This weekend was all about cheesemaking, tiling the new microdairy/cake kitchen and AI-ing the pig.
First AI of the pig was not successful – the pig weighs nearly 4 times what I do, if she isn’t in the mood, she isn’t in the mood.
We tried again on Monday/Tuesday with slightly more success. I will only believe I was successful when I see piglet faces popping out.
The tiling was more successful and I managed to tile and grout the entire room. I am in charge of tiling/grouting and James mixes cement and cleans up.
I made halloumi – I am pretty pleased with my halloumi game at the moment – I am now using the cheesemkaing book by Paul Thomas and not only is it turning out really well, but I am (slowly) understanding the mechanics behind cheese-making. As a bonus his instructions for making anari (a form of ricotta) mean that this is no longer a stressful enterprise whereby I randomly add vinegar or citric acid to the whey and hope. Turns out just bringing the whey up to 90C and letting the solids rise is the fool-proof way. Anyway, more on cheese-making another time.
While we scoffed some of the halloumi on Saturday night with roast veggies from the garden, I used the ricotta to make some borek on Sunday. This way of making borek dates back to the early 1990s when I lived in Istanbul teaching English and I would make two batches of borek for some of the teachers when we finished on a Sunday evening. We lived in the apartment with a very small cooker – the others had the apartment with the washing machine! It was kind of my version of su boregi, that didn’t involve dipping the pastry in boiling water. It is super-easy and we eat it a lot.
In Istanbul you could buy yufka (like filo pastry) from the yufka shop which sold three things, eggs, flour and thin circles of fine pastry used for making borek, but filo works just as well. You can add in green leaves of some form, or not. I raided the veg patch behind the house of a gathering of chard. You can herbs if you have them and cheese, or not.
Borek: filo pastry, spinach or swiss chard, dill or mint, eggs, some kind of cheese such as feta or ricotta, lots of melted butter.
Cook the chard/spinach, squeeze out the water and mix with eggs (3-4) and cheese/herbs if using. Layer up the filo pastry (about 4-5 layers) in an oven-proof dish – brish each sheet with melted butter. Add half the mix. Continue to layer up the pastry (another 4 sheets), brushing with butter and then add the rest of the mix. Fold over the edges of the pastry. Mix the remaining butter with another beaten egg and pour/brush over the top of the borek.
Cook in a hottish oven until golden brown on top.
We had it with some home-made flatbread, beetroot hummos and lemony-courgette meze that I found in the back of a freezer.