Friday, January 31, 2014

Bottling some winter wine

With Jennifer away on a business trip, Jess and I spent some of last night bottling a batch of malbec we started at Christmas. 

We experimented with some different approaches to bottling. This time we racked to a primary and then using the spigot and a funnel instead of a siphon to fill the bottles. This worked quite a lot better for Jess.

We also tried out the floor corker my friend Lorna gave us. Much better than the butterfly corker we had been using! These need to sit for a couple of days to ensure the corks seal and then we'll cap and label them. Should be ready to drink come late summer!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

More cheese

The unseasonable melt continues outside and some of the front garden even made a brief appearance on Saturday. i imagine more snow is on the way so I haven't rushed to get the shovel sharpened, although two of the three bikes are in the basement and tuned up for spring.

The cooler temperatures on Sunday kept us indoors for a quiet day. I finally ran down some rennet and citric acid (and Barb's Kitchen Centre) so I decided to try my luck at mozzarella.

I hauled out the candy thermometer I got for Christmas, heated the milk, curdled it and voila, we had curds. I got some advice from one of the cheese places that I shouldn't try mozzarella right away as it was too hard. It was a tiny bit more work then paneer, but hardly difficult even for a newbie.

I decided to try the stretching using heated whey (instead of the microwave) since it was there and already hot. And after a couple of submersions and stretches, we had a large ball of mozzarella.

I put it in the fridge to cool and then froze two-thirds. The rest I put into a capresse salad for dinner.

I see the wine is about ready to bottle, perhaps later this week.

Friday, January 17, 2014

More wine making

The warm weather (+8C!) turns a young man's mind to gardening. Fortunately, the two feet of snow offers a corrective and we trundled down to the basement to continue making wine.

We're through the secondary ferment so racked the wine off to clarify for a couple of weeks before bottling. Some of the ingredients require stirring for a specific amount of time and, to my embarrassment, the only portable clock we could find was Darth Vader.

The finished carboy needs to sit some. I see Jessica managed to photobomb  this picture. Now onto cleaning up some of the tools. I wonder how difficult it would be to make mead once the wine is bottled?

Assuming the weather holds tomorrow, we may go out and putter a bit in the yard (ice chipping, bike maintenance, etc.). At some point, we need to decide what to plant in the spring. I have a more "more beets" sticky above the computer so that should factor in!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lemon-whey pie and sauerkraut

Being too old to stay up to midnight... we celebrated New Year's eve with some skiing and then a slice of lemon-whey pie (since I had a bucket of whey left over from making paneer yesterday).

The pie received mixed reviews and I don't think I'd make it again. We also put up some more sauerkraut. I experimented with three different kinds this autumn and eventually settled on plain sauerkraut as my favourite so I made enough to last until spring.

Today looks like a morning of taking down the Christmas tree and perhaps taking stock of what is in the freezer and cupboards.