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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hispanico (Cows milk Manchego), Harvesting Onion and Garlic

Time to try something different in the cheese making area. Came across this recipe on NECMSC. It looked pretty simple and having tried Manchego a few times in the past it went on our list of things to try. The process turned out to be very straight forward. We haven't been using the heavy duty cheese press of late but with a block of cheese this size it came in handy especially as the pressing process involved different pressures at various timings. Gauging the pressures was a bit of a guess. 5KG is easy as that is the exact weight of the metal door stop. But 10 KG was a shot in the dark i.e. the screws turned down a bit and 30 KG was the screws turned down a lot. In hindsight maybe making a couple of smaller ones might have been a better idea so that tasting them at different ages would be easier but sometimes it's just nice to have a big wheel for aesthetics.

There was a bit of stirring involved but as luck would have it a handy book and the art of reading and stirring work well. Stirring, coffee, Christmas cake and reading is a touch more difficult but can be achieved.

Some of the alliums were ready in particular the one called French Shallot which looks like a bunching onion. It keeps really well. We used the last one only two weeks ago. They are also exceedingly strong flavoured. Definitely eye watering material. This years crop did not contain the larger sized bulbs that came last year. Our assumption is that weather conditions were a little different and not ideal. It could also have been that the compost used was not up to scratch but we don't think so. Sometimes nature has a little mystery. Still the quantity was good enough and there will be plenty to use as seed stock this coming July.
The last of the garlic was pulled as well. Again the quality was not present. The odd good corm but nowhere near as good as last year. It just didn't bulb up. Normally we would have finished harvesting in November so this is more than a month late. Still there will be enough across all the varieties to keep us going. Especially now that we have started freezing some of the crop to prevent it shooting before the next years crop is ready.
We finished the day by sitting in and around a friends swimming pool having a drink and chatting about the world, books and every thing else. Something we plan to do more of in 2014.

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