a salty squeeky bite which is stored in brine. Originating from Cyprus, this was traditionally stored wrapped in mint leaves (which it tastes fantastic with) and can be served cold atop a slice of watermelon and garnished with a mint leaf. This sounded gross to me but I tried it and it is an amazing flavour combination. In Cyprus it is made of raw sheep or goats milk but we don't have access to that here so I make mine from pasteurised cows milk from the store.

Some people think it is too salty, others don't appreciate the squeakiness... but actually when you make your own cheese you can control both of these factors through the cooking and brining times. I like it salty and squeaky, but my cooking partner and I decided to cook out 3 blocks made in class for different periods of time so we could try all the options. Louise liked her Haloumi less squeaky. Sonja liked it less salty. Courtney was another salty, squeaky Haloumi lover just like me.

If you would like to try haloumi for yourself go grab some from the store and use it in one of these recipes.
I think I'm going to go to the store for milk and make some more today!

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