Friday, 18 May 2012

Melton cheese festival

Last weekend was the Melton Artisan Cheese festival. The £1 entry was definitely worth it, about forty vendors, offering tasters of a huge range of cheeses.

After a round of the venue we each picked our favourites, I opted for Coquetdale, a great chedder.

We also picked up some Stichelton (I think that is spelt right), a blue cheese that passed the taste test of an ex stilton maker.

There were a couple of non cheese vendors, some chocolate, UK sourced wine, pork pies, cake and a couple of ciders. This box of cider came home with us. I preferred the sparkling but the OH liked the still.

There was an excellent fruit cake made by Dickinson and Morris (the pork pie people). It is called Melton Hunt cake and is amazing. Unfortunately I can't find a recipe anywhere and didn't pick any up. I will have to find a recipe that looks similar and tweak it.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Candle making

Ages ago we bought the biggest candle you have ever seen from Ikea. I kid you not, this thing was more than a foot across and had seven wicks. Once it had burnt down (and been slightly melted at the side by leaving it too close to the fire) there was a lot of wax left. It seemed like a waste to just bin it.

The giant wax chunk was chopped into chunks. This stuff is suprisingly hard. The process involved a saw and a blow torch, no pictures of this as I am certain it is not a recommended method!

Supplies for remaking the candles came from ebay. I picked up wick cord and a pack of sustainers rather than the premade ones. It was cheaper and you can have the wick any length. You just use pliers to trap the end of the cord in the sustainer.

Plastic candle moulds were a good price so I picked up some of those, I used a couple of old jam jars too. A light spray with olive oil stopped the candles sticking. On reflection wick pins sound like a good idea, getting the wicks to stay straight and centered without them was a bit fiddly. If I make another order I would pick some up.

I weighed the wax chunk and put it to melt.

The wax took FOREVER to melt (ok, obviously not forever but a long time). The easy melt wax beads you can buy seem like a much better idea at this point, but the idea was to use up the leftover wax. It is doable it just takes time.

Once it was melted I added beeswax pellets (ten percent of the weight of the other wax).

Using a jug to melt the wax makes pouring into moulds fairly easy. Some of the wax had a little vanilla fragrance oil stirred in before pouring to make scented candles.

Once cooled the candles were taken out of the moulds and the wicks trimmed.

I did find that as they cooled the candles sunk quite a bit near the wick. Not sure what to do about this. Not a problem for ones being used but they look a little odd so not ideal for gifts. Letting the wax cool a little before pouring might help.