Sustainable in the city, while making cream cheese.

My beautiful daughter who lives and works in London called me the other day. She wanted to remind me very gently that not everyone who wants to live a sustainable life lives on a farm.  Could I maybe write something that  she and her friends would find applicable to their lives too. And she is absolutely right. Even though I would like you all to rush out and buy an old house with a barn and a couple of acres and get to it. Most of you just cannot do that.  I cannot believe MY luck having an old house, a barn and a few acres.  So I am thinking of you guys in your apartments, sometimes without even a doorstep to put a pot of rosemary on. Oh no that is so sad!

As I am thinking( out loud) I am making yoghurt.  So excuse any mistakes today, i am multi tasking. But sustainable.  I think it comes down to how my children and I used to live when we were young. We worked hard and our life was more subsistence that sustainable. But I think there is one big similarity. Sustainable lifestyles do not waste anything. Subsistence lifestyles cannot afford to waste anything.

So  sustainable really is available to everyone.  We all need to think about making sure we can use the majority of what we bring  into our homes and properties.  That includes the packaging.  I buy a laundry powder that comes in a big bucket because the bucket can be re-used.  Old tins for nails and flowers. Yes, yes we all know about recycling.  I won’t lecture.  Mostly I think we need to somehow find local growers and eat that fresh food.  And arrange our lives so that we have time to cook and eat it.

If you don’t have a garden which is growing food for you. Go to the markets and see what is fresh and cook that, instead of taking a list and buying imported out of season foods.  Throw the hamster out of its cage and put a chook in there instead, she will eat all your food scraps and give you an egg each day.   Actually a lot of those little London gardens are a perfect size for a couple of hens when you think about it. You can have chickens up in Chicago but not roosters which seems fair.  Or have a worm farm in the carpark of your building to gobble up all the paper packaging.  Hang your knickers to dry on the shower rail instead of using the dryer – that always pleases the flat mates!!  Wear gumboots when you go shopping.! Hitch your pants up with baling twine!. Cut the sleeves out of your winter Tshirts for the summer and no hemming! Live for a day as though you are your grandfather. Only buy stuff grown or made in the country you live in! (Maybe that one is a bit difficult.)

Mostly slow down. Some things take a few days to make, like yoghurt. Let yourself take a break and get back to what is important to you. Decide what is important to you.

Now here is something you all can make.. it is very slow, very good for you and it takes two days to make so plan ahead. Lovely creamy cheese.

Making cream cheese is actually pretty easy to do in any kitchen. You can even make it with the pasteurised organic whole milk you buy at the supermarket. Try not to buy anything that says Ultra Pasteurised though.

Today I am making the first step which is the yoghurt.  We will be eating our creamy yoghurt cheese tomorrow. This is why I do not have a photo of that yet, I will do that tomorrow. If all goes well. because sometimes it doesn’t.

Heat 4 cups of milk  to 185F /85C (almost boiling) then cool to 115F/46C (warm).  Cool it properly, any hotter than 115F will kill the culture, so sometimes it is a good idea to have a thermometer handy. I pour my mixture into a jug, fill the pot with ice and cool it that way. I know, I know, I am not supposed to be impatient.

Now,  stir in 1/4 cup of fresh organic, plain Greek yoghurt (I use Danon). Mix a little of the warm milk with the yoghurt then pour back in and stir for one minute until thoroughly mixed in. Pour into  very clean glass jars with lids. Place the jars into a chilli bin (cooler)  with hot water in the bottom  and close the lid.  OR on a day like today (very hot again), wrap the jar in a little blankie and stand somewhere warm out of the sun.  OR if you have a yoghurt maker, then do what it says to do. 

After about 6 hours it should be thickened, after about 12 hours it will be set and a little tart.

The next step will turn your yoghurt into a very tasty creamy cheese dip or spread. Now, empty your jar of  yoghurt into a bowl and stir in 1 tsp of salt.

Line a colander with muslin, or an old pillow case, or a big piece of very clean very white very thin fabric and pour your mixture in.  Careful, pour slowly.  Gather the fabric up making a bag for your mixture, tie it at the top  and secure it above something so it can drain into a bowl.  After most of the fluid is through I drain overnight in the fridge.  The left over fluid is whey which is loaded with protein.  Mary’s Cat will have that.   Tomorrow -scrape the cheese from the fabric and EAT! You can store it in a container in the fridge for a few days as well if you like. 

I add pepper, a little chili, finely chopped onions, or spring onions, maybe salami and onions. My mother would have put in chopped apricots and walnuts and sometimes dates I think.  Eat with crostini or crackers or lovely fresh slices of cucumber.  It is also a great top layer for your quiche, or middle layer in the lasagne.

Remind me to give you the lasagne recipe.

Now that my yoghurt is working I will go back out and slowly check on the fencer.  He prefers to work by himself.. Well he does!!


4 Comments on “Sustainable in the city, while making cream cheese.

  1. Oh, yes, dear Cecilia, I agree with you about living in apartments how sad… we are all far from the nature world and life in the past… as in my childhood days… I am living in a big city and in an apartment. How I miss to live in a small village and in an old house with my little garden… Maybe in the future,… But still I make my own bread and yogurth. To be honest, I have bread maker and also yogurt maker so not very hard to do them… At least I know I did…

    I loved your photograph… takes me into the beautiful days, dreams, and also memories too… I think dear Cecilia, the secret of a great life is in this simple life… We can’t catch so many beautiful details in the big cities… You made a wonderful point for this. Thank you, it is so nice to hear these beautiful thoughts… Blessing and Happiness, with my love, nia

  2. Thank you so much Nia, I love your messages. You do find some beautiful images in your city. I have seen your photographs of them. We are so lucky. Take care cecilia

  3. Pingback: Interview with an Expert: Sustainable, Simple Living « Misk Cooks

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