Category Archives: yoghurt

EasiYo yoghurt maker

EasiYo Yoghurt Maker

Sometimes the stars shine down on you. I have wanted to try making my own yoghurt for ages and over Christmas I was looking at getting a yoghurt maker, but I wasn’t sure it would be worth the investment. Then I get an email asking if I would like to review an EasiYo yoghurt maker. It arrived and I have been playing with it and perfecting the art of making my own yoghurt. Actually you don’t need to do that as you can buy a powdered yoghurt that makes the whole process easy. These powdered yoghurts comes in lots of flavours, including strawberries and cream and pineapple with coconut bits and full instructions for making the yoghurt are given on the sachets. However, if you are a regular reader of these pages you will know that a powdered yoghurt is not really me.

So I have been making yoghurt the traditional way with milk and a live yoghurt culture. Whilst you could do this in a thermos flask, the EasiYo yoghurt maker does make it easier and all I have to wash up is the plastic container that I have made the yoghurt in, rather than a thermos, which I always have trouble getting scrupulously clean (from experience bicarb is the way to go by the way). So in answer to my own question over Christmas then yes, I think it is worth making the investment to buy a yoghurt maker. You can see the full range and buy your own yoghurt maker from the EasiYo online shop.

Bear in mind that when you are culturing milk, hygiene is important. Make sure your pan, thermometer and the plastic container are clean and as a precaution I rinse them all with boiling water.

By making yoghurt this way you can choose the milk that you like best, whether that is whole, semi-skimmed or skimmed, organic or if you can get it raw milk from your local farmer.

Unhomogenised milk is always better than homogenised when making dairy products as it has the fat globules intact. The homogenisation process forces the fat globules through very small holes breaking them up under pressure and the surface area of the fat globules increases to such a degree that they can’t bond back together, meaning that the cream is dispersed evenly through the milk. Unhomogenised has that lovely creamy layer at the top and adds an extra richness to your yoghurt.

Once you have chosen your milk then you just need a starter pot of yoghurt and it needs to be a live yoghurt. The one I use didn’t have “live yoghurt” listed on the pot but it is a pot of plain greek style yoghurt and works well as a starter culture.

You need to heat the milk to almost boiling point (85°c). This will improve the chances of your yoghurt not having the wrong bacteria in it and it will improve the texture, making it richer and smoother. Heating milk unfolds its proteins enabling them to stick to the fat globules and to each other. Heating your milk slowly is always better for the finished yoghurt. Give the milk a gentle stir regularly through the gentle heating process.

Then you need to cool your milk to finger hot (47°c). It is best to do this slowly, by taking it off the heat and giving it a gentle stir from time to time.

It is also better if your yoghurt starter has been out of the fridge and is up to room temperature, otherwise the temperature of your milk will drop quickly and your yoghurt will take longer to get going.

500ml milk
3 tbsp live yoghurt (brought out of the fridge a couple of hours before so that is close to room temperature)

You also need a milk pan, a thermometer and an EasiYo yoghurt maker

Method
Pour the milk into a pan and place over a gentle heat. Place a thermometer in the milk and heat gently to 85°c. Take the milk off the heat and leave to cool to 47°c. Stir the yoghurt into the milk until well combined.

Put your kettle on to boil. Pour boiling water into the EasiYo container that sits inside the insulated container to sterilise. Tip this water into the insulated container to the level indicated on the side. Pour the milk and yoghurt mixture into the plastic container and seal the lid,  then sit it inside the insulated container and put the lid on. Leave to ferment for about 8 hours until the yoghurt has thickened. If you leave it for longer it will be thicker and stronger tasting. When it is how you like it just place the container in the fridge and it will be ready to eat once it has cooled.

I like my yoghurt thick like Greek yoghurt so after it has had eight hours fermentation I pour it into a sieve lined with muslin (or you could use a clean tea towel) and sit it over a bowl until it has drained to the consistency I prefer. It doesn’t take long to do this. Then I place my finished yoghurt in the fridge.

Remember to keep 3 tbsps back for your next batch of homemade yoghurt.

Disclaimer: I was sent an Easiyo yoghurt maker for review purposes. This review is based on my own experience and honest opinions and does not contain any text given to me by the PR agency that sent me the yoghurt maker. 

Homemade yoghurt

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Pea and cos salad – the return

A few weeks ago I posted about my efforts to recreate the pea and cos salad we had on our wedding day.  Well here is another version of that salad, and this is a bit closer to the original. I have made this a couple of times in the last couple of weeks – well you can never have too much of good thing, surely? The recipe is an adaptation of one given to my mum by a very good friend who was a guest at our wedding and knows how much we loved it. The original recipe calls for mayonnaise and then adds Dijon mustard, vinegar and sour cream.  However, as I make my own mayonnaise which already has mustard and vinegar in it, I don’t add these as an extra and I replace the sour cream with yoghurt, as I always have a pot of that in the house. If you are using mayonnaise out of a jar though feel free to add a little mustard and vinegar to spike things up a bit.

I promise this will be the last version I post, I don’t want to risk boring you.

Feel free to add parmesan shavings too.

For the mayonnaise:
1 whole egg
pinch of Colman’s mustard powder
small clove of garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
100ml of oil ( a mild olive oil or half and half of olive oil and ground nut oil, depending on your taste)
1 tsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice

Method for mayonnaise

Place the egg, mustard powder, crushed garlic and salt and pepper in a food processor and whizz until combined.  With the motor running, pour the oil in a steady and gentle stream through the funnel of the processor until the mixture is emulsified and thick.  I tend to use around 100ml of oil, but it may need more or else so be guided by your own judgement. Add the vinegar or lemon juice and whizz again.  Check the seasoning and add more salt, pepper or vinegar/lemon juice to taste.

For the salad:
Homemade mayonnaise (as above)
150g greek yoghurt, or thick natural yoghurt
a good handful of mint, finely chopped
peas (I use frozen and as many handfuls as I think I need)
lettuce of some description

Method for salad

Combine the mayonnaise and the yoghurt and add the chopped mint. Cook the peas in boiling water for a minute or two, then drain and rinse under cold water until cool.  Add to the mayonnaise mixture.  Arrange the salad leaves on a plate and dollop over the pea mixture.

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Pea and cos salad

When Mr OC and I wed, we had a wonderful caterer who really put on a very fine spread.  Everything was delicious, but one of the things that really stood out from the rest was the wonderful pea and cos salad.  I have since tried to recreate this on many occasions and I admit that I don’t think I am quite there yet.  I think crème fraîche and parmesan were involved somewhere along the line.

However, the other day I saw a cos lettuce for sale and so bought it, but then promptly forgot to purchase either crème fraîche or parmesan ( I blame shopping with two small children for my terrible ability to go out for a pint of milk and return with a pot of basil and a piece of steak, but no milk, but I don’t really think they are to blame).  So I had a go with what I had in the fridge and the garden and although it doesn’t reach the sublime level of the salad of our wedding day it is really nice, especially with a good roast chicken or a slab of rare steak.

I will keep trying with my recreation of the original recipe, so you may well see another recipe for this appearing at some point in the future.  However, for now, here is a version.  If you do have some parmesan in the fridge then shave some over just before serving, and feel free to replace the yoghurt with crème fraîche.  I promise to try harder next time I go shopping.

1 head of cos lettuce, washed and dried
3 or 4 handfuls of frozen or fresh peas, boiled until tender (2 or 3 minutes in boiling water)

150g Total greek yoghurt
handful of fresh mint, chopped
juice of ½ lemon
salt and pepper

Method

Arrange the washed salad leaves on a platter and artfully pour over the peas.  Mix together the yoghurt, chopped mint and lemon juice and season to taste and dollop over the peas and lettuce.

Dig in and enjoy!

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Tomato, basil and yoghurt dip

Spring has nearly sprung.  We have had some really spring-filled days in the last week or so, with blue cloudless skies and a watery sun.  The washing has been hung outside to dry, bringing the fresh smell back in with it.  It’s a sign of the times to come, or at least we hope it is. This change in the weather inspired me to make something that tastes of the summer and nothing reminds us more of summer than our oven dried tomatoes that were from our bursting at the seams polytunnel last summer.  This dip was taken down to my parents’ house as part of a shared meal and it was really very tasty and it will be made again and again, I am sure of it.

It used up the last of the Total yoghurt – well they did give me a batch with a decent shelf life.

1 garlic clove, crushed
2-3 tbsp oven dried (or sun-dried) tomatoes in oil
3 tbsp fresh basil leaves
200g Total Greek yoghurt
salt and pepper

Method

Blend the garlic, tomatoes and basil leaves in a food processor or blender, leaving them a little chunky, and mix with the yoghurt.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Cucumber and cumin dip

This post is very much related to the one about onion bhajis.  As regular readers will know Total Yoghurt have very kindly sent me a tray of samples  with which to cook.  So far I have made scones and buckwheat pancakes and this is recipe number three, giving the yoghurt centre stage.

This dip is a bit of a twist on a cucumber raita.  It’s not the time of year for mint in my garden and last year I failed to make my usual jar of mint concentrate and I refuse to pay the price of a pot from the supermarket when I have it rampant in my garden for most of the year.  So this is a winter version of a raita, replacing the fresh herb with a spice. It was very good and suited the onion bhajis perfectly.

200g Total Greek Yoghurt
8-10cm chunk of cucumber, diced
1½ tsp cumin seed

Method

Heat a frying pan over a medium heat until hot and add the cumin seed.  Cook for a few seconds until the smell is released.  Pour straight into a mortar and grind with the pestle to a rough powder (you still want the bite of the seed in there).

Mix the cucumber, yoghurt and cumin together and enjoy as a dip for crudites or bhajis or samosas, as a side for a curry or however you fancy eating such a delight.

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Cheese, herb and yoghurt scones

As a result of my membership of the UK Food Bloggers Association I found out that Total yoghurt were giving away a selection of their yoghurt in return for bloggers coming up with recipes that use yoghurt.  Having been a long-time fan of Total yoghurt I had to put my name forward for this one.  Sure enough a hefty delivery of yoghurt arrived, including the full-fat version, 2% and 0% fat, and even ones with corners of honey to drizzle straight into the waiting yoghurt pot.  My first foray into yoghurt cooking are these scones.  I have wanted to make soda scones (or indeed bread) with yoghurt instead of buttermilk for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity.  I had made minestrone soup and left it to simmer gently in the simmering oven of the Aga whilst I took the girls to the local play pit for an afternoon of racing around with their friends.  So, when we came in all I had to do was add the pasta, warm the soup bowls and make these scones to go with the soup.

They take very little time to make and are a delicious accompaniment to soup.  They were also good the next day, reheated and refreshed by a five-minute burst in the oven, and spread thickly with marmalade.

You could do almost endless variations of these; leaving them plain, or adding olives, chopped crispy bacon bits, chopped Peppadew peppers, your favourite herb or spice, or you could add currants and raisins for a fruity scone.

The addition of yoghurt made them more dense than I think they would have been had I used buttermilk (or milk with added lemon juice, if you don’t have any buttermilk, see my post on soda bread for an explanation) but I think in this case this was a bonus as it suited the minestrone soup perfectly.  You may not be quite so happy with your tea-time scone being this heavy, though.

I used half plain and half spelt flour as I love the nuttiness of the spelt, but you could use all plain flour for a lighter scone or use half plain and half wholemeal.  Feel free to experiment.

220g (8oz) plain flour
220g (8oz) spelt flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (bread soda or baking soda)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp dried thyme
50g (2oz) grated cheese (I used Red Leicester)
500g Total yoghurt
100ml milk
juice of ½ lemon

Method

Mix the flours and salt in a bowl and sieve in the soda.  Sprinkle in the thyme and the cheese and mix well with your hand to get it all evenly mixed.

In a jug or bowl, mix the yoghurt, milk and lemon juice and then pour this into the flour mixture.  Mix with your hand until combined.  Place on to a floured surface and roll to a depth of about 2-3 cm.  Using an 8cm cutter cut out scones with one tap.  Don’t turn the cutter or the scones will fail to rise. Try to do this as quickly as possible as you need to get these in the oven whilst the soda is still doing its magic. Place onto a floured baking tray and bake in a preheated oven at 220°c (gas mark 8) (or on the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga)  for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.   Allow to cool for five minutes, but they are best served warm, with lashings of good butter.

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Horseradish sauce

I roasted a rib of beef for sunday lunch this week and made this horseradish sauce to go with it.  I was impressed with its fresh and zingy taste, much nicer than anything that you can buy in a jar.  We only grew one root of horseradish in the garden this year and this is it, but we will definitely be making space in the garden for some more next year as it really is lovely to have a freshly made sauce.  The grating of the horseradish root does make your eyes stream though so be prepared. Making it with yoghurt rather than the usual cream means it is a lot healthier.  This means you can have more with none of the guilt.

2 tbsp horseradish root, grated finely
1 tsp white wine vinegar
150g greek yoghurt
salt and pepper to taste

Method
Place the grated horseradish into a bowl with the white wine vinegar and mix well, stir in the yoghurt and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill and serve with roast beef.

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