Middle Class Problems: Making your own cheese can be a costly, and really quite messy, affair


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The Independent Online

There is a glut of milk in the fridge and it's just the moment to try that amazingly simple-looking recipe for home-made ricotta. Imagine! We can stuff our own cannelloni for the true fatto in casa experience, and save money, too, because honestly, even supermarket ricotta is absurdly expensive for what is only a by-product of cheese-making.

Jug of milk, lemon juice, salt. Mix, and strain through a muslin cloth. Though where, pray, is that to come from? I am not a milkmaid, nor yet a shopper at Laura Ashley circa 1971. John Lewis to the rescue. A metre (minimum order) of good muslin will set me back £4.50; oddly, there's no click and collect on this item, so there is £3 delivery, too.

Oh well, it's worth it as a one-off purchase, because I am definitely going to go in for making ricotta in a big way. It will become a daily routine, much like putting on the yoghurt-maker, the breadmaking machine, the ice-cream maker… Well, I'm sure I'll do it quite often, anyway.

The muslin has arrived, and in an instant I am Tess of the d'Urbervilles. The first lot of milk has gone now, but I've dashed out for more; there's only Duchy left, at twice the price, but it's probably saving a West Country farmer from penury.

Heat, strain, ooh yukk, that's really quite messy. Never mind, I'll get better at this once I'm doing it every day.

There's not much cheese, actually. And it's cost just over £10 so far for this blob of goo. But it's ricotta, and it's mine. I'm thinking of getting a goat.