We are celebrating my Dad’s 82nd birthday this week, and of course I’m providing some of the food for the family gathering we are having for him. Naturally I had a look through “In The Mix” before any other recipe book to see what I could make that hasn’t been attempted before 😉
So, I settled on Yoghurt Balls. Of course, we are having Peach Margaritas as well, but you’ve already seen that post – and I think I’m going to have to go into rehab if I become any more fond of them…they really are quite addictive.
This recipe comes from Valerie Lugonja, who is a Canadian blogger. You can find her blog at acanadianfoodie.com
I am pleased to finally report that after 3 years of Thermomixing the man of the house has finally stepped up and actually did something involving the thermomix – other than clean it! He was responsible for adding the yoghurt to the warm milk once it got to 37 degrees while I was heading out with Master 4 for a train trip. That was an experience in itself, but as I sit here typing away looking at my yoghurt setting in the thermoserver, I actually think he might have proved me wrong and not only read the directions in the recipe properly, but also mastered the scales function and how to operate the other buttons. Mind you, I did leave the lid on for him and provided explicit instructions to add the yoghurt through the MC hole.
I made the yoghurt mixture in the morning, let it set during the day in the thermoserver, and set it to drain as I went to bed that night. It was the best way to do it I think – most of it’s draining time completed while I was asleep, and I created the balls the following morning and let them marinate for a few hours before we headed out. Who knew that my beautiful Nigella Lawson mixing bowls would hold the varoma tray so perfectly? I didn’t have a muslin cloth, so I used two layers of clean chux wipe, which worked really well. The tray works really well as it allows you to smooth the yoghurt out and have a bigger surface area for it to drain from. Be careful when you drain it and maybe put the whole thing in the sink as I think the chux acts like a wick and I ended up with a rather large pool of yoghurty smelling water around the bowl – as well as loads of water in the bowl. So make sure you use a large bowl. You could possibly even leave the draining yoghurt in the sink, so if it does happen, the water will go straight down the sink, and not sneak in behind your coffee maker.
I had never attempted (or even been tempted) to make yoghurt in the Thermomix before. The man of the house is a yoghurt fiend, and we would easily go though 6 litres of plain yoghurt in a week – he adds berries, fruit, and all manner of things to it. I’d never really thought how expensive it was until I realised how cheap it was to make. Yoghurt will be a regular on my thermomix list from this time forward.
For your starter yoghurt, Dani recommends buying a yoghurt that contains nothing more than milk and bacteria, and suggests that organic yoghurts from small producers are the best. I bought the Barambah Organic Yoghurt from my local greengrocer, and it was perfect. For the milk, well, I was a cheapskate and against my better judgement I used the $2 for 2 litre low fat milk from the supermarket. And guess what? It was fine.
My yoghurt was definitely able to hold its shape the next morning, so I rolled it into balls with the aid of a melon scooper. I had loads of beautiful little spheres, so I doused them with Maldon Sea Salt and sumac, with an MC full of good olive oil. Dani recommends putting the balls in one bowl and gently tipping the balls into another bowl to make sure they all get covered with the oil, sumac and salt. I tipped from one bowl to the other, but clearly I am ham fisted and ended up with a large blob of yoghurt that didn’t look very nice at all. Undeterred, I remade the balls and this time put them on a flat dish (I used two dinner plates for the quantity I made, but next time I’d use the platter I plan on serving them on, if it’s fridge-friendly), added a little more salt and sumac, drizzled a little more olive oil over them top and hoped for the best.
My only tip would be that once you’ve heated the milk and cooled it down, you pull any skin that may have formed off. The Man Of The House didn’t think of doing that, and if I had have been around, I certainly would have. I also used the varoma lid to cover the draining yoghurt.
I let them marinate for a couple of hours, and before we were due to leave I packed them into a flat tupperware container. Of course, I had to have a taste test while I did that, and I decided to add some lemon zest as well, which really made a huge difference to the flavour.
Yes, they could have been served on a beautiful dish but aside from nearly leaving the whole lot at home and having to turn back a few hundred metres down the road from our house, I forgot to bring a platter that would do them justice, so I had to serve them in the tupperware container 😮
They were a huge hit and I’ll definitely make them again. I’ll try experimenting with different flavours as well, maybe Mexican flavours, Italian with oregano, garlic, maybe some more with lemon and salt. I’m not a huge sweet tooth, but you could also do these with honey, cinnamon, sesame seeds, or chopped nuts.
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