The staple snack of recent years has proved to be yoghurt, and producers never seem to tire of yet more variations and flavours. In the kitchen, yoghurt is a useful dairy ingredient and can be used in many ways. But what exactly is yoghurt?
Very briefly, it's milk – whole, semi-skimmed, skimmed or dried – first pasteurised by heat treatment, then cooled to 37-44°C and inoculated with a specially prepared culture. Then the whole thing is incubated at a warm temperature until the acidity reaches a certain level and setting takes place. The yoghurt is then cooled and chilled, ready to be eaten or stored. Apart from preserving the milk, the process adds acidity to the flavour, which is pleasant to eat as it is but is also incredibly good for adding character and flavour to all kinds of dishes.
Wholemilk yoghurt contains 3.4 per cent fat; low-fat yoghurt contains 1-2 per cent fat; and diet, virtually fat-free yoghurt contains 0.2 per cent fat or less.
Organic wholemilk yoghurt: This is a yoghurt made with organic whole milk produced on dairy farms that meet Soil Association requirements, which control the animal feeds and pasture land. It is a completely natural product and contains only 3-4 per cent fat. This is suitable for vegetarians.
Genuine Greek yoghurt: This is another of my absolute favourite dairy ingredients. It's a special yoghurt made from cows' or sheep's milk, which is boiled in open vats so that its liquid content is reduced. The result is a much thicker consistency, giving a more concentrated yoghurt with a fat content of 8-10 per cent. I have a special fondness for it and I love serving it well chilled with lots of lovely Greek mountain honey poured over and pistachios sprinkled on top – in fact I think this is one of the simplest and nicest desserts.
Greek yoghurt is also a very useful ingredient in cooking, since it can replace some of the cream when you wish to lighten dairy desserts. Now you can buy low-fat Greek yoghurt, which can be an amazing 0 per cent fat.
Don't buy Greek-style yoghurt, though, as it simply isn't the same. Look for the genuine Greek version, which is very widely available.
The world record for making this recipe is not five minutes, but just three – it's quite simply the fastest dessert recipe I've ever come across. It's also amazingly good, and if it is conceivable that anybody on this earth does not love delectably t
Lassi (on the right), is an Indian yoghurt drink and this recipe - perfect for drivers at parties - is the creation of a wonderful cook, Pami Dhanani, who has introduced a subtle Indian tone.
This is sharp, very lemony and most refreshing, truly an ice cream for summer. We have found that the shop-bought meringues actually work better than home-made ones for this as they retain their crunchiness.
This is what I'd call half dessert and half ice cream. My niece Hannah and nephew Tom are chief ice-cream tasters in our family and this one gets very high ratings indeed. It differs from most other ice creams in that it needs 2 hours in the main bod
Make this the day before you want to serve it and you'll be rewarded with one of the lightest, creamiest desserts ever. Blueberries make a wonderful compote but you could also use other summer berries instead.