Easy Homemade Ricotta and a Herbed Ricotta Recipe

I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, and recently I've been on a bit of a mission to buy as little packaged food as possible, which has meant that my cooking repertoire has greatly expanded. My motivation for this is two-fold. Firstly, I don't like the environmental impact of buying processed and packaged foods, and secondly, I like the creativity involved in making up recipes and trying to cook new things, plus home cooking is generally healthier and a lot more rewarding. 

I've been experimenting with granola, gnocchi, fettuccine, and my most recent feat has been ricotta. Like most things, it was so much easier than expected. Truth be told my first attempt was a bit of a fail, I didn't heat the milk up to be hot enough, and then didn't leave it to simmer long enough once the lemon juice was added. However, I was able to start again with the same milk, make a few tweaks and end up with a pretty perfect (in my humble opinion) end product. Even with doing this process twice, the whole thing took less than 1 hour, and the second (good) batch only took around 20 minutes.  

I used this recipe from Taste, with a few minor adjustments. 

 So simple, all you need is milk, salt and lemon juice! 

So simple, all you need is milk, salt and lemon juice! 

What you need: 

2 litres milk

1 teaspoon of salt

1/3 - 1/2 C lemon juice

What you do: 

Place the milk and salt in a large pan and heat on the stove over medium heat. When it is lightly boiling add the lemon juice and lightly stir it in. Leave on the heat for another 2-4 minutes or until the milk has split. 

 This is what the milk looks like when it's splitting. 

This is what the milk looks like when it's splitting. 

Take off heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Once cool enough, drain through a sieve in to a second pot or container. Let the ricotta sit for a couple of minutes, then voila you have made your very own fresh ricotta!

But whey-t a second, what about all the left over whey? After a quick google search I found plenty of consumable and garden uses for whey, this is a quite exhaustive list. I decided to make this Swedish whey butter called Messmor, but please note: this is a time consuming process!   

Herbed Ricotta 

What you need:

1/2 cup (or slightly more) fresh ricotta 

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 clove garlic

about 2 sprigs of each fresh dill, parsley and coriander

generous amount of cracked pepper and salt to taste

What to do: 

Finely chop herbs and garlic. Combine fresh ricotta, lemon juice, herbs and garlic in a bowl. Mix until evenly distributed, and finish with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy as a spreadable cheese, as a dip with vegetables, in pasta, or as a delicious toast topper. 

 Delicious herbed ricotta on toast with avocado and a poached egg. 

Delicious herbed ricotta on toast with avocado and a poached egg.