Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Yoghurt banana muffins

Banana bread and cake is a favourite of mine. Not too sweet, moist and can be considered part of the fruit food group (kind of).  

This yoghurt banana muffin recipe was inspired by a banana cake recipe on weightloss.com.au but it’s a little naughtier. I increased the sugar slightly, added honey, used butter instead of margarine, replaced some of the milk with yoghurt and decreased the number of bananas. Then I turned them into muffins, instead of a cake. Ok so I made a few amendments, but I wanted to give credit where credit is due.

This is a quick and easy muffin recipe perfect for morning or afternoon tea with a coffee or cup of tea. Or if you are Mr Bball, a homebrewed beer.
Banana muffins
Yoghurt banana muffins:

  • 150g butter
  • 150g white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 ripe bananas mashed (or one large one)
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¼ cup of milk
  • 3 tablespoon of yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder
  • Pre-heat oven to 180c fan-forced
  • Grease a 12-hold muffin tin
  • Cream butter and sugar until light and creamy
  • Mix in vanilla essence
  • Mix in one egg at a time until well combined
  • Mush the bananas and add them to the mixture
  • Heat the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds or until warm and add the baking soda. It should foam slightly.
  • Add the foamy milk to the banana mixture
  • Mix the flour and baking powder
  • Sift the flour and baking powder and mix into the banana mixture
  • Spoon two tablespoons of mixture into each muffin tin. You may end up with enough for 14.
  • Cook for 20 – 25minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
  • Dust with icing sugar and/or cream to serve.
  • You can serve this warm or cold.
This muffin recipe is moist, light and fluffy. Give it a try. Perfect for morning or afternoon tea entertaining. Try serving with honey butter for a bit of extra sweetness.

My farewell fun yoghurt fact: Persian traditions hold that "Abraham owed his fecundity and longevity to the regular ingestion of yogurt".*

*Batmanglij, Najmieh (2007). A Taste of Persia: An Introduction to Persian Cooking. I.B.Tauris. p. 170.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Pulled lamb yiros with tzatziki

My brother and sister-in-law got us a slow cooker for Christmas. As soon as I unwrapped it, I knew it was pulled meat time. Pulled pork, pulled beef, pulled chicken and of course pulled lamb.

I’ve always been a little scared of cooking red meat – nervous about how easy it is to overcook. However after years of bragging about how good Greek food is, I had to deliver when having a few friends over for a Greek dinner party.

I consider chicken yiros one of my specialities – it’s easy, light and delicious. However I was dying to try cooking a leg of lamb for the first time. So after being inspired by Kevin from Closet Cooking I ventured into new territory. Thanks Kevin for sharing your amazing lamb recipe! I made a few changes to Kevin’s recipe – more garlic (I love garlic), added some veggies plus I used Nostimini, a Greek spice mix.  

Pulled lamb yiros:
  • Pulled lamb
  • Greek pita bread
  • Tzatziki
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Onion (I grill mine – raw is fine if you like raw onion).
  • 1.5 – 1.8kg leg of lamb
  • 7 cloves of garlic
  •  ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 lemons (depending on juicy they are 1.5 could be fine)
  • 6 potatoes (cut in eighths)
  • 4 carrots (cut in strips)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoon Nostimini (I could have put more – you can get it from Gaganis Brothers or Foodland)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 cups of water
  • 2 cups of yoghurt (drained)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 3-4 medium cloves of garlic (to taste)
  • Half a Lebanese cucumber (grated)
  • Squeeze of lemon
  • Pinch of salt
For the lamb:
1.       Put lamb into the slow cooker and add lemon, Nostimini, garlic, olive oil, potatoes, carrots and salt. Marinate overnight in the fridge.
2.       The next morning add 1.5 cups of water
3.       Cook for 8-9 hours in the slow cooker on low
4.       Remove the vegetables from the slow cooker
5.       Remove the fat and bone from the lamb and shred with two forks.

For the tzatziki:
1.       Put the Greek yoghurt in a sieve with a thick paper towel and put in a bowl. Drain yoghurt overnight. This will give you a thicker consistency.
2.       Remove the yoghurt from the sieve and paper towel
3.       Grate cucumber finely and remove access water by squeezing it tightly
4.       Cut garlic very finely
5.       Add cucumber, garlic, olive oil, lemon and salt to the yoghurt
6.       Refrigerate until you use it.

Putting it together:
1.       Cut lettuce, tomato and onion finely
2.       Add a little bit of olive oil to a pan and heat up each piece of pita bread (keep warm in the oven if you are cooking for a group)
3.       Put lamb in a bowl and take tzatziki out of the fridge
4.       Give everyone a piece of pita bread and they can make their own yiros. I recommend tzatziki first but completely up to you! Don’t overfill it.

This feeds 6-8 people, usually with leftovers for the next day (my kind of dinner party!). 

A simple, fresh and delicious dish that is perfect for dinner parties. They are fun to make and you can prepare most of it the night before. I will warn you though – they can be messy. So serve when entertaining friends, not on a first date or when meeting your potential future in-laws for the first time.

Let me sign off with a fun yoghurt fact – Dannon was the first company to manufacture yoghurt with fruit on the bottom in 1947.*
*Dairy Goodness

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

I’m back – Chinese yoghurt experience

After a two year break, I’m back to share some yoghurt goodness with you all. Where have I been the last few years? Well…I’ve moved house, started a new job, attempted to form a gym routine, finished a Graduate Diploma in Communications (Public Relations) and met (warning…cliché moment) the love of my life.

While I haven’t blogged for the last few years, my passion for yoghurt, food and travel hasn’t wavered. I’ve still experimented with food (both failed and succeeded), eaten a lot of yoghurt and travelled.

To ease back into it, I thought it fitting that I share a... “I can’t believe I found yoghurt here” story. In September 2014 my partner, let’s call him Mr Bball (he likes basketball – go 36ers!), and I went to China for a two week holiday. If you haven’t been to China, I recommend it. Amazing food, beautiful sites, fascinating people and an amazing history.

I knew that I would find a lot of familiar foods in China – dumplings, noodles, spicy soups, stir fry’s and even beer (ask for cold beer otherwise it will be warm!). What I didn’t expect to find was yoghurt.

On our second day in China we walked for over an hour to get to the Temple of Heaven, only to exit from the wrong end with no access to public transport or taxis. Desperate and hungry, we paid an unofficial driver triple the taxi rate to take us back to the city centre. It was here that I kept seeing these little glass jars with straws outside of all these small shops. Without refrigeration, I assumed it was coconut juice or something similar. Until we were walking through ‘little Nepal’ and I found this sign.

Refrigeration or no refrigeration, I had to try it. I popped the lid with a straw, took a slurp (no spoon required) and was surprised at how familiar the taste was. While at room temperature, it still had that natural sourness, sweetness and creaminess – it was just thinner than your traditional yoghurt.

It was at this moment that I knew I could find yoghurt anywhere and I wanted to re-start this blog. The same deal applies, challenge me to combine yoghurt with an edible item and I will share the results. I will also share some yoghurt recipes with you and hope to hear your feedback if you give them a try. Spoiler alert…my next blog will feature a recipe with garlicky yoghurt goodness.

My farewell fun yoghurt fact – Beijing yoghurt is called “old yoghurt” because it is fermented using an old production process, whereby the yoghurt is pot set and sealed before the fermenting process.*
* http://asiansupper.com/theslurp/beijing-yogurt-old-chinese-yogurt