How to Make Natural Yoghurt

Natural yoghurt is one of nature’s wonders full of goodness and nutrients – and so very versatile an ingredient that it can be added to fruits, cereals, sauces, marinades, puddings, smoothies, mousses, stews, soups, dressings – the list is almost endless! And it’s easy to make at home with just a sample of each batch reserved back to make the next from, providing an appetite-suppressing, healthy standalone snack and recipe ingredient.

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Ingredients

500ml Milk (Skimmed used here and you can use any type)

25g Powdered milk

4 tbsps Low-fat natural yoghurt

Equipment:

1 x Cooking thermometer (jam preserving thermometer used here)

Dawn: I use so much natural yoghurt that I’m delighted to be able to share this recipe with you. And the health benefits of eating this creamy, slightly sharp tasting protein food are numerous including support of the immune system, less constipation, stomach acidity and diarrhoea; lower body fat; protection against food poisoning bugs; stronger bones and fresher breath. All in all, a versatile win-win fridge staple that you can keep making all-year-round – and for mere pennies rather than pounds!

Method

  • Put the milk in a saucepan on a medium heat and add the powdered milk, stirring it in.
  • Keep stirring the milk until you can see heat bubbles appear on the edges of the yoghurt mixture as it is warming up. Take the saucepan off the heat and using a cooking thermometer, test the yoghurt mixture to determine its temperature. Cool to 46°C and add the retained shop bought low-fat natural yoghurt, stirring this in until it is dissolved.

Dawn: Please make sure that you allow the milk to cool to 46°C before adding the reserved shop bought natural yoghurt because if the temperature is too high, you run the risk of the ingredients curdling. 

  • Pour the yoghurt mixture either into a warm thermos (vacuum) flask or a warm bowl, cover the bowl with cling film and leave the yoghurt mixture to set for about 8-9 hours or overnight in a warm place. If using the latter option, warming the bowl prior to adding the yoghurt mixture helps it ferment and then store it in a warm place afterwards.
  • After allowing the ingredients to ferment, the consistency should be not too firm but thickish and ready to store in a container in the fridge. Don’t pour off the watery-looking liquid that is the whey and packed full of protein but simply stir it into the creamy yoghurt as it’s part of it. The yoghurt will easily keep for about 5-7 days.

Dawn: Remember to keep some yoghurt back to make the next batch with. I’d also add that investing in a cooking thermometer really does help ensure that the yoghurt mixture is at the right temperature before you add the reserved natural yoghurt. Being at the right temperature stops the yoghurt mixture from curdling as I have learnt from experience! 

It goes without saying that the variety of milks that are available in the shops nowadays along with the different brands of powdered milks will all add a different taste and consistency to your homemade natural yoghurt. All will be equally nutritious and good for you. Happy yoghurt making!

For more thrifty and economical, tasty and easy to make food recipes, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and click “Follow” over on Twitter @Love_Food_UK for regular food chat as well as finding the cooking sensation over on Facebook (please pop across and ‘Like’ Love Food). Oh, not forgetting the fab MumsNet Bloggers Network and Foodies100, too! 

How to Make Buttercream

Buttercream is often used in baking and can be infused with flavour. It’s good for decorative purposes as well as offering a longevity that fresh cream fillings don’t.

Method

  • Use a ratio of 1:2 softened butter to icing sugar.
  • First, put the butter in a bowl and beat with a wooden spoon until it is soft.
  • Gradually add the icing sugar sifting it so as to prevent lumps from appearing.
  • Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. As the ingredients start to combine, they become easier to mix as the sugar dissolves into the butter.
  • Keep mixing the ingredients until they are light and fluffy –  you’ll know when the buttercream is ready because it becomes quite easy to mix.
  • At this point, you can add ingredients such as vanilla essence or cocoa powder (sifted) to compliment the recipe you are making.

For more cooking techniques along with economical, tasty and easy to make food recipes, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and click “Follow” over on Twitter @Love_Food_UK for regular food chat as well as finding the cooking sensation over on Facebook (please pop across and ‘Like’ Love Food). Oh, not forgetting the fab MumsNet Bloggers Network and Foodies100, too! 

How to Hull Strawberries

Hulling strawberries and other soft fruits offers a way to present the whole fruit in an attractive manner and adds to a dish’s presentation.

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Method

  • With a small, sharp paring knife hold a strawberry in your left hand. With the paring knife in your right (if right-handed or vice versa if left-handed), insert the tip of the knife around the base of the green stem.
  • Slowly and carefully, at an angle, circle the tip of the knife around the stem until you are back at the beginning where you initially inserted the knife. It helps to slowly turn the strawberry when doing this.
  • The stem should now come away from the strawberry.
  • Wash and dry the strawberries you are intending to use.

Dawn: The stem is called the calyx and hulling basically means its removal before cooking or serving. 

For more cooking and baking techniques, follow this blog – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and click “Follow” over on Twitter @Love_Food_UK for regular food chat as well as finding the cooking sensation over on Facebook (please pop across and ‘Like’ Love Food). Oh, not forgetting the fab MumsNet Bloggers Network and Foodies100, too!