Outlander on Starz Rent

Homemade Crowdie Cheese - Outlander on STARZ Episode 105 "Rent"

Mission accomplished! Claire is out from behind the castle walls, and off with the lads to collect the rents and "attend to a wee bit of business here and there." (TV Dougal can be so damn ominous.)

Along for the ride with Claire and the MacKenzies is an old book favourite of mine, Ned Gowan. Gentleman Ned, an adventurous solicitor originally from Edinburgh, looks after all of the MacKenzies' legal requirements, including the recording of rent monies and their equivalents.

In place of coins, Ned will take bags of grain or turnips, well-trussed fowl, perhaps even a goat. On no account, however, will he take a live pig, which seems pretty reasonable to this semi-rural girl, who has hopped the gate of a pig pen just in time on more than one occasion.

Homemade Crowdie Cheese

Another common currency accepted as rent in the Highlands was cheese, specifically crowdie.

Scotland’s most ancient cheese, crowdie dates back to Viking and Pictish settlements. At one time, every crofter in the Highlands made it by souring freshly skimmed milk beside a warm fire then cooking gently until it curdled. The whey was drained away, leaving a crumbly white cheese.

Homemade Crowdie Cheese curdled copy

Now, because most of us no longer have access to raw (unpasteurized) milk, and the fact that modern food-safety sensibilities would result in hives on many if I asked you to leave the milk out of the fridge to develop into a bacteria bath overnight, we're going to change up the process a little bit for our homemade crowdie.

I've made a number of unripened cheeses in my time; most of the world's cultures have at least one variety. Paneer from India, Mascarpone from Italy and Queso Fresco from Mexico, just to name a few. They all use acid, in the form of vinegar or lemon juice, to curdle the milk and separate the curds from the whey.

Their processes result in cheeses with similar textures to, and the fresh taste of, crowdie (which I have tasted on multiple occasions). Just as important, they're made with ingredients and tools that most of us have on hand.

Sounds like a winning Outlander Kitchen recipe to me!

Homemade Crowdie Cheese strain

If you're interested in a dairy that still makes crowdie using traditional methods, check out Connage Highland Dairy. I have had the pleasure of devouring two of their Organic Cheese Boxes whilst on vacation in the Highlands in 2011, and again in 2013.

Holy cow, they make great cheese.

Other Outlander Kitchen recipes that pair with Episode 105:  Rent

Homemade Crowdie Cheese hanging copy

If you have access to raw milk, by all means use it! I suspect you'll get a better yield than the rest of us using pasteurized milk from the grocery store.

Embrace your inner crofter and make some crowdie. Who knew you could make your own cheese easily in under 2 hours?

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