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Thursday, July 3, 2014


Most people do not know the difference between Camembert and Brie and this is understandable, as the recipes are much the same. Both cheeses are French in origin and are named for the region they come from.
Camembert comes from Camembert, in the Normandy region of France. Camembert was made from whole, raw milk from Norman cows. Camembert is customarily shaped in disks of 11 cm in diameter, 4 cm thick, weighing about 250 grams.
Brie comes from two areas to the south and east of Paris.  The process used to make Brie is very similar to that used for Camembert, but Brie is made in larger wheels, ranging from about 500 grams to 3 kilos in weight, 20 to 40cm in diameter and 2.5 to 4cm thick. Camembert’s smaller size affects its final taste and texture.  It tends to age slightly more quickly, and the flavour of Camembert will therefore be somewhat stronger than Brie. This is because the smaller size causes the Camembert to lose moisture more quickly, which concentrates its flavour within the cheese.
The Camembert below is made specifically for the home cheese maker in smaller sizes to allow for quicker ripening and ease of storage and consumption in the home. This recipe will make four cheeses with a 10 cm diameter and 4-5 cm high. 
4 litres full cream milk
1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride diluted in 1/4 cup of non chlorinated water
I dose of Mesophilic starter culture. See packet directions. 
1 dose White Mould (Penicillium Candidum) See packet directions.
1/4 tsp Liquid Rennet or 1/4 of a Rennet tablet diluted in 1/4 cup of non chlorinated water
Cheese Salt to sprinkle on surface of cheese 
Medium stainless steel pot
A second larger pot to put the first pot into to act as a water jacket 
Cheese thermometer
Stainless steel curd knife 
Stainless Steal perforated spoon;
Stainless steel ladle
Cheese moulds (The size you select will determine whether you are making Brie or camembert)
Cheese boards
Cheese draining mats
Aging or ripening box, with rack in the bottom
  • Place your milk into the first stainless steel pot and then place this pot into a second, larger pot with water in it to act as a water jacket.
  • If using pasteurised and homogenised milk, add ¼ tsp of calcium chloride, diluted in ¼ cut of non chlorinated water and mix well.
  • Using indirect heat, heat your milk to 32 decrees C.  Add the starter culture and the white mould, mixing in well and allow to ripen for 45 minutes, maintaining the temperature at 32 degrees C.
  • Add the diluted rennet and mix well using a gentle up and down motion for one minute. Allow to set at 32 degrees C for 45 minutes.
  • Test for a clean brake.  Once a clean brake has been achieved, it is time to cut the curd.
  • Cut the curd into 1.5cm cubes and then allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Gently stir the curds for 15 minute, while at the same time maintaining the temperature at 32 degrees C.  
  • Allow to rest for 15 minutes. 
  • Using sterile cheese boards, cheese mats and hoops, sent your cheese board on a draining tray, place a cheese mat on the cheese board and then set your hoop on the cheesed mat.
  • Drain off they whey down to the level of the curds and then gently ladle the curds into your hoop(s). The whey will drain away through the bottom of the hoop(s). Once the curds are all in the hoop(s), place a second sterile cheese mat on top, followed by a second sterile cheese board, making a cheese board ‘sandwich’. 
  • Allow to rest for one hour.  The weight of the curds will press the excess whey out and the cheese with sink as this occurs. 
  • After one hour carefully flip the cheese over by picking up the cheese board ‘sandwich’. Use one careful but swift action so that the cheese does not break as you do this. It is important that the surface of the cheese does not tear. 
  • Rest the cheese a further hour and then using the same technique as before, flip the cheese again.
  • Turn the cheeses again, at hourly intervals for a further four times. 
  • Remove the cheese from the mould and sprinkle the entire surface of the cheese with cheese salt, rubbing it in gently . 
  • Place the cheese in a humid environment at 10 to 13 degrees C and let rest for 10 days, turning you cheese over every three days. You can use a temperature and humidity controlled ‘cheese cave’, or if you do not have a ‘cheese cave’, use a converted fridge or an esky. To keep the humidity up if using a fridge it is best to use a ripening box, which is a plastic box with a removable mat in the bottom to keep the cheese off the bottom of the box. This allows any further excess whey to drain away form your cheese.  If moisture collects on the lid of your ripening box, just wipe it off to stop to dripping on your cheese.

  • After the 10 days your cheese should be covered with a coating of white mound.  Remove your cheese form the ‘cheese cave’ and/or ripening box and wrap it in cheese wrap. Replace the cheese in the ‘cheese cave’ or ripening box and allow it to age for a further 2 to 4 weeks. The longer you leave this cheese the softer and runnier the cheese will become and the stronger the flavour. The length of time you allow this cheese to age will be determined by your personal taste.    


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Goat's milk soap Cambridge Rose swirl

Here at Green Living Australia we do soap making classes for beginners on a regular basis. One of the three soaps you lean in our class is a goat's milk soap.

Goats milk soap recipe

Goat's milk (pasteurized and froze)  280 grams
Sodium Hydroxide (Caustic Soda) 120 grams 
Coconut oil 240 grams
Sustainable Palm  oil 160 grams
Cold Pressed Australian Olive oil 400 grams  

Measure out and melt all of your oils together. See our cold process soap making directions for further information.

Follow the general directions for making your lye solution, being sure to follow all safety protocols.  

Milk used in soap making must be treated first, to prepare it for the soap making process.  You do this by ensuring that your milk is pasteurize. This is easy if you are purchasing your milk from the grocery store, as this milk will already be pasteurized.

The second thing you need to do to the milk is to freeze it. I pre measure my milk into 280 grams batches and freeze it overnight, taking it out of the freezer in the morning and let it start to thaw out prior to my soap making. I want this milk to be cold and even still partially frozen, like a slushy, when I start to add the caustic soda.  

Place your goat's milk slushy into the container you are going to be using to make your lye solution and then place this his container into a sink of cold water and add ice cubes to the water. You want this iced water to reach up to the level of the milk in your container. Be careful not to add too much water, as your container will start to float and may spill.

Slowly add a small amount of your measured caustic soda to the milk.  As it starts to dissolve, it will start to heat up. Stir the solution gently and then wait for it to coll down. As a rule of thumb, you do not want the solution be get above 38 degrees C.

Add some more of your caustic soda, and following the same procedure, wait until the solution cools back down. Continue to do this until you have added all of your caustic soda to your milk.

The solution will change colour to a golden yellow as you continue to mix in your caustic soda. This is natural and does not mean that there is anything wrong. This colour will be transferred to your soap. Just be sure that it does not get heated above 38 degrees C, as this will make it much darker and will also produce an offensive smell.

Once you have your milk based lye solution made, all the remaining steps of the soap making are the same as in the recipes provided.

Just add the milk based lye solution to your oils and mix until you get a trace.   Once trace is achieved you are ready to add your colours and essential oils. 

Divide your soap mixture into two jugs. Add one teaspoon of Ruby Rose Mica  to one of the jugs of soap mixture and one teaspoon of Cambridge Blue Mica  to the second jug. Mix them well.

Either by yourself, or better yet with a friend, pour each colour into your silicone loaf mold. at the same time. You will need to pour slowly and with a steady hand. If you pour to fast you will not get the effect you are looking for. You want the two colours to remain separate and not mix together into just one colour. so be careful with this step. 

One your soap has been pored you can add extra effect by getting a spoon and using it to swirl the two colours around in the mould. 
Cover your soap and let rest for 24 to 48 hours in a warm place to set. Once the soap has set, it can be removed from the mould and cut into bars.  As an added touch you can use a spoon to rough up the top of the soap into peeks as it hardens and even dust the top with a little of the mica you used for colouring. 

The cut soap then needs to cure for four to six weeks before it ca be used. I always let mine cure for the full six weeks.  

Blue Cheese sauce

I though I would share with you the recipe used for the blue cheese sauce I serve with my ricotta gnocchi. It is so simple it only takes  minutes to make. Select your favourite blue cheese for this recipe, as they all work equally well.


1/2 cup cream

125 grams blue cheese of your choice, cut into small pieces.

1. Gently warm your cream in a saucepan until it comes to  the boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes, string the cream as it begins to thicken.

2.  Add about half of the blue cheese and stir until melted into the cream.

3. Add the remaining blue cheese and stir it in, but do not let it melt. As soon as the additional cheese is stirred into the cheese and cream mixture remove it from the heat.

4. Serve over your pasta, which in my case was home made ricotta gnocchi.


Friday, June 6, 2014

Ricotta Gnocchi

I must admit I love potato gnocchi, despite the fact that its main components are potato and four. So while it is wonderful to eat, it misses the mark on nutrition in my opinion. So you can well imagine my joy when I discovered Ricotta Gnocchi and you too will thrilled when you realise just how easy this is to make. All you need to do is replace the potato with one recipe of your own home made ricotta.  


One batch of home made ricotta

One egg

Enough flour to make a soft dough

Pot of boiling salted water


Put a large pot of water onto the stove, add a teaspoon of salt and bring this water to the boil.

In a mixing bowl add one egg to your batch of ricotta and mix on low speed, or by hand.

Add the flour, one quarter of a cup at a time, until you have a soft dough of the correct consistency and  it is ready to turn out of your bowl onto a lightly floured surface.

Kneed the dough, adding additional four as needed, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

Divide the dough into several small portions and then roll the dough into thin log about 1.5 cm thick. Cut into 2 cm pieces and set them aside ready to go into you boiling salted water.

Add your prepared gnocchi to the boiling water one batch at a time, being sure not to overcrowd them. Cook for three minutes.

Using a slotted spoon remove the cooked gnocchi from the boiling water and allow to drain in a colander.

Continue to cook the remaining gnocchi, one batch at a time, until all the gnocchi is cooked.

Serve with your favorite sauce.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Low Sugar Raspberry Jam

On the weekend I visited Bratasha Farm farm on the Granite Belt and purchased a box of fresh raspberries that had been picked just the day before. The quality was amazing; perfectly ripe, large berries, packed with intense flavour.

While we did eat some of the berries fresh, back in Logan, south of Brisbane, in the Green Living Australia kitchen, we decided to use our low sugar pectin and make a low sugar jam out of some of our harvest. Here is the recipe for you to try at your place.

1 kg fresh raspberries, washed

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

500 grams sugar

30 grams Low Sugar Pectin

Before you start your jam making, place a small pate in your freezer, ready to use to test your jam for set.

1. Place your raspberries into your jam making pot, along with the lemon juice. Turn the heat on medium - low and warm the berries to release the natural pectin. As they heat up the berries will start to soften and breakdown.

2. Keeping the heat set at medium - low, and once the fruit has softened, add 450 grams of your sugar, while stirring. Continue to stir until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Mix together your remaining 50 grams of sugar and your pectin.

4. Increase the heat and bring your jam to the boil. Once boiling add your sugar/pectin mixture, while stirring to ensure you get no lumps in your jam.

5. Bring the jam back to the boil and cook over high heat for two minutes.

6. Test you jam for set. Remove the small plate from the freezer and place a teaspoon of jam onto the plate and place the plate into the fridge for a minute. Remove the plate from the fridge and using your finger push a line through the jam. If the jam is set wrinkles will form on the surface of the jam and the line through the jam will remain.

7. Once the jam has set it is time to pour it into 250 ml jars. Make sure that the jars are hot so you do not have problems with hot liquid going into cold jars and cracking the glass. Fill the jars with your jam, leaving a 15 mm head space. Wipe of the rim of the jar to remove any spilled jam and then cap with new lids and tighten them down.

Head space required to get a good seal
8. Process your filled jars using the boiling water bath method. If you pre-sterilised your jars process at boiling for 5 minutes. If you did not pre-sterilise your jars, process for 10 minutes.  

9. Once your jars have been processed, using a jar lifter so you do not scold yourself, remove the jars from the boiling water and place them on the kitchen counter to cool.

When you jars are cool they are ready for storage for later use. Be sure to label your jars with the name of your jam and the date you made it.

Naturally, it is also totally understandable if you open a jar right away and have jam and cream with scones, That's what we did and a wonderful afternoon tea it made too.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Low Sugar Strawberry Jam

For some time now I have been working on trying to make the perfect low sugar jam, in the hopes that I would get a good set, while maintaining the wonderful flavour of the fruit. My problem has been that whenever I reduced the sugar, I would have to cook the jam for much longer to get it to set. The result was an over cooked jam that lost that summer in a bottle flavour I think good jam is all about.

Well I have finally succeeded, using a low sugar pectin that allows the jam to set without being cooked for an extended period of time.  So rather than getting the flavour of caramelized, over cooked sugar, I get the fresh fruit flavours I am aiming for.

Strawberries have a low natural pectin level, so they are perfect for use with commercial pectin. If you use the low sugar pectin, and reduce the high sugar content in most jams, you get the best of both worlds; a wonderful, fresh fruit taste, without the sugar hit some of us would rather do without.

Here is my recipe.


One kilogram of strawberries washed and hulled. If the strawberries you are using are large, you may want to cut them up.
400 grams sugar
Three tablespoons of lemon juice
30 grams of Green Living Australia Low Sugar Pectin


Place a small plate in the freezer ready to use later to test your jam for set.

Place the strawberries and lemon juice into you preserving pan. Cook them over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the fruit has softened.  This should only take a few minutes. Using a potato masher, crush the fruit a little to release the juice and natural pectin in the fruit.

Add 350 grams of the sugar and stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat to high and bring the fruit sugar mixture to a rolling boil.

Meanwhile, mix your 30 grams of low sugar pectin with the remaining 50 grams of sugar. Once the fruit sugar mixture has reached a rolling boil, add the pectin mixture by sprinkling it in while rapidly stirring.  Pectin is a thickening agent so if you just add it without blending it with some sugar first, it will clump and you will end up with lumps you then have to work out of your jam.

Bring your jam back to the boil and boil for one minute. You are now ready to test for set. To test for set, remove the small plate from the freezer and place a little of the jam on the plate and pop it in the refrigeration to cool for a minute. Remove the plate from the refrigerator. If the jam is set a skin would have formed on the surface. Push the jam with your finger and you will see the skin wrinkle. This is set point. If the jam surface does not wrinkle and the jam is not set, cook it for a little longer and then test again.

Once the jam is ready, ladle it into 250 mm jars, leaving a 15 mm head space. Clean off the jar rims with a clean cloth or paper towel and put on new lids, tightening them firmly by hand. Process the jars using the boiling water bath method for 5 minutes if you pre-sterilised the jars and lids and 10 minutes if you did not pre-sterilise the jars and lids.

Boiling water bath method

This jam turned out amazing and has been a big hit in our classes, especially for those clients who needed to really watch the sugar intake for health reasons. 


Monday, February 25, 2013

Mango Jam

We you know the story of the mango tree destruction in my back yard, if you have read the post on Mango chutney. But there is only so much mango chutney a girl can make in one week. Mango Jam was my next mission.


450 grams peeled and chopped ripe mango

450 grams sugar

Two tablespoon lemon juice.

Two tablespoons of water


Place the mango, water and lemon juice in your preserving pan.  Simmer gently until the fruit is soft.

Add the sugar and stir over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Increase the heat and boil rapidly, until set point is achieved. The setting point of jam is 105 degree.

To test for set point place a small plate in the fridge to chill.  When you are ready to test for set point,  remove the jam from the heat, to avoid overcooking it, and place a teaspoon of the jam on the chilled plate and place the plate back in the fridge for a minute or two. Remove the plate and with your finger tip, push the jam. If the surface of the jam wrinkles, the jam is set.

This jam was a big hit and we used two jars in the first two days!!!