Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Local food and alphabet soup.

There are so many establishments offering accommodation in this area, that it is quite difficult to stand out and make sure that potential visitors notice us. So from the beginning I set myself a target of being as environmentally friendly as possible (without sacrificing comfort). One way we can do that is to eat local and seasonal. I try to make sure that we do not serve any imported food and that we grow as much of our own as is possible. At the moment my little urban farm is home to a growing vegetable patch and soon I am hoping to add fresh eggs to the menu.

I want to build a chicken run in the far corner and get six hens. Not only will they contribute eggs, but their manure will be a welcome addition to the garden and their pest control activities will be most beneficial.

For years my aim has been to use ingredients that my grandmother would have had in her kitchen. As soon as I see a string of letters in place of names on an ingredient list on packaging, I put it back on the shelf. Ingredients that read like alphabet soup cannot be good for you.

One thing I will not be able to accommodate on my little farm is my own milk cow, but I can buy milk and make my own products out of it. I recently made my first batch of yoghurt and cannot believe how easy it is. If I had known I would have done this a long time ago as I can go through quite a lot of the stuff.

I found the recipe here and adapted it to South African measurements and products.

  1. Large, heavy pot. My Le Creuset Christmas present came in handy.
  2. A cooking thermometer, aka a sugar thermometer.
  3. Five Consol jars.
  4. Whisk.
  5. Cooler box.
This is how I did it:
  1. Run the Consol jars through the dishwasher to sterilise, or wash and rinse in really hot water. Turn upside down to dry.
  2. Heat 2 litres of  full cream milk in the heavy saucepan to 84 - 88 C. This is the temperature at which the milk is sterilised.
  3. Remove from heat and cool to 44 - 48 C.
  4. Add one cup of plain yoghurt (make sure it says on the container that it has live culture) to the warm milk and whisk through. (I use Greek yoghurt for my starter)
  5. Pour milk into the Consol jars and close. The fifth jar will not be full.
  6. Place the jars in the cooler and add warm water, 44 - 48 C, so that at least three quarters of the jar is in the water.
  7. Close the cooler box, or warmer box as it is in this case, and leave for three hours.
  8. This yoghurt will keep for about a month in the fridge.
  9. If you use full cream milk, the yoghurt will be quite firm. If you use low fat, it will be quite runny.
Reasons why I like my home made yoghurt:
  1. It tastes better and I can add my own flavouring.
  2. It does not contain all sort of other gunk like starch to thicken it or preservatives.
  3. I do not contribute to the landfill with disposable containers made from petrochemicals.
  4. If I add anything like fruit to it, I know exactly what I am adding.
I have no picture of my yoghurt, but will include some soon with my recipes using yoghurt.

1 comment:

  1. Tracey, I just LOVE your blog and your photos are amazing. How wonderful is it that a herd of Elephants caused us to meet?