25 November 2013

Full marks for zero milk miles cheese

There are probably not many dairy farms on the edge of London, just inside the M25 and we think this is one of the things that makes Lewis of London particularly special.

The business at Fold Farm, near Barnet, dates back to 1962 and has been a family concern ever since.
Lewis of London is now run by brothers Rhys, Owen and Daniel Lewis who have created a true field-to-tub real dairy ice cream. Not all the milk goes into ice cream, we discovered, when they asked us to try some of their cheese.

With a chunk of ricotta and halloumi to take back to the AFT Kitchen this set the culinary cogs in motion and we came up with a couple of good ways to use the cheeses.

Photo: © childsdesign
Technically, ricotta isn’t actually a cheese. Originating in Italy it is made from the whey left from regular cheese production. Ricotta literally means ‘re-cooked’. The whey will still contain some protein and when the liquid is left to ferment for one or two days and then heated to near boiling this causes the protein to separate out to form a fine soft curd which is then strained through a cloth.

Lewis of London’s ricotta is made from cow’s milk, pure white in colour with a clean, sweet flavour and creamy texture. Initially it feels a little drier than the ricotta you find in tubs in the shops, but the mouth-feel is very pleasing and just melts away.

Photo: © childsdesign
We found it cooks well too when we made this Ricotta, Lemon & Raisin Tart. The ricotta beats well into a luscious consistency allowing it to combine well with the other ingredients. The result was rich but light at the same time.
In its plain state it was a great addition to our Autumn Salad.

Traditionally, Halloumi is from Cyprus and often made with sheep’s milk, but it can be made with cow’s milk as with the Lewis of London product.

Halloumi is a ‘magic’ cheese in that it does not melt when heated. It will soften significantly but keep its shape and when grilled or fried takes on a lovely golden-brown exterior. This is due to the low acid content.

Photo: © childsdesign
We decided to fry ours to top this salad. It has a lovely milky flavour and you’d swear you could taste all that lovely green grass, buttercups and daisies of Barnet’s pastures on which the cows graze.
There is just the right amount of saltiness too and the little squeak as the cheese cools when you chew.

We are pleased to award Lewis of London our 'Artisan Food Trail Approved' status for their Ricotta Cheese and Halloumi Cheese.

To find out more about Lewis of London visit their page on The Artisan Food Trail here

Other reading
An interesting article from September 2013 that appeared in nfu online here: www.nfuonline.com/about-us/our-offices/east-anglia/latest-news/the-dairy-farmers-aiming-for-capital-growth/

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