Monday, 10 March 2014

The best of A Greedy Piglet - It's All Greek to Me

This post was first published in April 2010, and was the first time I played with Total Greek Yoghurt. I still have a fridgeful of Total Greek Yoghurt, and doubt that it will ever be any different. There are some really useful little recipes in this post, in particular the one for Tartare Sauce, which is so perfect I never buy it any more. 

 You will not of course have missed that the first line of this post talks about me and losing weight.... hmmmmm..... plus ça change, plus c'est la mème chose. These days I simply try not to gain any!

Yoghurt, the thick creamy Greek kind has long been the mainstay of my breakfast. I would eat it dolloped onto fruit, mixed into muesli or granola, or pure and unadulterated with honey and walnuts. Lush all of them.

However, since the middle of last year, I have also been trying to lose weight. Thick creamy full fat Yoghurt has been too rich in fat for me to have in any quantity, and so reluctantly I moved over to 0% fat free yoghurt.

I am not a great fan of ordinary very low fat or fat free yoghurt, it is thin and acid to my taste, but thick strained yoghurt is much nicer. It is also easy to make a version yourself. Simply dampen a square of muslin, pop it into a sieve and allow the yoghurt to drain for a few hours in the fridge. Then tip it out of the sieve into a container (the rinsed out yoghurt pot is fine) and it will keep in the fridge like normal yoghurt.

You should find that you will end up with about 40% volume of the original yoghurt, and a basin full of whey. I have yet to find a use for this (although I expect I will one day) so I just tip it away.

(note: If you keep pigs you could feed it to them, as I understand they go mad for it. But here in North East London, the neighbours aren't that keen on pigs next door... although... but I digress...)

The trouble with making your own is the thinking ahead. I always forget. And end up with no yoghurt for breakfast except for the thin yucky kind.

And then I discovered Total 0%. It is luscious, thick and creamy and you simply wouldn't believe that it is fat free. And a free food on my Slimming World plan. (Don't confuse Total yoghurts with other Greek Style yoghurts - these often have cream added to make the yoghurt thick, rather than straining in the traditional Greek/Turkish way. You need to check the labels)

So I was delighted when, via the UK Food Bloggers Association I was offered a huge batch of Total Greek yoghurt to play with, try out new recipes, do whatever I liked with.

There are loads of ways to use Greek yoghurt on a low fat plan. Some of my favourite easy ways:

Tartare Sauce:
Perfect with grilled or dryfried fish:

0% Greek Yoghurt
Chopped cornichon guerkins
Chopped red onions
Chopped capers
Chopped parsley
Splash of lemon juice.

Mix and serve.

Mayonnaise dressing for potato salad:

0% Greek Yoghurt:
half quantity Extra Low Mayonnaise
Skimmed milk

Mix yoghurt and mayonnaise together. It will thicken dramatically, slake with skimmed milk until it is the texture you need. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice to taste.

Mock Beurre Blanc

Finely chopped shallot
Finely chopped capers
1 tbs wine vinegar
1 tbs water
1 tbs Extra Light Clover or other very low fat spread suitable for cooking
2 tbs 0% Greek Yoghurt
salt & pepper to taste

Put shallot and capers in small saucepan with vinegar and water. Simmer until shallot softened and almost all liquid evaporated.
Remove from heat. Add low fat spread and stir until melted and creamy. Add yoghurt and season to taste.

You can add chopped fresh herbs to vary the flavour too, dill, tarragon, chervil or parsley are all very good.

Yoghurt Cheese:
0% yoghurt
dampened cheesecloth

Exactly as for straining ordinary yoghurt to make Greek yoghurt, if you take it a bit further and strain for 24 hours, you will get a firm light fresh cheese. This can be seasoned if you like, or if you keep it plain it can be used just like low fat cream cheese or quark in sweet and savoury recipes.

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