Sunday, 7 August 2011

What can you do with Greek Yoghurt?

Way back in April, I was invited to take part in a Total Greek Yoghurt Masterclass from Beth over at Jam and Cream. What would the day entail for fellow foodie bloggers? Well, in a nutshell, nutrition advice from Hala El Shafie of online magazine Nutrition Rocks, a very moving and inspiring story from Phil over at Skinny Latte Strikes Back and some useful tips and practical demos using Total Greek Yoghurt products from former chef of Chez Bruce and Claridges, Andre Dupin.

A summary of the day can be seen here.

Wise words from Hala

Hala is a nutritionist and dietician at a Harley Street Clinic and it is abundantly clear this lady practices what she preaches;Great complexion, glossy locks, a picture of health in itself. For me, two points worth noting were:

  • Drink a minimum of 2 litres of water a day
Of course, it makes perfect sense to keep well hydrated and it is probably not hard to do during the warmer periods of the year. I am somewhat challenged however,to consume as much during the winter months, even if it does take the form of herbal teas etc. Note to self: Must try harder!

  • It is all about moderation 
Eek! And there it was. Spelling out in black and white (literally) where it was all going wrong for me. Hala referred to a healthy portion plate while I tried to cover up my ever expanding waistline. Anyone else feeling guilty yet? I mean look at the size of the pasta/rice portion ;-)

Healthy portion plate

Of course, the problem is compounded when I am cooking an evening meal for us and hubby drops the frequent line "Just cooking for yourself then, are you?"* Sigh*

Next up was Philippa (aka Phil) from Skinny Latte Strikes Back who recounted her tale of going from 103.5kg to 76kg in a year. If ever there was a girl who had amazing willpower and stamina, Phil is a striking example. April 2011 marked the anniversary of reaching her target weight and she managed to train and complete her first London Marathon. She has a truly inspirational and amazing story and shares her tips on how she succeeded in battling her demons. Pop over and pay her a visit if you need spurring into action. She also has some super recipes to tantalize your taste buds. 

Andre Dupin shows us how it is done
I had first come across Total 0% Fat Greek Yoghurt when I followed the WeightWatchers diet in the lead up to my wedding. It was suggested to use in pasta and salad dressings. For the Masterclass day, we were lucky enough to be given an array of recipes using the various Total Greek Yoghurt products (0%, 2% and Regular Total Greek Yoghurt).
For me, the dish of the day was The Mackerel Tartare with Minted Cucumber soup. This was truly delicious, a cooling summer delicacy with a fiery Tabasco kick. This recipe used  0% Fat Greek Yoghurt. For a look at the ingredients and preparation, watch the video here.

Tartare of Mackerel with Minted Cucumber Soup 
Next up was the Pork Medallions with wilted Fennel and Sauce Gribiche using the regular Total Greek Yoghurt. This was a dish I was keen to recreate and as there were only 4 stations, I bided my time, waited patiently and drooled over what was being made in front of me for two rounds. To my amazement, my patience was not to be acknowledged and my cooking was to be curtailed further by a couple of "eager beavers" who decided to queue jump and hi-jack someone else frying pans while they were still in use! Fortunately, my manners had not deserted me and I was able to exercise a bit more self control. I continued to wait and when the time came, I relished the opportunity! The freshly cut herbs of Tarragon, Parsley and Chervil, really make this dish and as the medallions are really finely cut, they only require a short amount of cooking time. Hop over here to see how Andre cooks the dish.

Medallions of Pork with Wilted Fennel and Sauce Gribiche
Next on the menu were Vegetarian Samosas using 2% Fat Greek Yoghurt. The most challenging aspect of this dish was folding the Feuille de Brick pastry but we were in good hands with tuition from Satyajit Welaratne. This dish combines the spices of ground coriander and cumin and is peppered with green chilli. The pastry works well as it achieves an even crispiness. Why not see if you can produce them? Andre will guide you over here.
Vegetarian Samosa with Minted Yoghurt Dip
Dessert was fast approaching and I am not a big fan of Tiramisu, so I opted for the easy-peasy Drop Scones with Caramelised Pineapple. This used 2% Fat Greek Yoghurt and was the finest example of comfort-eating. Warm sweet pudding; one mouthful of this and your worries started to melt away.

Caramelised Pineapple with Drop Scones
To conclude the day of cooking activities, we ended with a more sophisticated dessert; White Chocolate Millefeuille with spiced plums. The pastry was already made for us but we recreated the plum mixture using cinnamon and star anise to enhance the spice of the dish. This used regular Greek Yoghurt. Follow how it is made here.
White Chocolate Mille Feuille with Spiced Plums
All in all, a really enjoyable day out with plenty of inspiring dishes to recreate chez nous!
L'atelier des Chefs is a great place to come with friends to learn and practice different dishes. The additional bonus lies in the fact that a lot of the ingredients are prepared so that you can dive in straight away and get cooking! It runs a series of different themed cooking classes. In fact, Total Greek Yoghurt are currently running Masterclasses at a discounted rate. Click here for further details.

My thanks to the lovely Alison and her team for taking great care of us!

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