I seem to have been away from this space slightly longer than I anticipated. It was only a week – although it feels much longer than that – but I have a good excuse. You see, we went to Vegas for a few days and everyone knows what happens in Vegas…
Actually, to be honest, nothing much happened in Vegas except I caught a stinking cold and have spent most of the time since we returned on Friday feeling sorry for myself.
I had planned to blog while we were away but every time I opened up my laptop, perched at the window of our hotel room overlooking the Strip, I just couldn’t bring myself to write anything.
It felt so incongruous to write about something so real as homemade ricotta in a place so decidedly unreal as Las Vegas. I don’t know if I enjoyed it as a city. It is a place where I felt completely disconnected from reality.
I suppose that quality is why quite so many people love Las Vegas. It’s a world where it can always be night or always be day if you want. You can go shopping at midnight or order a drink in a bar at 9 in the morning and nobody blinks an eye. It’s a world still filled with the haze of cigarette smoke and where canned pop music is constantly playing in the background.
Maybe I wasn’t that enamoured by Vegas because I really quite like my life. I don’t feel the need to escape anything and being disconnected from my routines and familiar surroundings is not something that I welcome.
But it was an experience. And life is all about experiences.
I’ve been meaning to make ricotta at home for a while especially after Emma made it. Good ricotta is a very good thing indeed; bad ricotta is enough to put you off for life. When you make ricotta at home, it’s good enough to eat simply spread on toast with a scattering of basil or mint and a drizzle of olive oil.
Yield: 150g (about 1 cup) of ricotta
- 1 litre (4 cups)whole milk
- 250ml (1 cup)buttermilk
- A pinch of salt
- Heat the milk, buttermilk and salt in a large saucepan over a low heat, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan. Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth (or, if you’re really lazy, several layers of j-cloth).
- Once the curds start to come to the surface (ie you get white blobby bits), stop stirring and leave the mixture to reach a temperature of 80C/175F at which point the curds (the blobby bits) and the whey (the mixture left behind) will have separated.
- Ladle the curds into the colander, gather the sides of the cheesecloth and allow to drain for 10-15 minutes depending on how thick you want your ricotta (the longer you leave it, the drier it will be).
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge if you’re not going to use it immediately.