Thursday, March 31, 2011

Berry Frozen Yogurt

I don't have a particularly sweet tooth.  Neither do I own a freezer nor an ice-cream maker.  Making a frozen dessert therefore does not exactly feature high up on my culinary agenda.  A recent stay with my friends Deb and Chris and their experiments with goats yogurt started to get my mind, and my tastebuds racing.  Goat and sheep yogurts have a pleasing tang which is perfect if you don't fancy something overly sweet.  A Sunday lunch for friends presented me with the opportunity to play in the kitchen and see what I could conjure up with a pot of sheep yogurt and the tiny freezer compartment of my fridge.  The result?  A simple (but delicious even if I do say so myself) dessert.  Delicious served on its own or, as pictured here, with leftover defrosted berries and a meringue nest.

Berry Frozen Yogurt
450ml yogurt (I used sheep)
275g defrosted, frozen berries
zest and juice of ½ a lime
1 tsp runny honey

Scoop the yogurt into a food processor.  Add the berries and their juices, lime zest and juice and honey.
Blend until smooth then pour the mixture in a freezer-proof container with a lid.
Freeze for approximately 2 hours. 
Remove from the freezer and break up the mixture with a fork.  Stir until smooth and return to the freezer.
After another couple of hours, repeat the process then return to the freezer.
Remove the frozen yogurt 15 minutes or so before you want to serve it to allow it to soften slightly.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Dial Dhal for Comfort

Just when the first buds dare to poke their heads above ground, the sun graces us with its presence for longer each day and nature starts to shrug off its wintery cloak, then, WHAM, Jack Frost cracks back into action and we're plummeted straight back into a chilly gloom.  These are times that call for bowl food that cossets and comforts with its pillowy textures.  That warms one through with gentle spices and a hint of chili.

For me, the one dish that is guaranteed to seep its warmth down into my very bones is dhal.  My version would undoubtedly horrify the purist amongst you, however it's quick, uncomplicated and never fails to bring a much needed smile as a gentle fug fills the kitchen.

Dhal (serves 2)
125g red lentils
1pt water
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1tsp ground turmeric
knob of fresh ginger, peeled and halved
sprinkling of cardamom seeds, crushed
1tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
zest and juice of 1 lime
2 large handfuls of spinach, washed
can chickpeas, drained
fresh coriander, chopped

1. Rinse the lentils, pop into a saucepan and cover with the water.  Bring to the boil, skimming off any white foam that bubbles up.
2. Reduce to a simmer and add the bay leaf, garlic and ground spices.  Stir and simmer for approximately 25 minutes with the lid on the pan.  Add more water should it start to look a little dry,
3. Stir through the tomatoes, the zest and juice of the lime (I throw in the lime halves for added flavour).
4. After 10 minutes, stir in the spinach and chickpeas and cover the pan.
5. As soon as the spinach has wilted, turn off the heat, season with salt to taste and serve.

Comfort guaranteed and no need to dial for a take-away!