Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Missing the Cream in the butter

If there is one thing that is missing in Marlborough then it is the lack of a local diary or milk factory. We still have vibrant milk industry that delivers by truck to Christchurch everyday and then it is processed and trucked back to us the following. As with all things in all regions it takes years time to build up localism and confidence in local food distribution but only a matter of a couple of boardroom decisions to take all of that away.

I am prepared to take a bet, put my hand up, be the first customer and  official taste tester (somebody has to)  for locally made Butter or Yoghurt from milk produced in Marlborough. In fact why stop there – I will personally cook a 10 course degustation (not devastation !) dinner and provide the wine to the first company or business people that sets up a commercial diary. There is something special about tasting something that you know has not been churned through the giant industrial machines of modern food production systems. I am not saying lets go back one hundreds years ago and be total self sufficient in all of our hunting, gathering and foraging – but lets have the choice, from our region or from far away

People said it would not happen, people said that it could not be done, people said that it was on the wrong day, in the wrong place, to windy, to hot, to cold, to short, not big enough and not enough choice. I think that the Jennie Crums and Sandra Morrits of the world should take a bow, they knew that nine years ago that if you support the people in your community, they in turn would support you – you need to lead by example, not by what people cant do, but by what communities can do. If you need proof that our region is ready to have a commercial diary operation then just go to the Farmers' market where you will find thousands of Hungry Localvores hunting, gathering and foraging ever Sunday morning from 9 am to 12 noon sampling the very best of what our region has to offer

Home-made butter

double cream (it is easier to make butter with older cream)


  1. Take the cream out of the fridge and let it warm to room temperature for about half an hour.
    2. Pour enough cream into a jam jar (choose the largest jar you can comfortably hold) to come a third of the way up the sides. You need to leave plenty of airspace so the cream can really move around.
    3. Screw on the lid tightly. Now shake the jar up and down and all around so that the cream bounces against the lid. It is important not to stop shaking until the butter starts to form.
    4. First you will feel the cream slop around in the jar, then you will notice that it stops slopping and goes silent. At this stage you just have whipped cream. Keep shaking. Pretend you're playing the maracas! It may take ten minutes or it may take half an hour.
    5. All of a sudden the sound and the sensation will change. You'll have a big lump sloshing around in a thin, watery liquid. The lump is your butter and the liquid is buttermilk. Carefully open the lid and take a look inside.
    6. Now you have to wash your butter under the cold tap. Drain the buttermilk off into a mug and fill the jam jar with cold water. Swirl the lump of butter around in the water and pour the water carefully away. Do this again and again until the water is clear.
    7. Put the butter lump on the board and press down on it with the back of a wooden spoon (or use your hands) to force out any buttermilk still inside. This is important, as any buttermilk left inside it will make it go sour.
    8. You can now mould your butter into a shape, wrap it in greaseproof paper and keep it in the fridge, or eat it straight away. Perfect to spread on thickly cut Debrood bakery bread


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