Tag Archives: cooking secrets

Making Ricotta Cheese (or Everyday Kitchen Miracles)

Students preparing Fresh Ricotta and Broad Bean Ravioli

Sometimes I feel that cooking is an act of faith.

In life, there is no guarantee that what you’re doing will end up the way you want it to. Even if you do the same thing, day after day, you might not get the result you are looking for. There are so many changing factors. It’s a total crapshoot.

With cooking, following a recipe will give you some assurance, but still, the variables that get thrown at you can change the outcome. I was thinking about this because I have just gone through a few weeks of intense cooking for various events, and each time, various obstacles were thrown in my path over the course of creating the meal. It was a little worrying. When you are catering for 120, you can’t afford to start over (time-wise, money-wise, sanity-wise) if something goes wrong.

Take ricotta, for instance, which I have made four times in the past 2 weeks. Ricotta is a very simple cheese to make. You bring milk (cow, sheep or goat, or all three if you want) to 190F – or just before it starts to boil – and then you add the vinegar. Stir it a bit, let it sit, then strain it, and voila! You have just made a lovely, fresh ricotta cheese. Or maybe not. Continue reading

My 10 Top Tips on How to Make Things Taste Better

There are a few things going on to make these carrot cupcakes delicious, most notably the addition of air.

The Author was teaching The Poppet how to play guitar. His instructions? “Just pick it up and play along with a song you like. That’s how you’ll learn.”

Well, I think I might have a thing to say about that. First of all, if you don’t know how to do something, how can you start doing it? Secondly, how do you get the confidence?

I was thinking about this because it’s similar to telling someone how to cook something. When you’ve done it for a while, it seems pretty easy. “Cook till done.” “Bake till the loaf sounds hollow.” But what does “hollow” mean with a loaf of bread? Continue reading