Sunday, 4 October 2015

Aga Yoghurt

I had been eyeing up yoghurt makers for a while, but winced at the price. I also quite wanted a cheese strainer but that was £20 more again.

The definition of homely for me is my Grandmother's kitchen, warm from the Aga and always busy; my Grandfather made beer and brick like bread and Granny made everything else, including yoghurt from a half melted ancient plastic yoghurt maker. From that she concocted my favourite pudding of stewed apple and home made yoghurt. Could I recreate this? for a start I would not go out of my way to find a dilapidated germ incubator, so I would have to search elsewhere. Aga recipes tend to go for chapter and verse, with boiling and cooling and standing on your head with a thermometer and to be honest I am too lazy to go that route. Apparently yoghurt makers come complete with a lazy cooks recipe and so far it works brilliantly for me.

The Recipe

First sterilise your jar (I am not sure how necessary this is, but why not as it is easy and all recipes I consulted bandied around the words scrupulous and clean so it sounds sensible). Wash your jar then pop the clean ringed water in a baking tray in the simmering oven for 20 minutes.

As UHT milk has been heated and cooled they had done the arduous work for you.

2 or 3 tablespoons of natural full fat yoghurt (after your first batch you can use your own, just save a few tablespoons from the bottom of the jar)
A tablespoon of milk powder (non essential but apparently this just gives a better texture)
Full fat UHT milk.

Mix the milk powder, yoghurt and a little of the UHT milk thoroughly then add the rest of the milk to the top of your jar. Cover with a sock monkey, or if sanity prevails wrap in a tea towel, then leave on the top of your simmering plate lid overnight.

As personal preference I strain it a little through muslin (to make this easy I just put muslin over the top of the jar with an elastic band and turn upside down in a suitable bowl) then after about ten minutes pop in the fridge and in about an hour or so you will have lovely yoghurt.

Perfect time of year to stew apples to make Granny's special pudding!

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Craft cafe

The Pickle had one request when we moved that we would have special time making things together, probably as the move was fairly relentless as we did the packing ourselves. Special time is lovely but the call of the washing machine or other random but inane essentials of life can seem too loud to ignore; hence Craft Cafe.

The main rule of craft cafe is to have fun, but apart from that we try to model it on an external experience (now that local cafes are just a memory) and have a pre planned craft activity. I hope we will keep it up, but this what we did in the inaugural date.

Menu: home made chocolate brownies
Orange juice for the DinoBoy and Hot chocolate with cream for the Pickle.

Activity: Corn Dollies

Am I the only one who remembers making corn dollies at primary school? Having failed to remember in time to snaffle a few blade of corn from a field before harvest we settled for the rather easier option of craft straws.

Being only 4 DinoBoy had not the patience to take on full weaving but so we just had Tom cuddle time learning how to plait instead. Simple fun!

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