the creamery kitchen – a review

The creamery kitchen by Jenny Linford is full of lovely, traditional dairy recipes, the sort that would’ve once been passed down from generation to generation – in an era when most people would’ve been comfortable making butter, maybe a little cheese at home.

Having recently discovered the homely delights of cheese making at home, I was very excited when I heard about this book. Having already made labneh and basic cream cheese at home, some of the recipes were already familiar to me. But I hadn’t tackled butter or buttermilk, or realised how gloriously simple they are to make.

Once I’d made buttermilk (and loved the fact that, unlike the stuff I’ve previously bought from the supermarket, I know that this is made from quality milk from local Jersey cows) I used some in the Buttermilk & Parmesan scone recipe from ‘the creamery kitchen’. Even though I chose to use wholemeal flour, the buttermilk made the scones beautifully light. They were delicious, even if my version didn’t look quite like the ones in this gorgeous photo by Clare Winfield.


I also used some buttermilk instead of sour cream (next on my list to try) in the wonderful Polish apple pancake recipe from Ren Behan here. Buttermilk fried chicken is next on my list for the last of the buttermilk.029_RPS1679_creamery_friedchicken

There are lots of similarly simple dairy ideas but plenty of unusual recipe ideas too so I think this is an inspiring book for home cooks of all levels. Jenny Linford reassuringly guides us through the processes – from setting up a creamery to making your own butter, cream cheese and mascarpone, there are lots of tips and snippets of advice; the sort that in another era would’ve been shared over a pot of tea with your sister or mother.


Just as Jenny Linford’s style is very approachable, Clare Winfield’s photographs have a beautiful simplicity, displaying just how enticing a jar of buttermilk in a jar covered with muslin or a creamy bowl of home-made yoghurt can be. We’re reminded that you need very little equipment for most dairy-making; armed with a heavy-based pan, some fine-meshed cheesecloth, a good kitchen thermometer, sharp knife and a slotted spoon, you could tackle most of the recipes in this book.

Yet recipes such as Saffron and Cardamon Labneh with Mango, Fried Buttermilk Chicken and Serbian Burek show how important dairy making is to so many different cultures. Once you’ve made yoghurt or cream cheese, there are some wonderful ideas for using them in dishes inspired by cuisines around the world.


Having previously made ricotta traditionally by re-heating whey, I tried Jenny’s simpler version which involves curdling whole milk with white wine vinegar – I loved the ease of this method. The book doesn’t move beyond soft cheeses, but as I’m in no hurry to be tempted into making a stinky blue cheese or an aged pecorino this was quite a relief. I know how easily led/hopelessly optimistic I am when it comes to food, so a beautiful picture of mature stilton would’ve had me reaching for the rennet quicker than you can say listeria.

You could use ‘the creamery kitchen’ purely for its instructions to easily make butter, buttermilk, yoghurt and maybe a little cream cheese and if you have access to good, un-homogenized milk, it’ll be very rewarding. Jenny shows how basic dairy products can also be used as stepping stones for making delicious and useful concoctions such as labneh and mascarpone. For those like me who can’t resist going one step further there are suggestions for how to cook with these versatile dairy products. Ranging from the sweetly tempting (Fig & Honey Ricotta Cheesecake, Rhubarb & Mascarpone Tart) to the savoury (Spinach & Cheese Burek and Lamb Skewers with Za’atar Labneh) these are recipes that definitely encourage experimenting.


Totally agree with Jenny that:

“Given that all dairy foods have one ingredient – milk- as their starting point, the range of textures and subtly varying flavours within them is remarkable…”

The creamery kitchen by Jenny Lindford. Photography by Clare Winfield. Published by Ryland Peters & Small Feb 2014


Reader offer: The Creamery Kitchen will be 16.99 by telephoning Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quoting the reference GLR 9MQ.

I received a review copy of ‘the creamery kitchen’ but wasn’t paid for this review: all opinions are my own. All photos in this post are by Clare Winfield and taken from ‘the creamery kitchen’.


learning to cook street food – a review of daylesford cookery school

I’m a big fan of street food – all those robust flavours, frugal ingredients and eating with your fingers is my idea of culinary heaven. But it’s a long time since I followed my nose to the billowing smoke of late night food stalls in the Djema al Fna in Marrakech. Or even scoffed pizza smeared with the most delicious tomato sauce straight from a wood-burning oven in an Italian hill-town.

Living up a Cotswold hill has lots of advantages when it comes to eating well; I feel so lucky to have the space to grow and even rear my own food, I have wonderful un-homogenised Jersey milk from a local farmer, there are some brilliant farmer/cheese-makers around here. And I can buy tasty meat from a nearby smallholder who look after their animals so well using organic principles (have just bought some sausages for toad in the hole). Apart from the odd exception (the splendid Urban Rajah brought Indian street food to Chipping Campden recently as part of the Bite food festival) street-food is not our forte though. For one thing, there just aren’t enough streets.

So attending a cookery class on street food, equipping myself for some DIY street food in the warmth of my own kitchen was a really exciting prospect. As was a grim February day spent amidst amongst all the organic loveliness of Daylesford.


Before entering the cookery school, I couldn’t resist a quick look around the shop with it’s enticing array of organic food so beautifully displayed.



In the cookery school, which has the same contemporary rustic style as the food shop, with lots of natural, muted colours, pale painted beams and jars of wholesome ingredients, we were given a warm welcome with offers of coffee and herbal teas.


As we put on our aprons, the cookery school team talked us through the plan for our day cooking street food. With ingredients all laid out in readiness for tackling Asian style broths, kedgeree arancini, fish tacos and lamb meatballs, my mouth was watering. If only I could be this organised in my own kitchen.


First of all though, we made marshmallows. Beetroot marshmallows with hot chocolate sauce to be precise. You can’t detect the beetroot flavour in the marshmallows, and to be fair, you couldn’t exactly count them as one of your five a day, but it’s a wonderfully natural way to create a gorgeously subtle pink colour. I wouldn’t have attempted making these at home before, so it was brilliant to have a go with experienced chefs on hand to help - not to mention being able to hand over my bowl and saucepan for washing up afterwards! I’ll definitely be making them at home now though, for presents or as a very pretty pudding that’ll definitely impress little girls.

DSC06855 DSC06857

As well as enjoying a few marshmallows with chocolate sauce and coffee at the end of the day, we were given a bag each to bring home. Ruby was delighted and I was a popular Mummy. For one night.


Using beetroot as a natural colouring was a sign of things to come. Daylesford farm practices organic, sustainable farming without using dangerous pesticides and herbicides on crops or artificial growth promoters, antibiotics and drugs on their animals. It was soon evident that the team at the cookery school share a genuine passion for real food; food that’s simple, natural and in season. The street food that we cooked and learnt about drew inspiration from the colourful snacks found in Thailand, Italy and Mexico. The style and punchy flavours were all there, but the majority of ingredients were from the market garden just outside the door of the cookery school.

Lamb meatballs had Moorish influences in their flavourings (cumin seeds, lemon zest, fennel seeds and coriander) but were particularly delicious as they used wonderful organic lamb farmed by Daylesford. When we made the kedgeree for our arancini, the un-homogenised milk from Daylesford’s Friesian cows was wonderfully creamy and the ‘chives’ were actually spring onion tops from the garden. We ate them with a very tasty selection of home-grown winter salad leaves.


The day involved a good mix of hands-on cooking and relaxed sitting watching cookery demonstrations (with plenty of offers of a very delicious wine). As with all good cookery schools, it wasn’t just about having a lovely, greedy day and learning four or five recipes. Steve, who led the cookery class, had lots of useful tips and snippets of information and he’d clearly chosen dishes that enabled him to teach principles of cooking that could be applied to so many different ingredients. The kedgeree arancini for example, enabled him to teach us about risotto (interestingly he always uses water rather than stock in vegetable risottos, enabling the vegetables to be the stars) while the Mexican inspired fish tacos enabled him to teach us about home-smoking; mackerel and salmon was lightly smoked over oat chippings.


I came away fired up with enthusiasm about home-made ‘street-food’ – keen to get on with our plans to build a pizza oven in the garden and to try at home the delicious fennel, pomegranate and mint couscous we ate with meatballs.


 Already a fan of roasting whole heads of garlic for all that gorgeous sweet flavour, I’m now going to follow Steve’s tip of roasting a few at a time and preserving them under olive oil ready for quick, mid-week use. Especially if our harvest is good this year.

I also came away eager to present Ruby with the beautifully wrapped bag of baby pink marshmallows that I’d made myself. Here’s the recipe, kindly supplied by Daylesford:

Beetroot Marshmallows

Ingredients: 2 egg whites

500g caster sugar

250ml water

1 small beetroot

2 tbsp. icing sugar

2 tbsp.  corn flour

6 leaves gelatine

Prepare the gelatine by soaking the leaves in cold water. Combine the grated beetroot and water, simmer for 3-4 minutes, remove and allow to cool. Strain away the beetroot and combine the sugar with the pink water in a pan.

Pop the pan over a moderate heat and begin to bring up to 122C (you will need a good food thermometer or probe). In the meantime, whisk the egg whites to firm peaks in a stand mixer. When the sugar syrup has reached the correct temperature, pour it onto the egg whites with the whisk still beating. Squeeze the gelatine leaves of any excess water and pop into the warm pan left over from the sugar syrup before adding to the whisked meringue. Allow the mixer to continue for 5-8 minutes until the meringue is thick, glossy and cool.

Line a tin with a greasing of grape seed oil and a dusting of the icing sugar and corn flour combined. Pour the marshmallow mixture into the tray and allow to cool at room temperature for 2-3 hours.

When set, cut the marshmallows into cubes with an oiled knife on a surface dusted with a little corn flour and icing sugar. Dust lightly, coating with the icing sugar mixture and store in an airtight container or pop on to a plate.


Daylesford cookery school offers a range of other classes, including Wild Food and Foraging, Nose to Tail, Cooking the Perfect Roast Dinner, Artisan Bread-Making and Bistro Classics.  For anyone looking for a real treat, it would be amazing to have a massage in the very lovely haybarn (which I wrote about here) afterwards.

I visited Daylesford cookery school to review on behalf of Cotswolds Concierge, which offers a fab guide to the Cotswolds from restaurants to hotels and days out.

buttermilk & fermented pickles – february in my kitchen

in my kitchen…….


……buttermilk, ripening cheese and a tub of home-made ricotta are proof of my recent fixation with dairy products. As you may know, thanks to the lovely unhomogenized Jersey milk from a local dairy farmer and the creamy Buffalo milk I was given recently, I’ve been experimenting with labneh, mozzarella and paneer. The arrival in my kitchen of a beautiful book, The Creamery Kitchen, has fired my enthusiasm further.


I’ll write a full review of ‘the creamery kitchen’ very soon, once I’ve tried cooking the delicious looking buttermilk parmesan scones and buttermilk fried chicken, maybe the mascarpone too. It’s full of lovely, traditional recipes, the sort that would’ve once been passed down from generation to generation in an era when most people made some butter, maybe cheese in their own kitchen. Some are exotic (saffron and cardamom labneh or lamb skewers with za’atar labneh), a few are a little more complicated; others are reassuringly simple, such as buttermilk. If I’d known that all that you have to do is add white wine vinegar or lemon juice to whole milk  and set aside to thicken and sour for 15 minutes, I’d have made buttermilk to add to American style pancakes, cornbread and Irish soda bread ages ago.

I’m reading Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, one of my childhood favourites, to Ruby at the moment and buttermilk seems an entirely appropriate thing to have in the kitchen while I’m transported to a time and place where Aunties deliberate over calico or gingham for dressmaking and Rebecca’s mother singlehandedly makes butter, cream and cheese back at the farm while bringing up seven children (making me feel very inadequate the more I think about it!). Loving the very strong/slightly eccentric girl characters in books like Rebecca and Roald Dahl’s Matilda at the moment. Surely better role models than all those Princesses in towers? Although after listening to the 6 year old chatter in my car this morning on the school run (“Shall we dress in camouflage as teachers?”) I fear these strong characters may be having an immediate influence.

in my kitchen……


…….a few other things are fermenting. Inspired by the great Whey to go post at Fromage Homage’s blog, I’ve had a go at lacto-fermentation to make use of all that leftover whey from my cheese experiments. I’ve tried it with beetroot – partly as it’s still plentiful in the garden. Also, it has to sit on the kitchen windowsill for 4 days. I think I imagined a jewel coloured kilner jar like the gorgeous ones in Diana Henry’s Salt Sugar Smoke. Instead I seem to have a cloudy jar of suspect may smell rancid. Reassured by the Fromage Homage notes that the cloudy stage passes, I’ll remain optimistic as usual.

I’m also having a go at semi-hard cheese. Inspired by the recipe here. The plan is to avoid glitter and coat it merely with sea salt and olive oil (unlike the lard in the recipe) although I have to say that the glittery cheese was tasty once I’d scraped the sheen off. Not sure the glitter added anything though!

My cheese is currently at the stage where I’m meant to leave it for 2 days unwrapped for the rind to dry out. With two resident cats, leaving a cheese that is rapidly developing stinky tendencies uncovered on the kitchen work-top isn’t ideal. So I’ve covered it with a colander hoping that the air can still circulate and dry the rind.


In my kitchen we’re very lucky to have a good supply of free and pretty wild protein at the moment. Thanks to Pete the fish-catcher we have lots of lovely trout, currently being cooked simply in foil to be eaten with roast root veg – leftovers mixed with a little home-made soft cheese, lemon juice and horseradish for a simple pate. The blustery February days are giving me a craving for warming spices and the trout is also going into Thai curries along with our Mother Hubbard squash and chard from the garden. I fancy trying it in a tandoori salmon recipe soon too – interested if anyone knows if this works with trout?

Pheasant is our other plentiful free food at the moment, thanks to farmer friends. It horrifies me when I hear of big, corporate pheasant shoots where 200 pheasants are shot and nobody is bothered about eating them. When they’re shot for the table though or from a small scale farmer’s shoot, I reason that, if you’re going to eat farmed foods, these have a pretty wild, free-range life. And are delicious roasted with bacon and prunes or substituted for guinea fowl in pies like this. I also made pheasant curry, inspired by this recipe in Mad Dog’s TV dinners.

I’ve been spicing up veggies from the garden and local eggs in dishes like gypsy eggs and chickpea cauliflower too. Both lovely with my favourite flat-bread.


in my kitchen……


….I’ve also been noticing what a great helper I have these days. It doesn’t seem a minute since there was flour everywhere and licking out the bowl from cake-making was Ruby’s main kitchen activity. Cleaning out the cake bowl is of course still very popular but it recently dawned on me quite how capable she’s getting. One of those realizations that has mixed emotions as I don’t want the time when she’s happy to cuddle up with me and read Matilda to pass too quickly. Still, useful when it comes to baking….

Linking in once again with Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial’s fab In my kitchen where we get to have a lovely peep at other kitchens around the world.

February in my garden

in my garden…..

I’ve been doing some tardy bulb planting. Dark purple tulip bulbs – gloriously dramatic in my head but I was suddenly aware that’s where their rich colour would remain if I didn’t get on with pushing them into the ground. These were bulbs that should’ve been planted well before Christmas along with the aliums but as other things (such as cakes) took over, my timing is shoddy. Hoping this will just mean they flower later.

I sneaked out to plant them on a pretty grey day, in between rain storms and I have to admit that it was a wrench to drag myself away from the cosy warmth of the wood-burning stove. Once out though, I started noticing the emerging green shoots.


It was one of those days that’s not tempting from inside the house but actually quite atmospheric once you’re out in it.

Perked up by the vigorous green growth of my garlic and the promising little clumps of snowdrops, I pulled up the weeds to allow the chives lining one of the gravel paths to thrive and cleared space around the chard. I did wonder if I was throwing weeds into the wheel-barrow destined for the compost heap that are actually edible. Need to refer back to that very inspiring cooker of weeds, Liz Knight

Along with dreaming up how I could add flavour and nutrients to my winter salads for free, while tidying around the chard, I started to imagine lush greens around my tulips. I’m thinking that fresh lime greens would work really well around the rich purple and, unable to plant without planning a meal, wondering if cos lettuce at the front and those varieties of chard that have particularly acid green leaves would work well around my bulbs. Would love to hear any other suggestions.

in my garden…..

….. my ruby red leaved chicory is still giving me colour in the garden and kitchen.


The parsley, parsnips, purple sprouting and beetroot are still providing lots to harvest but the kale is a little overpicked thanks to my recent ‘seaweed‘ fixation.

Have to admit that due to the waterlogged ground we’ve had lately and the rainy days, my time in the garden lately has been mostly quick dashes to gather veggies for tea. Before returning to the warmth of the kitchen and garden views like this:


My grey day gardening fired me up with enthusiasm though for what I’m going to grow this year. When the drizzle turned to a downpour and I retreated indoors, I set to sorting out my seed-box and made my list for ordering new seeds. Normally a favourite winter evening task, it was particularly lovely on a rainy weekend afternoon with the wood-burner lit and a mug of tea beside me. Some of my old favourites of which I have a dearth of saved seeds include:

- Crimson flowered broad beans. Love both their looks and taste.

- Mother Hubbard and Uchiki Kuri squash – easy, speedy growers, great storers with their thick skins and providing lots of tasty meals at the moment.

- Borlotti beans – love their speckled crimson pods snaking up teepees and cooking them with garlic, olive oil and a few tomatoes.

- Parsnips and Swede. Grew so easily – the parsnips were just mixed with a hand full of saved nigella seeds and scattered over well prepared soil. They grew so easily and thanks to the Nigella looked pretty during the long wait for harvest.

- Rainbow chard. I love easy, productive veggies like this that also score highly in the looks department.


- Wildflowers. Keen to scatter more around the pear and apple trees that we planted at the back of the garden with an eye for prettiness as well as attracting pollinators.

I’m also planning to grow some new things in my garden, particularly extending the range of herbs to include lots of lovely blue hyssop and purslane (lured by all those tasty, home-grown  Middle Eastern salads in Celia’s lovely Fig Jam & Lime Cordial posts. Purslane may add an interesting note to salads like this too:


Lots more plans including a potting shed, second-hand greenhouse and planting around the tree-house that I’ll write about at another date. For now though, we have some welcome sunshine and I need to get out in that garden rather than write about it. And just as my grey day gardening had me dreaming of planting this year’s garden larder, no doubt a little sunshine will have me dreaming of this:


Summery days of lazy gardening and warm evenings of dusk gardening seem a long way off but very appealing at the moment.

Once again joining in Lizzie Moult’s fab Garden Collective where we peep at other gardens around the world. Selfishly, still very keen to soak up some of that virtual warmth from the other side of the world.




kale seaweed

Packed full of vitamins, tasty and plentiful, kale is a favourite of mine at the moment. Whether whizzed up in kale pesto, shredded and stirred into Ribollita or added raw to Trine Hahnemann Scandinavian winter salads, there’s something about this hardy no-nonsense brassica that suits January.


Knowing that it’s rich in antioxidants and Vitamins A, C and K helps too. My current passion for cabbage is also partly due to the fact that kale seaweed is proving a great way of getting my daughter to eat a heaped bowl full of greens.


Although she has spurts of being an adventurous eater, particularly when it comes to vegetables she’s grown herself, I have to admit that Ruby is a bit of a reluctant vegetable eater at the moment. She’s gone off old favourites such as Bolognese and pesto, which were great meals for sneaking extra veggies into. And although I’m very partial to a pile of simply steamed cabbage or kale with nothing other than a few twists of pepper and a little butter or olive oil (delicious with the pheasant that’s plentiful around here at the moment and mashed potato), Ruby doesn’t share my enthusiasm. In fact, I may as well lead a herd of goats onto the kitchen table for the look of shock that a plate of steamed greens would draw.

Actually, she’d probably be delighted with the herd of goats….

When it comes to ‘seaweed’ though, now you’re talking. It may be the novelty factor – I’m finding that food from around the world goes down very well at the moment. My daughter loves her Usborne Children’s World Cookbook and is very interested in African food (due to a school project) and Chinese food (just tasty) in particular. Very different to when she was a toddler and was happy to eat veggies in food that was comfortingly familiar, at 6 she’s more likely to be scoffed in something new.

Very easy to make for a quick snack or as a side dish with oriental noodles, kale seaweed is hardly a recipe. You just sprinkle a pinch of sugar, a pinch of sea salt and a drizzle of oil over a few large handfuls of kale 9spread in a single layer in a baking sheet) and pop in a hot oven for 5 minutes until crispy.


I’ve tried this with cavolo nero as well as curly kale and both work well. You really only need a scant amount of sugar and salt so this definitely counts as a healthy snack or side dish to me. Apparently frosts increase the sweetness of kale leaves, so if temperatures dip as forecast, the seaweed may get naturally tastier.


Still keen to find other ways of sneaking in kale, I’m going to give it a go in a version of my Wild Greens Pie and Well Worn Whisk reminded me of this lovely Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Mushroom & Kale Lasagne which we enjoyed last night. I agreed with Rachel on the benefit of extra cheese to the lasagne, adding cheddar and the last of the glittery cheese (obviously minus the glitter) to the béchamel sauce. If anybody has other kale/brassica ideas would love to hear of them – tasty and healthy as it is, very keen to make sure the seaweed doesn’t go the way of the Bolognese and pesto!


As this is a good way in my view of sneaking extra greens into children (and adults) would love to join in the fab Four Seasons Food challenge run by Louisa at Eat Your Veg and Anneli at Delicieux with the January theme of Virtuous Food. Kale is very definitely in season and this is a very simple dish, so would be great to be included in Ren Behan’s lovely Simple and in Season too.



meeting buffalo and making mozzarella

Tea tonight is going to be a very simple home-made pizza. Simple but satisfying as it will be topped with mozzarella I’ve made from buffalo milk. Buffalo that I had the pleasure of meeting this week.

buffalo grazing in warwickshire

Before you think I’m sounding either smug or bragging, I have to point out that my mozzarella is obviously far removed from those beautiful silky, smooth little bocconcini that you see in Italian delis. Far more rustic as usual.


Fan as I am of local ingredients though, it’s still very pleasing to make a treat supper from cheese made in my own kitchen. Cheese made from the beautiful creamy white milk of impressive creatures who I’ve seen living a good life.

water buffalo

Although it was cheese-making that drew me to the  Water Buffalo farmed at Napton on the Hill in Warwickshire, I’d also heard that buffalo meat is full of flavour yet low in cholesterol and was keen to learn more about these impressive animals.

Roger Alsop, who now produces delicious water buffalo ice-cream as well as buffalo meat (and burgers which he cooks and sells at village shows and festivals), was able to supply me with rich, creamy milk for my mozzarella making, but also enlighten me about buffalo farming. Having spent 25 years dairy farming at Brookend Farm, Roger found that milk quotas made it increasingly difficult to earn a living from milk and decided to diversify. The Alsops bought 20 Water Buffalo and a bull in 1999 and now have a herd of around 250 buffalo.


Roger has been converting his farm to organic and will achieve organic status by April. I was really interested to hear how relatively easy this has been because of the natural, traditional way buffalo (and previously cows) have always been farmed here.

Water buffalo haven’t been over-bred for years to increase yields and so are incredibly hardy and disease-resistant, hardly ever needing antibiotics. Docile, friendly animals, Roger says that they can be very low hassle to farm, with “none of the health problems you often get with dairy cattle; no mastitis, no feet problems.” Roger, who farms the buffalo with his son and nephew, has found that you can’t artificially inseminate water buffalo, so they’re all naturally served and breed really well. They can also milk for 20 years and calf yearly, despite a 10 month gestation period.


All sounds very easy, and Roger agrees that it is – with one exception:

“You just need to accept that you’ll never force a buffalo to do anything that they don’t want to do.”

Docile, friendly creatures who are often happier being milked than cows, buffalo are, however, very stubborn. You can’t drive buffalo like other cattle, but they do come when called: “They’re so inquisitive that they want to know what’s going on.”

When I visited, the Buffalo immediately peered nosily at me, looking as if they were wondering who on earth I was and what I was up to.


They mature slowly and naturally here, in fact everything about this style of farming reminded me that these were creatures to be respected, not commodities as it often seems modern cattle are treated as.

Interestingly, although they may be an unusual sight in Warwickshire, there are actually more water buffalo farmed worldwide than cows. Very popular in Eastern Europe and Asia, in Vietnam water buffalo are often the most valuable possession of poor farmers and treated as a member of the family. Roger Alsop’s herd came from Romania, where buffalo are still a common sight and are used to pull carts.

As with all grass-fed animals the meat is a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Full of flavour, it’s also very lean and 40% lower in fat and cholesterol than beef. The milk, although rich and creamy is also low in cholesterol, making it perfect for delicious but healthy ice-cream, cheese and milk-shakes.

The healthy meat can be cooked in the same way as beef but, despite its lack of fat, has a richer, fuller flavour. Roger Alsop lets his buffalo grow slowly and naturally, typically for 3 ½ years and the resulting topside, rump and fillet steaks are fantastic. So tender that it suits quick cooking, buffalo meat is delicious rare or even raw in Carpaccio.

Looking forward to experimenting with buffalo and kidney pies. In the meantime, this is how I made the mozzarella.

I’d previously tried the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall method here with cow’s milk. Have to admit that while I’ve been happily experimenting with easy soft cheeses of the world such as paneer, labneh and feta, Mozzarella scared me.  I’m certainly not averse to scoffing little stretchy silky balls of fresh Mozzarella with tomatoes from the garden in the Summer and very happy to cook with gloriously melting mozzarella in Italian classics food such as pizza and lasagne. It’s just that all that re-heating whey, cutting and stretching of curds sounded a little bit intimidating.

DSC06722 DSC06726

Once I started making Mozzarella though, I found that, like most cheese-making, as long as you have good milk (preferably unhomogenized) and a decent thermometer, it really isn’t too difficult. My first attempt was a lot firmer than the blissfully silky cheese I’d imagined, probably due to draining too much whey. But even then, a mixture of Mozzarella research and eating it cooked with aubergines in gloriously comforting Melanzane Parmigiana reassured me.

The cheese I made with buffalo milk was a lot softer than the cow’s milk version though. This may have been due to something slightly different in my technique or a different diet eaten by the cows/buffalo but I found it easier to make softer, creamier mozzarella with buffalo milk. My cow’s milk version was tougher in comparison.


Although Hugh (and other Mozzarella recipes I’ve consulted) advises not to knead the mozzarella once you’re at the dipping in hot whey stage (I know, I didn’t think I’d ever tackle this sort of cooking either but it’s honestly a great game) as it results in toughness, I found that kneading rather than cutting into strips was more suited to the buffalo cheese I made. Only dawned on me this week that mozzare means to cut in Italian, hence the name, by the way. Anyway, I used some of the techniques from the New England recipe here for my buffalo mozzarella as moulding and gently kneading into balls seemed to work with this softer cheese.


You can choose to shape the cheese into a couple of large balls or mould into little bocconcini style balls. Dip into a bowl of chilled water, refrigerate and use within two days. Alternatively you can enjoy immediately while still warm, savouring the freshest Mozzarella you’re likely to have.