Sometimes I get obsessed.
The beautiful rich smell and aroma of almonds, and almond biscotti, eaten quickly as the icing sugar dusts off onto your hands and the floor. Something little and sweet and easy to make while a child demands your attention and you stop and have a cup of tea.
I love ricotta. More than that, I love homemade ricotta. The kind which has come out of my kitchen, made by me, heated twisted drained and served....all by me. This has been on my To Do List for far too long. Years in fact. Ever since Charlotte wrote to me about making some, and made it sound like she just popped into the kitchen and voila! there it was before her and I was so sure she was making it all up how easy it is to make that I kept putting it off. So sure was I, that it would be so difficult to make. And then Gourmet Traveller - my bible of cooking inspiration - had a little inconspicuous recipe for vanilla ricotta and rhubard compote. I sat and read through the recipe. And re-read it. And went out and bought muslin. And milk. And an hour later I had fresh ricotta infused with vanilla beans sitting on my benchtop. Since then I have made it a few times, and it will surely become another staple in my cooking week. I've added it to spanakopita, eaten it with rhubarb compote as per the recipe in GT, and eaten it fresh out of the muslin while it's still warm. That there, that simple act, is joy in itself. It is ridiculously easy. And ridiculously satisfying.
Heat on high 2 litres of milk in a non-reactive pan [stainless steel, ceramic, glass] stirring constantly with a rubber spatula for the first 5 and a half minutes to make sure the milk doesn't burn to the bottom of the pan, let it continue heating without stirring for a further 4 and a half minutes, then take off heat and add 50ml of white vinegar. Let stand for an hour. Then drain through muslin. I've googled other recipes and they do it without adding the vinegar. Or they add lemon juice. Some use a combination of whole milk and buttermilk. I've done it with just whole milk, and also just with skim milk and both work equally well. The only downside is that for the amount of milk, I seem to get very little ricotta and so the cost effectiveness is not great. But honestly, that really doesn't matter. Because it tastes fantastic.
And my next obsession.....these beautiful pieces.