Homemade Curd Cheese Pasta & Dessert Recipes
We had a disruption in our milk flow – my son, the cereal eater left for uni, my adjusted order was accepted by the milk man, but the old order was processed and delivered, so I was sitting with extra litres of milk and I decided to show my daughter how to make a quick curd cheese.
We love ricotta cheese, I remember going to a cooking demonstration years ago at the top of Canary Wharf hosted by the late Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers the owners of the River Cafe. They served us a wonderful simple dessert which was the best quality raspberries, with crumbled fresh ricotta and zested Amalfi lemons. They used that dish to discuss the difference that fantastic quality ingredients make to a dish. Such wise words before providence was even a buzz word. I have served their combination in summer, when raspberries are just perfect and when you can buy fresh Italian ricotta cheese from the deli counter. It is so simple, but really feels like a decadent dessert. A wonderful dessert for diabetics, gluten free or coeliac friends too.
Back to the curd cheese, I toyed with making paneer, but I had made that before and mozzarella but I was a caterer in my previous worlds and my litres may have yielded a tiny mozzarella ball, not really worth the time. I settled on a ricotta style Greek/Cypriot cheese called Anari or in Greek Myzitha, that we usually make at the end of the halloumi making process. The cheese is like ricotta and we tend to make fried pastries filled with anari and cinnamon called bourekia. Or we simply slice the cheese as I did in the photo, served as a dessert with a drizzle of honey, crushed nuts and a dash of cinnamon. And we make a delicious homemade pasta too as I showed you in my previous post.
It is such a simple process, you split the curds from the whey, using lemon juice or a white vinegar.The ratio is 2 litres of milk or liquid from cheese making to 4 tablespoons of vinegar.
Most nations that produce home made anything tend to be frugal, everything is made into something, nothing is discarded. If you do make another cheese first, keep what may look like dirty dish water, it produces wonderful soft specks of this white curd cheese. The specks emerge from the base of the heated whey and as you stand over the pot with a slotted spoon, collecting and placing them in a lined strainer you feel very smug. It is like watching soft snow falling in reverse, each speck is just that a speck and if you are impatient, like I am you wonder why you are collecting specks, but collectively they form a white mound of fresh cheese.
A quick Cypriot Pasta sauce that James Martin would approve of:
This is what we do, we boil our favourite pasta, take the butter to the brown butter stage (beurre noisette) and coat the pasta, in a James Martin generous amount of butter and then we grate or crumble Anari over the pasta. This doesn’t sound like it could be a tasty pasta dish, but the flavour is wonderful. Much like in Rose Gray and Ruth Roger’s demonstration, there is a beauty in eating good quality simple ingredients and this pasta allows each ingredient to be tasted and enjoyed. Waitrose is now selling Anari and I urge you to try the cheese, it is delicious grated over plain boiled pasta.
The Curds Splitting So Simple Just Milk and Vinegar Cheese Cinnamon and Honey
It sets and slices
Added a piece to my biltong dryer for the hard grated Anari it took ages! I would definitely buy a block of the hard anari but make the fresh.
How to make Home Made Curd Cheese
- 2 litres fresh full cream milk
- 4 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
- Prepare a fine mesh strainer and line it with a muslin cloth.
- Alternatively you could use the inexpensive cheese moulds that you can buy.
- Bring the milk to the boil and when it starts to froth and just before it starts to rise and bubble over, add the vinegar or lemon juice.
- The curds and whey will start to separate, over a low heat.
- Once the mixture has split, using a slotted spoon collect the white curds that start to float to the top of the pot.
- Add the curds to the lined strainer or cheese mould.
- Yields two 15mc x 7cm rounds
Cypriot Pasta with Anari
- Melted butter taken to noisette stage
- Grated Anari
- Pasta of your choice
- Boil your pasta and drain.
- Add the boomed butter enough to coat the pasta
- Grate on the Anari cheese
So next time you have a spare few litres of milk, or feel like a productive mindful escape, consider making a little fresh cheese you won’t be disappointed.