Adventures in yoghurt making (Part 1)

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I’ve recently become a bit obsessed with the idea of homemade yoghurt. I think it probably started with our trip to Greece, when each morning part of breakfast was the creamiest, most delicious yoghurt I’d ever tasted, topped with fruit and maybe just a swirl of honey.

I was sold – it tasted nothing like the yoghurt we get in stores here in Canada, and I started trying to figure out where I could get this amazing product here in Toronto. If I scoured Greektown, would I find it? However, after a few unfruitful searches, I gave up and decided that it was just one of those “taste of vacation” experience that I wouldn’t be able to relive.

Until – I took a trip with my mum up to the Bruce Peninsula where our B&B hostess – a woman, coincidentally, of Greek descent – served us a similarly amazing yoghurt each morning. It was heavenly. I finally worked up the courage ask our host Kathy where she got her amazing yoghurt.

(By the way, if you’re ever planning a trip to Northern Ontario, I can highly recommend the Purple Frog B&B. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten and the most amazing hosts).

She looked at me a little funny and then told me: “I make it. The way my mother taught me.”

In this moment, my mind was a little bit blown. Homemade yoghurt. Of course, I vaguely knew this was a thing people did in the past, but now? How? What would I need? Would it  be difficult?

I decided to do some research and experimentation.

Continue reading “Adventures in yoghurt making (Part 1)”

Quick Tip: Make Your Own Vegetable Stock

 

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Stock is just one of those staples, isn’t it? A lot of my favourite go-to meals, from a simple weeknight soup to a showstopping beef bourguignon, rely on the humble stock. For years, I’ve relied on store bought options. Whether its cubes, stock pots, or cartons, buying vegetable stock from the store can set you back between somewhere in the range of CAD $3-5.

And yet for most of us, we have the resources to make delicious vegetable stock right on hand for almost no extra cost at all. It just takes a little planning.

I wish I could remember where I first saw this tip so I could give credit, because it really has been life changing for me. But here it is: save your vegetable peelings. Yep, it’s that simple. Whenever you’re peeling anything (onion skins, carrots, potatoes) or chopping off the stems or stalks of a vegetable – pop them in a large ziploc bag that you keep in your freezer instead of the green bin. In no time at all you’ll have have a big full bag.

Once you’ve got your bag on the go, making your stock is this simple:

  1. Take your desired amount of veggie peelings from the freezer bag. You want a fairly decent amount each time (1-2 cups worth approx) to make sure you get enough flavour in the stock. Add to large pan.
  2. Fill pan with water and bring to the boil. Add salt to taste. Then simmer until your stock is at your desired intensity. (I usually spend about 30 mins simmering it while I get other parts of whatever I’m making ready).
  3. Drain your stock into a bowl/ container and discard of used peelings.

This gives you a lovely, rich, stock, that tastes slightly different each time depending on the peelings you had to hand on any given day. Earthy, full of flavour, and practically cost free.

This is one of those things that’s so no-nonsense and self evident that it almost seems silly to write it out here. And yet so many of us (myself included) have become addicted to the myth of “convenience” foods that we forget how easy and cheap making our own food can be; we also forget how much better it tastes.