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Memories of Notre Dame

Sadly, memories and photos are all the world will have of the French Gothic glory that was Notre-Dame de Paris — at least for quite some time. Restoration and rebuilding will take many years in the wake of the catastrophic fire of 15 April. At this point, it appears that firefighters were able to save the main building, although the roof and spire are gone. These photos were taken last August and the building’s exterior looked magnificent, the details of its ancient stonework clear to see after the recent cleaning.

Rear view showing the spire, now gone.

Front view with the two towers.

The west rose window, dating to around 1255.

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Bubbles, Burrata and Bocconcini

 

Last Friday evening I did something very out of the ordinary: I made cheese! It was a “Bubbles Burrata and Bocconcini Cheese Making Class“, held at Tramsheds in Sydney and led by a cheesemaker from Omnon Cheese Making. I don’t know if the lure is the bottomless bubbly or the cheese making, but either way they are on to a good thing here; it’s a popular event and often sells out.

The setting. Tramsheds was originally a (wait for it) tram shed and depot, then empty, now revitalised as a collection of eateries.

First steps: add the citric acid to the milk, and warm it. Remove from heat, stir in the rennet, and let it sit.

 

Okay, so at this point it’s not especially appealing.

Time for a drink!

Bottomless indeed.

Cut and drain the curds, and this is what you get. (The curds had been prepared for us to this stage; very sensible, as bottomless bubbles, heat and precise measurements probably don’t mix well.)

A big bowl of curds.

Then it’s time to take out the frustrations of the day on the poor defenseless curds. Mash them with your hands until they fall apart and surrender.

Near-boiling water is then poured over the curds, and as you agitate gently the mass (mess?) starts to come together. Gather it all up in your hands. The contents of the bowl are very hot at this stage, which is why we all wore two or three layers of rubber gloves.

Still none too appetising …

A miracle happens as you stretch and fold it; the gloppy, stringy stuff becomes glossy and stretchy. (Mine never stretched this much, I admit!) This is why fresh Mozzarella (not the block stuff) can be pulled apart in layers.

 

I learned at this event that Bocconcini is just Mozzarella in small balls, and Burrata is a sort of stuffed Mozzarella pocket tied off with a knot. My attempt at Burrata was a misshapen lump that leaked. 😦

 

Now it was our turn to mash our curds, stretch and fold the cheese, and pinch off balls. First, though, it was time for a refill!

This bowl holds the far-from-perfect results of my two friends and me. More blobs than balls, but as the instructor said, they will melt just as well on pizza and will still taste yummy!

From the state of the table, you can guess that this was a messy process.

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The last spike is a bristle

This is one of the many bristly brushes used over the decades (quite a few by me!) to scrub the wooden decks on the tall ships Tenacious (seen here) and Lord Nelson (there’s a photo of ‘Nellie’ in the gallery below).

sailing-badge


March’s square theme is Spiky Squares (spiky, jagged, pointy, bristly, serrated, prickly, spiny, and/or barbed). As always with a Square challenge, thanks are due to Becky for hosting and keeping us all in touch.
Here’s a round-up (square-up?) of my offerings for the past month: