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.*

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

So it has been a while since I last posted. Moving back to Adelaide, starting a new job and a postgraduate course has left little time. However I am now committed to getting this blog back up and running and experimenting with cooking again.

My cousin and his friend have just invited me to participate in our own My Kitchen Rules challenge. We each make a three course meal per week and score each other. The winner will get a free meal. Love the idea and can't wait to experiment. I do plan to have yoghurt as the main ingredient for at least one of the courses. I'll keep you updated on how I go!

I will quickly share a new recipe with you...Salmon with tahini and yoghurt dressing. This meal I made for my Mum, Dad, Sister and Brother-in-Law - my Dad a very harsh critic.

I marinated the salmon is garlic (2 cloves), ginger (1 tablespoon), chili (1 teaspoon), lemon, olive oil and a soy, chili balsamic. Then cooked it on a grill, skin side down.

I accompanied this with a tahini and yoghurt dressing and a yoghurt potato salad.

Tahini and Yoghurt dressing:
Easy! I mixed 1 cup of yoghurt, approximately 1 tablespoon of Tahini (to taste) and 1 garlic clove together. It is an amazing flavour combination.

Yoghurt potato salad:
Potato salad is a great summer classic - it is a must at a BBQ. However the typical dressing can be very high in fat (if mayo is the main ingredient). So an alternative is to use a Greek yoghurt. I mixed garlic, Greek yoghurt and fresh mint together and dressed the potatoes. I then seasoned with salt and pepper.

It has a much more subtle taste, but very light. One big mistake, I didn't strain the yoghurt. This meant that there was some liquid at the bottom of the bowl. STRAIN THE YOGHURT! :-)

This was a really quick, simple and light dinner, which the family really enjoyed. The tahini and Yoghurt dressing is something I would use on lots of seafood and lamb. It adds a lot of flavour.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

The peanut butter challenge

This is a delayed post, however before leaving Sydney one of my workmates challenged me to cook something with yoghurt and peanut butter. I love peanut butter, especially in sweets.

The most amazing peanut butter inspired dessert I've ever eaten was from a restaurant in Melbourne called Gills Diner. With a European inspired menu, Gills Diner served up a reeses peanut butter cup inspired dessert with a rich yet light chocolate tart accompanied by a peanut butter ice cream that made me giddy with every bite. The peanut butter ice cream was a perfect combination of salty and sweet and when accompanied with rich dark chocolate, became a match made in heaven. Check out Gills Diner below:

Gills Diner on Urbanspoon

It was amazing - it almost overtook my grandma's cheesecake, as the best dessert I've ever eaten. ALMOST!

So with the idea of chocolate and peanut butter in mind, I made what I know and love - cookies. The cookies included: plain flour, sugar, butter, dark chocolate, peanut butter and Farmers Union Greek Yoghurt. These yoghurt, peanut butter and chocolate cookies were chewy and moist. This texture was what I was hoping to achieve by using the Greek Yoghurt.

I took them to work for some peer reviews and as a farewell thank you to my old team. The reviews were:

"They are fab! And I am going for seconds as we speak."

"Agree! And I'm not a sweet tooth! They are delish Anne." 

"Anne’s Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies are the perfect combination of rich chocolatey goodness, salty peanut butter flavour, and chewy yet slightly crunchy cookie texture. They are 100% addictive and moorish and an amazing sweet treat!"

"Anne’s biscuits were delicious. The perfect mix of chewy softness and crumbly crunch. The chocolate peanut butter combination was the stand out for me, a fantastic flavour combination that added an extra dimension to this cookie. Sad they’re all gone... I could have devoured plenty more! Will definitely be making these myself."

All in all, I'd definitely put yoghurt in cookies again and I have plans to combine chocolate and peanut butter on many more occasions in the future! I think for this peanut butter and yoghurt challenge, I SUCCEEDED.