Skull Gang Foraging Club: Cordula’s Tits

Categorised as GENERAL.

Every week the Skull Gang Foraging Club go on a loose adventure in the pursuit of culinary satisfaction, passing on everything from how to pick mushrooms, pagan apple blessing and the odd recipe. This week Sam milks a goat and makes cheese with the spoils.

Goats are pretty rad. They are bad tempered, they smell, and they taste good in kebabs. I saw a video of a goat yelling like a man once. They pulled Thor’s chariot. The Greek God Pan had the lower body of a goat. He got heaps of nymph babes. Goat is one of those words that looks wrong the more you read it.

Goat. Goat. Goat. Goat. Goat. Goat.

But the best thing about goats is that they give us goat’s cheese.

Most good things in life are cheese related, and goat’s cheese is right up there at the top of the smelly pile. Even better, goat’s cheese is relatively simple to make. All you need is a lactating goat and a coagulating agent to separate the milk into curds (solids) and whey (liquid).

I know that you’re raising your eyebrows right now and thinking, “I don’t have either of those things, dickhead”. But you would be wrong.

The traditional method of separating the curds and whey in cheese making is to add rennet. Rennet is found in the stomach of calves, but any juvenile mammal will do. Its natural function is to break down mother’s milk.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to steal and slaughter a baby cow in order to harvest rennet. Natural rennet can be made from the common stinging nettle. It’s kind of just like making tea.

Bring 1 litre of water to the boil with a heaped tablespoon of salt.
Add enough nettles so that they are just covered with water, put a lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
Drain off the liquid and discard the nettles.
1 cup of liquid will curdle 4 litres of milk.

If, like right now, outside is covered in snow and the temperature is a good 5 degrees below freezing then you can just use something acidic, like lemon juice or vinegar.

Finding a goat to milk is a bit harder.

Goats lactate like crazy. On average they produce around 3 litres of milk a day, and can keep producing long after the kids are weaned. Sometimes they don’t even need to have kids. Fuck, even boy goats have been know to lactate. A fat kid on my bus used to be able to do that. Only once a day though, he had to let it refill. It was super disgusting.

There was a time when London was flush with goats. It was flush with disease and pestilence as well, so don’t get too teary eyed and nostalgic. Still, with this Whole Foods branded renaissance in natural foods it shouldn’t be too hard to get hold of goat’s milk in the capital. And there is always the Internet.

But this is the Skull Gang, so we found a goat. I can’t really say where. Her name was Cordula. She was from Guernsey. She had golden hair and a thing for bananas. My hands were cold, but she didn’t mind. I put her head in a vice and went straight for the tits.

I’m assuming that most of you city folk have never milked a goat. Neither had I. It was so fucking weird.

Making the cheese was a piece of cake.

Heat 1 litre of fresh goat’s milk to around body temperature (38 degrees Celsius).

I didn’t have a candy thermometer, so I just used my finger. If the temperature feels neutral, not too hot or cold, then you should be pretty close. Alternatively, buy a thermometer.

Add ¼ of a cup of lemon juice (or the same amount of nettle rennet) slowly to the warmed milk. Use a strainer to keep the seeds out.

Stir for a few seconds more. By now the milk should have started to curdle.

Leave to sit for around 20 minutes.

While the lemon juice/nettle rennet does its work, line a colander with cheesecloth. I didn’t have any so I ‘foraged’ a leopard print shawl. Use cheesecloth.

Place the colander over a large bowl.

Add the now separated curds and whey to the colander. The whey will pass through into the bowl, leaving behind the cheesy goodness in your cloth.

Tie the corners of the cloth off to form a little pouch. Hang this somewhere, with the bowl underneath to catch the remaining whey.

You can leave it to drain overnight, but the longer it drains the drier and crumblier it will get. I pulled mine after about 3 hours to ensure it was nice and creamy.

Fold through some salt if you want, then spoon into an airtight container and put it in the fridge. If you used nettle rennet, the salt in that recipe should come through in the cheese.

Eat it on things. Obviously.

More from the Skull Gang here.

Words:
Samuel Davis

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