Kaffir lime home made “ricotta”
Unlike many other cheeses, whole milk “ricotta” is actually ridiculously easy to make at home, and you don’t need any strange equipment or ingredients. Which is saying something, because making cheese at home is usually something my lazy self puts into the “are you insane” category of recipes. I’ve seen posts dedicated to making cheddar cheese for example. They are very, very long. Not that I haven’t considered it. I even asked the teenager at the supermarket if they stock rennet once, and the look I got was enough to make all cheese making dreams shrivel back into the insanity cave.
Ricotta is apparently meant to be made with recooked whey – and by golly are there some people who are strict by that definition – hence the inverted commas in the title, as attempt to ward of “technically speaking” types. To be honest though, even the whole milk version I made here is a little grainier and crumblier than I would have liked, and I don’t really know very many (ok, any) places that make ricotta with pure whey in Australia – feel free to suggest one if you do know though. I think I’ll try using a little cream next time as Deb from Smitten Kitchen suggests. Maybe to avoid any qualms about definitions I could call it mascotta, a mascarpone and ricotta mashup that also sounds like a cheese masquerading as ricotta.
Anyway, the exciting bit is the kaffir lime leaf, which imparts the perfect refreshing note that makes a great pair with fruit. I only used one frozen leaf for 500ml milk, but I could taste it quite easily when I had a little clump of “ricotta” on its own. That said when you eat it on toast with blueberries and honey as I did, you can’t taste any overt zestiness at all, so if you want to, maybe use more leaves or score the leaves slightly to release more flavour. On a side note, it’s a great way to make “ricotta” if you have vinegar on hand but not lemon juice, without the end product being vinegary in flavour.
Kaffir lime “ricotta”
each 500ml milk makes about half a cup
adapted from Smitten Kitchen:
- 500ml whole milk (or use a combo of cream and milk for a creamier, spreadable version)
- 1 1/2 Tbs lemon juice or white vinegar
- 1/4 tsp salt (this makes for a not actually salty ricotta useful for sweet things, so up the salt if you want)
- 1 kaffir lime leaf, bruised (score the leaf or use 2 leaves if you want it very limey)
Bring milk, salt, and leaf to a bare simmer in a saucepan (a thin layer of froth will develop), stirring with a spatula every minute or so. Remove from heat and add your acid of choice, stirring slightly. Let sit for a few minutes while you set up a clean tea towel (or doubled up cheesecloth if you have one) lining a sieve or colander. Sit the colander or sieve on top of a bowl to catch the whey.
Pour the curdled milk into the fabric lined sieve/colander, and let sit until drained to the consistency you like – I only waited about half an hour.
Serve with whatever you fancy :)
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PS. Much to my chagrin, you won’t be seeing many posts from me over the next 3 months featuring wholegrains, legumes or nuts (except for a few I’ve been hoarding). This is a pretty big deal for me since I was trying to eat more plant based proteins. However I found out I have a nickel allergy that may be the cause of some pretty nasty eczema, so am trying out a low nickel diet to see if that helps. Sadly that means basically no wholegrains, legumes, nuts, seeds etc, and barely any dark leafy greens, as these are all high in nickel. The hope is that I will be able to re-introduce some of these good foods later, but right now my system is probably a bit overwhelmed from all my previously healthy eating. Annoyingly this means either daily iron supplements (I hate supplements) or red meat once a week (I was committed to once a month for environmental reasons). If it wasn’t something my GP, dietician, and multiple peer reviewed medical journals all suggested, I would laugh off the notion of going without almonds or chocolate for anything more than a week. However I’d really like to resolve my perpetually itchiness and not have to bandage my fingers when the flare ups get bad, so I’m going ahead with it for now. On the other hand, dairy fiends – you can rejoice, because there’s probably going to be a lot of cheese featured. Not exactly eco-friendly either but if I have to take any more rules into account my head might fall off.