Locally Sourced Pesto: the Cheeses

I did a little research into cheese making and they need starter cultures. Starter cultures are basically

  • specific bacterial mediums that are introduced to
  • milk from specific breeds of cattle
  • in one of it’s forms (butter, cream, whey, curds or raw milk)
  • to produce a specific dairy product (eg. yogurt, brie, buttermilk, Pecorino Fiore Sardo).

What this means is that it is near impossible to make, for instance Pecorino Sardo, like they do in Italy without the Pecorino Sardo starter culture and milk from a Sardinian sheep.

Now, I can buy the starter culture, from Italy online, but I’d have to be incredibly careful about storage so it’s not contaminated by other microbes which may affect flavour, texture and milk to cheese success rate. Also I’d need to do a little more research into the carbon cost of small shipments to individuals vs big ones to stores before deciding if this is more environmental trouble than it’s worth. Alas, our Fish Poop Basil Leaves are anxious to get pesto-ed so this I’ll leave for another day.

To start off, I decided to try making a substitute for Fiore Sardo that’s local and get a block of Parmigiano Reggiano from the supermarket. I went to Jaya Grocers and chose an aged one from Italy that had no preservatives.

RM 34 for 170g at Jaya Grocer, Empire, Subang.

Now for the fun part 🙂

Young Pecorino Fiore Sardo is suppose to taste milky and almost sweet. That reminded me of Paneer! So I googled Goat’s Milk Cheese and *drum roll*


Shobee’s Goat’s Milk Cheese!

Also known as Chevre in french.
On the left: Plain Goat Cheese
On the right: Mixed with organic Garlic and Rosemary.

This was my draining set up

Wah! So engineer one!
A cloth tea strainer with a metal frame, inside it, a perah santan bag and underneath it, a bowl to catch the whey. The big mineral bottle is on the cloth strainers metal handle (it held the weight of 3 liters worth of curds).

It was soooo easy and the cheese is amazing! Almost meaty texture… I dropped chunks of it in the Quiche for Thursday’s Lush Lunch. The whey is also great! I’m using it like a broth and substituting it for water in my baking and cooking.

Bottom line: If you can make tea, you can make this cheese. For 2 – 3 hours of light labour (mostly standing around and waiting) I get cheese AND whey! This is going to be a kitchen staple.

Cost: RM 140

Reccuring – About RM 100 (RM 90 for 4.5 litres of Raw Goat’s Milk, RM 2.50 for 1.5 Lemons, Petrol, Cooking Gas)

One time – RM 40 (RM 10 for Strainer and Santan bag, RM 30 for Thermometer)

Time: About 10 hours spread over the week (Researching, Acquiring Ingredients and Equipment, Making the Cheese)

Next week’s Lush Lunches will feature Shobee’s Selangorian Celup Pesto!

Place your order’s today!


Locally Sourced Pesto: Fresh Sweet Basil

Pesto is a must have in my kitchen. It’s versatile, uber healthy, tasty and incredibly easy to make. I learnt how to make it in Genoa, Italy from my Couchsurfing host’s housemate. As simple as pounding 5 ingredients together to form a glorious paste, I call it, Italian Chutney 😛

The 5 basic ingredients are:

  • A herb: usually basil or spinach
  • An oil: usually the highest quality of olive oil from Liguria
  • A sheep/ goat cheese: usually Parmigiano Romano, Pecorino Fiore Sardo or an aged Parmesan
  • A nut: usually pine nuts or walnuts
  • Some seasoning: usually garlic, salt and pepper

Today we’ll talk about sourcing for fresh basil, specifically fresh sweet basil. Last week, I considered the following options:

Kawan/Komuniti punya Garden

This source would have the highest trust capital because I’d have access to the plants life story. Also it’s the perfect excuse to hangout-berhangout. Things needed: Muka tebal, Faith and a Green Community

Orang Awam punya Garden

I’d trust this second because there is a high chance I can have access to their gardenning practices and they eat their own produce (also hidup rakyat!). Unfortunately there was only one home grower for Sweet Basil on mudah.com.my and she no time to layan me 🙁

Fan! Why you no get back to me? 🙁 Hope your trip was fun…

Commercial Nurseries and Farms

Businesses that operate with profit driven success markers are the least likely to care about me or the beings they profit from is my base assumption. Naturally, this was my last resort. This time I didn’t have to delve into this option because…

Peoples of the Web, we have been bestowed with:

Poptani’s Fish Poop Sweet Basil!

“To mulch or munch?” Ashaari, my kawan, flavour testing the Basil in his Fish Poop Garden.

Our Sweet Basil has retired from water purification to be either mulch or a munch.

Time: 2 hours scattered over 1 week.

Cost: Petrol and 1 bottle of Shobee’s Selangorian Pesto for Poptani.


Coming Soon: Shobee’s Selangorian Pesto

The Art of Sustenance is Born

Dear Humans of the Internet,

This has been in the brain works for a year now (ok, let’s be real, waaay longer than that) my anxieties and then depression held me back. Now Mother Necessity has lit a fire under my fanny 😛

I really need to get out of this web of consumerism we have cocooned ourselves in. I can’t deal with the anxieties that come with a complete dependence on a capitalist system. The Art of Sustenance is a chronicle of my adventures delving into sustainable and guilt-free living in Malaysia.

I’ve been consciously exploring sources of Mental, Spiritual, Physical and Emotional sustenance with my community for sometime now. It’s reached a point where my muse has no more patience for my fears so with this post I dive into my sea of possibilities.

Here’s to growths and growth pains!




A Laxmi of Most Trades