I have been very happy and fortunate to have Maleny Dairies as my sponsor during the year. It's my local dairy and every time I drive past the rolling hills that surround the dairy, I see the grazing Guernsey cows in the sunshine, happily converting grass into the best milk I've ever tasted. I feel very strongly about good milk. It's what we give Jamie and Alex to drink when they're here and we use it to make a wide variety of things, including cakes and yoghurt. It makes a difference to the taste of a finished product if you start off using the best ingredients you can afford.
Hanno and I would like to thank the Hopper family for their support and sponsorship during the year. Every time we've been to the dairy to pick up milk, the staff have been friendly and oh so helpful. So Merry Christmas to the Hopper family, Maleny Dairies staff, and to my contact, Suzie.
Drinking Maleny Dairies milk transports me back to the days before the over-processing of food and drinks that we often come across nowadays. But the dairy produces more than just milk. They have good wholesome plain and flavoured yoghurt, custard, cream, as well as a variety of milks such as skim milk, flavoured milk, full cream milk and my personal favourite, non-homogenised milk. Non-homogenised milk is as close to old fashioned milk as you're likely to get, unless you keep your own cows. It's the milk that is only pasteurised and then bottled and chilled and when you leave it sit in the bottle, the cream rises to the top. Delicious.
Over the Christmas holidays Maleny Dairies will be closed 25, 26 and 27 of December. The rest of the school holidays will be normal operating hours. If you're visiting our local region over Christmas, I recommend you book a tour of the dairy to see the cows in the paddocks, the bottling plant, the baby calves and much more. If you're lucky you may even be able to bottle feed one of the calves. It's such a treat for city children to see nature up close like this. I'm sure your children will enjoy themselves as much as you do. I've been told there will be baby pigs and goats at the dairy over the holidays as well so that just another reason to visit when you can. For more information about the tours, go here.
No doubt, like most of us, you'll be busy over the Christmas period so I thought I'd give you a couple of easy recipes, using Maleny Diaries custard and yoghurt, that might make things easier for you.
CUSTARD ICE BLOCKS
This developed last summer when Jamie was visiting. I made up homemade ice blocks using custard and they were a real hit. Just use your ice block shapes and pour in Maleny Diaries custard. You can vary the taste by adding fresh fruit such as banana or blueberries or frozen fruit like frozen berries or peaches. They make up the most delicious ice blocks that the kids love.
CHILLI YOGHURT DIP
And one for the adults - a tasty dip to add to your board along with strips of fresh carrot and celery, slices of radish or capsicum/peppers. Into a small bowl, pour in one cup of plain Maleny Dairies yoghurt, 2 tablespoons chilli sauce, 2 tablespoons fresh finely chopped chives, add salt and pepper to taste. Make this up about two hours before it's needed to allow the flavours to develop well. If the dip is too runny, pour it into a colander covered with muslin and allow it to drain for an hour or two, in the fridge. This is delicious served with the fresh vegetables or with crackers.
If you're not sure where to buy Maleny Dairies products, check out the map here and enter your postcode. More and more stores are stocking this premium product now and hopefully there is a stockist near you.