Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Y is for Yoghurt and Z is for Zest

French Village Diaries french food advent calendar yoghurt zest
French food alphabet advent calendar

Welcome to the final post in my French Food Alphabet Advent Calendar where I have been working my way through a selection of delicious food posts and recipes. I hope you have enjoyed your virtual tastings.

It’s the 24th December and Y is for Yoghurt and Z is for Zest.

I first became aware of how good live natural yoghurt is for you and how easy it is to make, when I read Mireille Guiliano’s book French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure and it is now one of my secrets to weight loss and maintaining my weight through a healthy diet. I have owned a yoghurt maker since 2007 and regularly make both yoghurt and soft cheese with it. The soft cheese is simply a litre of freshly made yoghurt with a teaspoon of salt added, that is hung in a muslin cloth for twelve hours until the whey has drained away, leaving a thick and creamy cheese with a tart flavour. A yoghurt maker is great as it ensures the correct temperature required to turn the milk to yoghurt, but it isn’t essential, a warm place like an airing cupboard would be fine.

Making Natural Yoghurt
You will need a litre of milk and a few tablespoons of live natural yoghurt as a starter.
Heat the milk and then allow to cool to 45 degrees c.
Pour a small amount of the milk onto the starter yoghurt and combine.
Gradually add this to the remaining milk, but don’t over do the stirring.
Place in the yoghurt maker, or cover with a heavy towel and put it somewhere warm, but not hot or draughty. An airing cupboard, or an oven with a bowl of hot water should work fine too.
Do not disturb or move it until it has set as this may stop it working.
I recommend starting it off in the evening and you should have (warm) yoghurt by the morning that is ready to refrigerate and enjoy.

I have many uses for natural yoghurt, here are just a few:
To top muesli or cereal for breakfast.
A generous dollop added to a slice of cake or tart in place of cream.
Mixed with fresh pesto to make a herby dip.
Added to mustard and a splash of vinegar to make a creamy salad dressing.
Mixed with tinned tuna instead of mayonnaise for a sandwich filling.
Used with apple cider vinegar to make a tangy coleslaw dressing.
Mixed with walnuts to make a walnut cream (see here).

Z is for Zest
I have reached the end of the alphabet and the end of advent. There is not much I can say about zest, except that the zest of an orange added into a pastry mix makes the most delicious mince pies at Christmas.

Thank you for joining in with my French Food Advent A to Z and I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas, a Healthy New Year and Bon Apetit!

If you have missed my previous posts you can catch up by clicking on the letters ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTU and VW and X.