For many of us it´s strawberry season right now. The pleasure of eating a sweet juicy strawberry on its own, or covered in whipped cream is something very special. And of course we can mix them into cakes, turn them into jam…well, the possibilities are almost endless.
Sometimes though you fancy a bowlful of strawberry deliciousness but you need it NOW. Here´s a little dish of strawberries that´s not too naughty and quick to pull together and hit the spot last night when we fancied a little midnight feast (hence the dark shot)!
Half a cup of thick creamy natural yogurt (I used Greek)
1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar (optional)
About half a dozen strawberries, sliced
A drizzle of honey
A splash of framboise (raspberry) liqueur – optional
Stir the sugar (if using) into the yogurt, pile the strawberries on top, splash on the liqueur, drizzle the honey over then find yourself a nice quiet spot to sit and enjoy a little indulgence and a moment of peace all to yourself.
Not long ago I posted on how I make Greek style yogurt. Rachel from And Then Make Soup, commented that if I left the yogurt to drain for a little longer, I would end up with a spreadable cream cheese (rather like Philadelphia or Boursin). Thanks for the tip Rachel!
So, in a double experiment, I gave this a go. It was a double experiment as I didn´t have any fresh milk. I know this sounds a little odd, but in Spain it´s still quite hard to buy fresh milk, apart from in the larger supermarkets in the bigger towns. Almost all the milk available here is UHT or Long Life. It´s not a huge problem as I don´t take milk in my coffee and only really use milk in cooking.
So…with a litre of semi skimmed UHT at my disposal, I made a batch of yogurt to see if it would work. Nothing ventured, I thought! To my surprise, the process worked equally well as using fresh milk and tasted the same.
Instead of draining it overnight, I put a weight on it and drained for 48 hours. I saved the liquid that came off it to make soda bread, but more of that another day.
This is what it looked like after 48 hours, straight out of the mould.
I beat it up a little and then added one clove of crushed garlic, a sprinkle of sea salt and about 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped parsley.
The next morning I spread it on bread for my breakfast, and accompanied it with a very funny looking peach! They´re called Paraguayas here, they have a whitish flesh inside and are very tasty.
Luckily I was not going anywhere that morning, as I was rather garlicky for a few hours!
Making yogurt at home is very simple. No need for yogurt makers, thermometers or complicated equipment. I don´t claim that this yogurt is Greek, as the milk I´m using is from Spanish cows (hopefully!) but the taste is the same creamy taste and texture is thick and gorgeous.
Are you ready? Ok, then this is what you´ll need.
Fresh Milk – I used two litres, but you can make any quantity you like. I also used semi skimmed, but you can use whole or skimmed if you prefer.
1 small carton of live yogurt for your first batch
A saucepan with a lid
A hand whisk
A thermos flask big enough for your quantity of milk (optional)
A piece of clean cloth for straining (I used a clean handkerchief – perfect size for my sieve!)
A little patience
Start by heating your milk until small bubbles start to form around the edges of the pan. Turn off the heat and whisk in your carton of yogurt.
That´s it for now! You have several options at your fingertips to get this milk to do its magic and turn into yogurt.
As it´s hot here at the moment, I put a lid on my pot and sit it in the sun for about five hours.
You can put a lid on the pot and leave it in a very, very low oven for up to 12 hours – check on it after about 5 hours to see how it´s doing. You can even leave it overnight.
Put it into a warmed thermos flask and leave overnight.
When you´ve done this and waited patiently, your yogurt will have formed and will look like this.
Yogurt with some watery liquid surrounding it. You could just whisk it all together and eat it as it is, it´s pretty delicious already.
To make it into Greek style yogurt you will need to strain it. Set your sieve over a deep bowl or pot, line with clean muslin (or whatever), pour the yogurt in and leave to strain in the fridge.
I left mine overnight.
When the time is up, you are left with quite a large amount of liquid which can be used in cooking or given to your chickens!
and a lovely bowl of super thick and creamy yogurt (give it a beat to loosen it all up, then keep chilled).
If you keep back two or three tablespoons, you´ve got your starter for the next batch.
What you do with your delicious yogurt now is only limited by your imagination….!
So in 2016 I turned 50. I was in Italy for my 21st, 30th and 40th. To keep this birthday tradition going I always knew I'd be in Italy for my 50! This blog starts with my 5 week adventure in Puglia but my love affair with Italy continues.....