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A Week on the Estate: Waste Reduction, Tickled Pink & Cheese Whizz

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The snow and ice have gone and we’ve had a week of double-digit temperatures with snowdrops blanketing the ground on Lime Tree Avenue. Spring is in the air, bringing with it plenty of good news for the estate and its businesses.

Close to home, we’ve upgraded our kitchen-garden recycling by using some old cargo pallets, a patch of spare ground and a dash of elbow grease to create capacious new compost bins. These bins will recycle nutrients and help the kitchen garden to thrive in years to come. Our earthworms will be pleased too.

We’ve also embraced waste-reduction in the Massingberd-Mundy Lincoln Red beef product range. To make sure we use as much of the animal as possible, we recently launched an offal box which includes such cuts as onglet, kidney and oxtail. We were thrilled that the offal boxes sold out in less than a week and we’re grateful for our customers’ enthusiastic response to what we’re trying to achieve. Our usual versatile and delicious Lincoln Red Beef Box will be available for delivery from 4th March.

Tristan Jørgensen and the Massingberd-Mundy Distillery also received a ringing endorsement this week. The Craft Gin Club recognised Marie Jeanne as their best-selling pink gin of 2020, hailing it as ‘unconventional’ and ‘defying expectations’.  Marie Jeanne has also won plaudits from top ‘ginfluencers’ including gin blogger Emma Louise Winters, who was “utterly blown away” by this “exceptionally made pink gin”. The delicious tipple was given a sales boost by its appearance on BBC Countryfile just before Christmas.

The latest instalment of ‘Our Days’ tells the story of our new cheese creamery operator, Mark Vines. Mark grew up on Lincolnshire farms in the 1970s and 80s, joined the British Army just in time for the Gulf War, travelled far and wide then returned to the county to master his trade as a head chef. Mark is currently busy developing tasty and wholesome cheese from our sustainably pastured Lincoln Red herd.  You can read Mark’s story on the ‘My Days’ page, but if you’re a cheese-lover in need of a lockdown project, then read on for a chef’s guide to DIY mozzarella and ricotta.

home-made cheese

FIRST, CURDS!

To make curds, you’ll need 4.5L of whole milk, 1.5 tsp of powdered citric acid, 0.25tsp of rennet and a pinch of salt. The milk shouldn’t have been pasteurised at high temperatures as this denatures the proteins and won’t curdle properly.  Dissolve the citric acid into one cup of water, then dissolve the rennet into a separate quarter-cup of water. Add the whole milk to a pan, stir in the citric acid solution to start the curdling and heat to around 35C. Take the milk off the heat, stir in the rennet solution for no more than 45 seconds, then cover the mixture and leave it alone and unheated for five minutes.

The milk should have set into curds by this point; if not, give it another five minutes. Once set, cut the curds into a grid so that you get even-sized pieces. Heat the curds on the stove at around 40C, stirring gently until the whey separates out. Use a slotted ladle to move the curds into a microwaveable bowl.

MOZARELLA

Use either hot water or a microwave oven to make the curds as hot as your bare hands can stand. Stretch and fold the hot curds repeatedly until they start to bind and take on a glossy sheen. Heat them again, then stretch and form them into classic mozzarella balls. You’ll have a cheese that’s great for cooking or for adding to a salad with pesto.

RICOTTA

Take the separated curds and add salt and herbs to taste. Press the curds into a muslin cheese cloth to expel the remaining whey, place them in a mould and leave them to rest for an hour. As the curds cool, they will naturally bond. Turn the mould out and gently remove the ricotta from the cloth, then chill it for a couple of hours before eating. For a more intense flavour, leave the ricotta to mature in the fridge for two or three days. Serve with salads, or with fruit as a light and refreshing alternative.

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