Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Love is a sacred reserve of energy; it is like the blood of spiritual evolution.

Growing up in the 70s I used to watch a bit of evening tv with mum ( I don't know why I can't remember dad in this scenario because he was home more often than not) anyways, "the good life" was one of the sit coms we would view with some regularity so I can now blame tom and barbara for developing a vague, romantic aspiration to be self sufficient.
At some stage in my younger adult life I had occasional fantasies of a grow-your-own kind of a life. And then i realised i don't really care for gardening. And i had four kids to manage and a job to go to and the supermarket became my second home. Any self sufficiency/ homesteading/ homeschooling/ sustainable living fantasy i might have had was laid aside, realising that I don't really have the commitment, passion and love of hard work it would take.
The factory I worked in was growing and the job became increasingly demanding at the same time as I was losing the physical ability to keep up. I was drained to even more exhaustion by having a psychopathic bully for a boss. Eventually I left. I had enjoyed that job and believed in the work the company did so I was simultaneously relieved and a little bit heartbroken but it wasn't long before I was struck with the inspiration to start doing birth support. Doulas have a slogan: "changing the world, one birth at a time" and i believe that to be my calling but for the most part doulas are under utilised and my days are mostly free so one day, when i was bemoaning the exhorbitant price of a decent loaf of bread, I decided maybe I would make my own. Bread makers were on sale at Aldi the following week and I would need to make just 15 loaves to recoup the cost of the machine. It was a no brainer and I started making bread.
The same thing happened with yogurt, just a couple of months later. 

You might remember that I started this year with the idea of doing a cheesemaking course. I haven't got around to it yet which works out ok because I happened to take the kids on a day out in the recent holidays and out of my regular orbit i saw what i have never seen before: a cheesemaking kit. It looked a little pricey so I came home and googled around, managing to get myself an online bargain in a beginners kit for $100 less than either the course or the kit in the shop!

A long time ago I read a promise in Psalms: "delight yourself in the the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart" At the time I was not unhappy but I did hope that there was something more around the corner, even though I had no clue what the real desire of my heart might be. 

As I set up to make my first ever batch of cheese yesterday I realised that gradually and unconsciously I have received the desire of my heart. We will never be self sufficient and I am still not a gardener, the only thing I grow is alfalfa sprouts on the window sill, but evolution is a powerful thing, who knows what might be next. Right now I have all the self sufficiency I need, if only I could figure out where to put the new fermentation kit.

Home made Haloumi


  1. Exciting steps.
    And yes, I too watched The Good Life. And really appreciated that the show made it look like hard work - which I am sure it is.
    Do we get cheese reviews? And updates? Please?

  2. EC,
    I was watching you tube clips of the good life and i suspect that the difficulties are only slightly exaggerated.
    The halloumi is not salty or squeaky enough but it is entirely edible and does not melt in the fry pan so I call that a success. It also only cost $5 for the milk to make maybe $15 worth of cheese. :)

  3. As you would have probably guessed from some of my posts as well as some comments that I have left here, I flatter myself that I am a cook. Among the things that I make at home is what we call paneer which is a cottage cheese which looks just like what you have on the photo. I have found out more about the cheese that you made and will try my hand at it soon. Thank you for the inspiration.

  4. Ramana,
    i have seen recipes for paneer but you must tell me how to eat it? and what kind of milk is used? and are you able to buy (or beg or steal) raw milk? all milk here has to be pasteurised and it's serious trouble for anyone who uses raw milk. cheesemakers and health nuts are up in arms :)

  5. I get good results from using pasteurised homegenised full cream milk. I also get buffalo milk in raw form from some cattle sheds which are still operational in our country. You can eat paneer raw with any seasoning that you may want to add or lightly saute it to a nice brown and add it to other dishes. I do both depending on what meal plan I have. The raw form in salads where I use olive oil and natural vinegar for dressing and the sauteed form in curries. For best results try vegetable rennet to curdle the milk at boiling point and simmer for a while before turning off the flame. We can also get ready made packaged paneer from both orgainised and the unorganised sector here.

  6. I regret to say I also don't have the commitment, passion and love of hard work to make myself (and Jenny) more self-sufficient. We still find the supermarkets and excellent local greengrocers so convenient.

    We love halloumi and certainly it would be a lot cheaper to make it ourselves. Ditto paneer, which we have from time to time.

    We also watched The Good life, but oddly it never inspired us to dreams of self-sufficiency. I think at that time we just saw Tom and Barbara as rather quaint and dotty, though we'd be more appreciative nowadays.

  7. Also at that time (it must have been the re-runs) we were living in a garden-less flat in London, so there was very little scope for growing our own!

  8. nick,
    tom and barbara probably just made me aware of the possibility, i wouldnt have thought any more about it if i wasnt that way inclined.i think it ties in partly with being anti capitalist/ consumerist

  9. Well done on your first cheese Kylie! I bet it tasted delicious.


  10. hi gav!
    it needed a bit more salt but otherwise it was great! i used your you tube video and followed it through :)


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