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Yoghurt, A Versatile Flavor For Both Savouries and Sweets

Jun 18, 2008
Many people enjoy ready made flavoured yoghurts straight from the store's dairy cabinet, but that isn't all there is to this great food. It has medicinal uses for instance. Take some plain, live yoghurt after a course of antibiotics and it will restore normal flora to your gut. The same process also helps in yeast infections and you can even bathe affected parts with yoghurt.

It makes great cool drink if diluted with fruit pulp and a little iced water - try mango, strawberry and apricot or any combinations of these for my favourites, but I'm sure there are more great flavors out there.

In many middle eastern homes it is made freshly at home from a culture handed down, perhaps even over generations, but western tastes may prefer to buy a new culture every few weeks or so. Just add a pint of finger warm pasteurized milk to a small pot of live, plain yoghurt. You can use full cream or semi skimmed milk. Stir in a large tablespoon of dried milk powder. You then cover it and leave for about 8 hours in a warm place. You can buy special yoghurt makers, but I find a wide necked Thermos does a good job.

One way of using the resulting yoghurt is to make Labani or fresh yoghurt cheese. You need to stir a teaspoon of salt into 3 pints ( 1.7 litres) of yoghurt. Now line a colander or sieve with a clean cotton cloth, pour in your mixture and let drip overnight. It will be half its previous volume, but much firmer. Serve with salad having sprinkle it with olive oil or you could stir in chopped herbs such a s mint and parsley or even add a little garlic powder. A very easy way to make it is to buy a large pot of yoghurt and pierce the bottom a few times. Stir in a little salt and then place the whole thing in a colander to let it drain until it reaches a spreadable state. Either way it will keep if refrigerated for about a week.

Yoghurt also makes a great Frozen Dessert - so much so that when I took some round to a friend she immediately began to empty out her freezer so that she could hide it away to keep for a special occasion. I make my favorite by mixing with sugared raspberries and just place in a suitable container in the freezer, taking out and stir a couple of times before it freezes solid. Two thirds sweetened yoghurt to on ethird fruit works well. You can use honey, chocolate syrup or even artificial sweetener and just about any fruit pulp. Depending upon the fruit used you may want to add sweet spices such as cinnamon. For those who find the flavor a little sharp it can be mixed with vanilla ice-cream at the time of serving. You could also make a plain or vanilla flavored sweetened frozen yoghurt and serve this in place of cream with fruit.

Babies from about 6 months old will thrive on yoghurt, which is full of calcium and is easy to digest as the culturing breaks down lactose, which is why it breaks the 'don't give dairy before one year old' rule. And it isn't too sweet so you aren't encouraging sugar dependency. You can mix in very small amounts of fruit preserves to give baby lots of variety.

If using yoghurt to add a tang to hot dishes such as soups remember to let them cool a little before adding the yoghurt or it may split, which doesn't affect the flavour, but doesn't look as nice - and definitely do not bring back to the boil. One tip to avoid splitting is to mix a tiny amount of cornflour into the yoghurt.

I didn't eat my first yoghurt until I was about 18 - now I can't imagine a week going by without it - so get the yoghurt habit soon.
About the Author
Fore more tips on cooking please visit our cooking recipes website. For dessert lovers we have easy chocolate dessert recipes
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