Tag Archives: yoghurt

Recipe: Saffron and Cardamon Yoghurt (Shrikhand)

I originally encountered this recipe in a pack from the glorious (and sadly, now on hold) Curry Delights startup.  It is a beautiful, pale-yellow-tinted, cooling yoghurt dessert flavoured with cardamom and the honey-like scent of saffron, and I absolutely loved it – so much that I made it two nights running, in fact. 

Ambika and Vikram’s version of this dish was super-easy and very quick, but relied on a couple of products that I was unable to source in Australia, so once I ran out (i.e., about four days after first encountering the recipe), I was out of luck.  I did have recipes for Shrikhand in other books, but none of them looked quite right (though I *highly* approve of the one that suggests adding popping candy, and I will be doing this at the first opportunity), and most of them, being more traditional, required a longer preparation time, as the recipes relied on drained yoghurt.

But I was really craving those lovely, cooling flavours again this week, so I decided that it was time to see if I could cross the various recipes, modified slightly to my tastes, and make a version that was feasible here.

Short version?  I did, and it was glorious, and I’m writing it up right now, so that I don’t forget the quantities…


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saffron strands – a big pinch, crumbled between your fingers into a little bowl
250 g light cream cheese
1/3 cup icing sugar (slightly heaped, to be honest)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder, also heaped
350 g low fat Greek Yoghurt (nothing wrong with full fat, but the low fat Black Swan one is nicer than the full fat anyway, and frankly, this dessert does not need to be any richer than it is)
200g raspberries, to serve.  Trust me, you want something fresh and acidic. Continue reading

Recipe: Italo-Australian Strawberry Trifle

This is one of those recipes that sort of evolved as I wandered along Sydney Road on the weekend, and then started poking around in my pantry at home. 

First, I fell for the beautiful tiny strawberries at La Manna, which were just begging to find their way into a dessert of some sort.  Then, my eyes were seduced by the enormous, glowingly-pink rosewater meringues at Josephine’s.  I pictured a sort of hot pink Eton Mess.  But as I came back from my walk today, I found myself drawn to the beautiful handmade sponge fingers at the Pasticceria on the corner of my street.  So I started thinking trifling thoughts… but trifle is very rich, and I really didn’t feel like making custard – especially when I already had meringues in the house and thus no simple use for all those extra egg whites…

A peek into my fridge, however, reminded me that I still had a bit of low-fat ricotta leftover from another recipe last week, as well as half a tub of mascarpone and a lot of low fat Greek yoghurt.    So that was the creamy part taken care of, though it was a little bit bland… which is when I remembered that I had a sachet of powdered strawberry gum, an Australian native ingredient from a Eucalypt with a sweet, fruity, floral sort of flavour that goes well with strawberries.

All that remained was to find a suitable soaking liquid for the sponge fingers, preferably something not too sweet and not too alcoholic – how fortunate that I had most of a bottle of Wild Dog Natural Produce‘s strawberry vinegar in the house.

The result?  A surprisingly light, fresh-tasting dessert with a wild pink topping.  I am not absolutely certain that the meringue was necessary to this recipe, but it certainly gave it a pizzaz it wouldn’t have had otherwise!  The strawberry gum made the ricotta mascarpone cream rather grey-looking, but the flavour was superb – and it complemented the strawberries beautifully.  I’ll be making this again.


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100g mascarpone
100 g low fat ricotta
100 g low fat Greek yoghurt
20 g brown sugar
15 ml powdered strawberry gum (optional, but magnificent if you can get it)
6 bit sponge fingers
1/2 cup strawberry vinegar
2 punnets of strawberries (about 400 g once you’ve hulled them)1 teaspoon raw sugar
1 gigantic pink meringue (vanilla, rosewater, raspberry or another berry flavour)

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Recipe: Arden Forest Salad

For too long has my Complete Works of Shakespeare languished, lonely and unloved, waiting in vain for our next reading to occur!  I do love our Shakespeare feasts, but they are quite fiendishly difficult to organise – as soon as I think I have a full cast, someone gets sick, or remembers a prior commitment, or moves overseas or interstate, and then everything has to be rearranged.

And then, of course, there is the cooking.  For reasons that even I do not entirely understand, I feel compelled not merely to drastically overcater, but to do so in a way that fits the theme or story of the play.  Which means sitting down with book in one hand and notepad in the other writing things like ‘fool.  Passionfruit?  Lots of hearts.  Venison!  Disguise. Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes’, and then trying to come up with a collection of recipes that both cover the most important keywords while actually producing a fairly balanced meal that covers this week’s collection of dietary restrictions…

This sounds like a big complaint, which it really isn’t – but it serves to explain why I have to be feeling pretty bold to plan one of these feasts, and why by the end of them, I feel both great satisfaction and as though I’ve been hit by a train.

Anyway.  Today’s play was As You Like It, which is one of Shakespeare’s comedies, clearly written at a point in his life when he had a lot of good musicians in his Company, because everyone sings, all the time.  He hasn’t quite written a musical, but you can see that he was seriously considering it.  As You Like It is notable for pretty much the entire cast running off to live, like Robin Hood, in the greenwood.  Half the characters start off in exile in the wood, more characters join them there as the play progresses, and at the very end, when everyone is set to return from exile, the villain of the piece puts himself into self-imposed exile – you guessed it, in the woods.

Clearly, the woods needed to be represented here, so I decided to create a salad forest, suitable for exile with random singing.  This is my excuse for making it quite so mildly psychedelic – I imagine most forests are not amply endowed with magenta rocks, but mine is.  This is, of course, a composed salad, and your dressing is essentially the layer that everything is standing on, so when serving, make sure you get a good scoop of the yoghurt layer and the nutty gravel to go with your vegetables.  It really is astonishingly delicious.

4 forest


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300 g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp tahini (unhulled is nice!)
100 g pistachios
100 g  slivered almonds
125 roasted chickpeas (sometimes called chick-nuts)65 g dried cranberries
6 small oranges (blood oranges or even mandarins would work – that’s about the size you are after.)
12 stems of broccolini
8 little bocconcini (ovalini are good)
4-6 spears of sage flowers or rosemary in bloom
8 small radishes in mixed colours
5 sprigs of thyme
a handful of dill
3-5 sprigs of mint
80 g fresh blueberries Continue reading

Recipe: Easy Overnight Porridge

I’m writing this one down as much for my own use as for yours.  I’ve been sort of curious and appalled by the idea of porridge for years – it looks so dreadful – but I’ve also secretly been aware that I really do like both oats and honey, so how bad can this food actually be?  In fact, the primary reason I haven’t discovered porridge until recently has been, quite simply, that it all looked as though it would take far too long to cook, and I am not a morning person.

Also, hot milk is sort of icky.

Anyway.  Here’s my entirely non-traditional version of porridge.  It replaces dairy milk with almond milk, which I feel is a great improvement, and it has a bit of yoghurt for tang, and honey for sweetness.  Best of all, because you soak it overnight, it cooks in about three minutes, while you are pottering around feeding and tripping over the cats and letting their furry majesties outside (which, in our household, has evolved into an entire ritual requiring each madam to be patted and the cat door opened for her while she peers through and decides whether the outside world is truly deserving of her gracious self.  No, I don’t know how this happened.  I’m pretty sure Andrew started it, because he is far more owned by the cats than I am, but he denies this.  Mystery claims that it has always been this way, and always will be, and who am I to argue with a cat of her magnificence?), and it’s lovely and warming and sustains you all the way through to lunchtime…

Also, I could pretend that this bastion of Scottish Breakfasts is my tribute to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, but since I only thought of that as I was finishing off this blog post, I’ll stop tartan up the story with reel bad Scottish puns, and just note that porridge should always, always be served piping hot.  (Bagpipes optional.  Very optional in our house.  I went to a Scottish school that was *obsessed* with bagpipes and insisted on offering free bagpipe lessons to anyone who wanted them, which meant that all our classes were accompanied by the squirl of badly-played bagpipes.  And not just our classes, because we lived close enough to the school that we could even hear the bagpipes from home.  It’s been more than twenty years, and I am still traumatised by this…)


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1/3 cup rolled oats (not the quick oats)
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup yoghurt
1-2 teaspoons of spiced honey, or plain honey plus a sprinkling of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Continue reading

Recipe: Miniature Pumpkins stuffed with Spiced Split Pea and Rhubarb Stew

This post is brought to you by Farmhouse Direct – or rather, by the fact that I have been too exhausted of late to contemplate getting up early to go to the market on a Saturday morning.  But I can’t come at buying most of my veg from the supermarket, either, so instead I hopped online, looked for fruit and veg, filtered my search for Victorian Farmers, and then went to see what was available.

What was available was boxes of produce from Vegie Bunch – huge bunches of rhubarb, mixed boxes of cucumbers, beetroot, carrots, garlic and potatoes, and boxes of tiny Jack Be Little pumpkins that could only be described as adorable.  I got some of everything, and it arrived on my doorstep on, I think, Thursday morning.

(And then I had to find places to put all of it, because none of this produce is small or self-effacing…)

Anyway, we had friends around to dinner on Friday, and what with it being Lent, I’m vegetarian – but what with it also being me having people around to dinner, it was absolutely necessary to make something spectacular. The Green Kitchen have a recipe for a split pea and rhubarb stew, for which I actually had most of the ingredients, and I thought it might be fun to stuff this into teeny tiny pumpkins and serve them roast potatoes, tomatoes from my garden, and a lot of tzatziki.

It was *amazingly* good, and I wouldn’t have thought to write it up, because the stew recipe was adapted from the Green Kitchen, until my friend asked if I was going to photograph the pumpkins, at which point I considered the recipe, considered how many ingredients and methods I’d changed, and realised that this was probably actually quite legit to write about.  Also, the tzatziki absolutely makes this dish, and that was definitely my idea.

Of course, this means that there are only photos of the finished product, but I’m hoping that the finished product is cute enough that you won’t mind.  Also, be warned – these little tiny pumpkins look like they will be a light meal, but this is just how they draw you in – we all managed to finish what was on our plates, but it was a near thing.  These babies are filling, and I think that with a few more baby pumpkins I could have easily fed ten to twelve people rather than the four I was actually cooking for.  I certainly had enough stuffing to fill more pumpkins…

Also, I apologise for the spice mixes – I didn’t have all the spices the recipe suggested, and I did have all these luscious spice mixes hanging around that seemed to fit the profile, so I used those instead.  Because sometimes, one wants to use one’s beautiful spice mixes.  I’m figuring that most of you probably do have some random Middle Eastern and chilli spice mixes lurking around your kitchen – here’s your opportunity to use them!


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8 Jack Be Little Pumpkins, or other miniature pumpkins suitable for stuffing
3 tbsp virgin coconut oil
2 tsp of a good chilli con carne or similar spice mix, one which is heavy on both chilli and cumin
1 1/2 tbsp of a good middle eastern sweet spice mix such as ras el hanout or a turkish spice mix – you want something that has cardamom, cinnamon and the like, but also a little bit of savoury bite and heat to it. 
1/2 tsp ginger
1 large onion, diced
6 garlic cloves, crushed,
500 g orange sweet potatoes
300 g carrots
5 sticks rhubarb
1 red apples
150 g yellow split peas
2 Lebanese cucumbers
500 g Greek yoghurt
a small bunch of mint
salt, pepper, olive oil

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Recipe: Foolish Mess

I am posting this recipe solely for the sake of being able to use this title.  Really, who wouldn’t want to eat something with such a silly name?  But it is also a logical name, because Foolish Mess is essentially a cross between Eton Mess and Rhubarb Fool – or it would be if I could bear to use that much cream.  It’s essentially a mixture of yoghurt and whipped cream with puréed rhubarb, fresh strawberries and pieces of meringue.

Which is another way of saying, it’s basically the perfect dessert.  Enjoy.


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500 g  rhubarb
75 g vanilla sugar
350 g low fat Greek yoghurt
150 g thickened or double cream
150 g strawberries, sliced
50 g meringues, crumbled

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Recipe: Upside-Down Plum and Walnut Cake, with Cardamom

It’s January in Australia, and you would be within your rights to expect that the weather would be swelteringly, painfully hot and sticky.  But you’d be wrong, because this is Melbourne we’re talking about, so it’s cool and drizzly, and pretty much the perfect weather for staying inside with a book.  Or several books.   Like the ones I accidentally bought when I went looking for calendars today.

But that really wasn’t my fault.  I mean, nobody could seriously expect me to pass up a book about Richard III and finding his grave.  Or Gail Carriger’s newest YA offering, Curtsey and Conspiracies.  And really, if you had just discovered that Joan Aiken wrote Jane Austen fanfic, wouldn’t you be heading straight for the nearest bookshop to find out exactly what it was like?  (Very good, as it turns out – she has the voice down just about perfectly, and while I found that it did have a certain amount of Victorian sensibility and wish fulfilment, Aiken definitely wasn’t taking liberties with the characters.)  And I may possibly have bought a cookbook, too.  I have no self-control when it comes to bookshops.

(You will note that actual calendars are conspicuously missing from this list.  There’s a reason for that.)

But I digress.  And also spend a lot of money in bookshops.

Do you know what’s really great about this weather, though?  It’s summer, so all the most beautiful stone fruits are in season, but it’s cold, so you can bake with them.  And baked, stewed, roasted and caramelised stone fruits are one of the great joys of life.  I am a very happy Catherine right now.

I am also a Catherine who has been baking upside-down plum cake, and this is a kind of weird cake for me, because I love plums, and in fact I grew up with a plum tree in the back yard, so stewed plums are a bit of an emblem of summer for me, but I really hate walnuts, and especially walnut cakes.  So when I started making up this cake, it was going to be an almondy sort of cake, but some part of my cooking-self was *positive* and *certain* and really *very sure* that plum cake required walnuts, not almonds, and in the end I had to obey.  I couldn’t quite bring myself to make it all with walnut meal, so I went half and half.

In retrospect, I think it might actually have been better with all walnuts, which is sort of unnatural, really, but true nonetheless.  The walnuts have an earthiness that goes well with the plums.  But I have no idea how my cooking-self figured that out, frankly.  And I’m still deeply suspicious of the whole idea.

It’s a good cake, though.  Nice and afternoon tea-ish, and it should keep for several days, assuming it lasts long enough to do so.  And it is really perfect for a Melbourne summer.

Look at me with my arty photo composition!

Look at me with my arty photo composition!

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9 plums
10 g butter
3 tbsp vanilla sugar
75 g walnuts
75 g almonds (or more walnuts)
175 g caster sugar
200 g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp cardamom
pinch of salt
2 eggs
150 ml olive oil
250 g Greek Yoghurt

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Product Review: CoYo Coconut Yoghurt

I don’t know what is wrong with me at the moment, but I seem to be getting tireder and tireder (and last night’s exceedingly vivid nightmares did not help), and every few days this flicks over into being ill and virusy again.  I’m not enjoying it.  And it’s doubly annoying, because I’m doing all this virtuous walking for the GCC walking challenge so I should be getting healthier, not more miserable!

Combine this with an internet speed that is currently working in geological time, and one doesn’t get too many blog posts happening.  Sorry about that.  I will try to do better, once I can upload pictures without it taking all evening.


Anyway.  I was pottering around the Radical Grocery Store yesterday, looking, as it happens, for coconut oil and coconut sugar, when I discovered that they had coconut yoghurt, something I’ve heard of, but have never tasted.  Naturally, I had to give it a try.  Which meant that I then that this 100% coconut-themed shopping basket, but these are the risks one must sometimes take.

The yoghurt I bought was CoYo, and I have to say, it’s rather gorgeous. Continue reading

Recipe: Yoghurt and Almond Cake with Lemon and Rhubarb

I’ve been haunted by this cake all week.  It’s been calling to me from my fridge (where the beautiful new yoghurt sits), from my fruit-stand (where the tiny, perfumed lemons are placed), from my vegetable box, where half a bunch of rhubarb is awaiting its destiny.  I can almost taste it in my mind – the perfumed sourness of the lemons and rhubarb, the mellowness of the almond and the syrup and the yoghurt, the softness of the drenched cake…

… the warmth and cosiness of my bed, which is much more appealing than baking in my current tired and rather depressed state…


But who could be depressed while contemplating this beauty of a cake?

I can’t claim that this cake sprang, fully-formed and Athena-like from my brow, but it has certainly evolved into quite a precise recipe without much effort on my part.  As I write this, the syrup is simmering on the stove and the cake is still in the oven, but I *know* this cake now, I’ve thought about it in between meetings and grants and before going to sleep.  I’ve even dreamed about it.  I know it’s going to be good.

PS – Oh, it really, really is.  Wow.  It’s like a lemon delicious pudding in moist, glorious cake form, with rhubarb.  It almost makes up for Australian politics.  Almost.  It’s definitely one of my best cakes, anyway.

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200 g self-raising flour
110 g ground almonds (conveniently packet-sized, see what I did there?)
100 g caster sugar + 3 tsp (for the tin)
50 g brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
375 g rhubarb
2 large eggs
250 g plain thick yoghurt (Greek is good, but any well-set yoghurt will do)
150 ml olive oil
3 small lemons
80 g white sugar

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Recipe: Tangy Lemon Yoghurt Cake with Rosemary and Raspberries

closeToday was Mothers’ Day, and we therefore planned to have afternoon tea at my brother’s house.  My sister-in-law was doing something decadently chocolatolicious, so I figured I’d complement this with a nice, tangy lemon and yoghurt cake. 

Then, of course, they had raspberries at the market, and I’m now out of vegetable oil, so I had to use extra virgin olive oil instead, and as I was getting that out, my eye fell on the dried rosemary. My mother’s name is Rosemary, rosemary goes well with lemon, the rest was inevitable…

Speaking of inevitable, I made this cake in a rose-shaped Bundt tin.  Getting it out was a nightmare wrapped in a disaster inside a very, very bad idea.  Do not do what I did!  Use a plain Bundt tin, or a plain ring tin, or, in a pinch, a perfectly ordinary round tin (just bearing in mind that it may take a little longer to cook through, because there will be nothing conducting heat in the middle).  Trust me, your life will be much easier.  And this cake is such a lovely, simple thing – why traumatise yourself by having it come out of the tin with bits missing?

Your Shopping List

80 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
zest and juice of two lemons (save the juice of one for the icing)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
280 g Greek yoghurt
250 g caster, white or icing sugar (basically whatever you can find in the pantry, but I don’t think brown would be ideal), plus 200 g icing sugar for the icing
200 g self-raising flour
100 g almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
125 g fresh raspberries


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