l love cream. But with double cream containing 48% fat, it’s not exactly your healthy option. Fine for the occasional treat, but not for every day. So how can we still make all the lovely creamy recipes and sauces that we love whilst reducing some of the calories and producing a lighter, fresher end result?
Well, last time I was there, the Yeo Valley chaps set me a bit of a challenge: have a go at substituting yogurt in some of my favourite creamy recipes. And you know me, I’m always up for a challenge in the kitchen.
In baking, dressings and marinades you can add yogurt straight from the fridge. If you’re cooking with the lower fat yogurt varieties, you do run the risk, as with single cream, that they will ‘split’ (ie curdle) if you place them straight into a very hot environment. You can counter this by using the ‘standard’ versions rather than the low fat (still much lower fat then cream) and bringing the yogurt up to room temperature before you cook with it.
I used Yeo Valley’s Greek Style Natural Yogurt which has 9.5% fat (plus a nice long sell-by date) so it’s still got a nice creamy finish and isn’t too sharp-tasting. I’ve taken to keeping a couple of pots in the fridge as I use them at breakfast time, with fruit and muesli, as well as for cooking.
I had a go at cooking some of my favourite creamy recipes, substituting yoghurt instead. Here’s how I got on:
Spaghetti carbonara (or yoghetti carbonara – see what I did there?)
Snip a pack of smoked streaky bacon (outdoor reared, please) or pancetta into strips and fry in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil until nice and crisp. Set pan aside on a low heat (you can do this while the spaghetti cooks).
Cook 300g spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water.
Meanwhile, mix a large tablespoon of Greek yoghurt with two eggs and a splash of milk, then stir in a big handful of grated Parmigiano or Pecorino.
When the spaghetti’s cooked, drain and dump it into the bacon. Pour over the yogurt mixture and toss to combine.
To be honest, once we’d added Parmesan, we could hardly taste the difference. Slightly sharper in flavour but still yummy. Fussy Death Wish Dude didn’t even notice and hoovered it down, and the Prof said that he’d ‘noticed something a bit different’ when I told him afterwards. Success.
We also tried:
Ice Cream: AMAZING success here. We actually liked the flavour of the ice cream better with the yogurt. Especially good with fruity and citrussy flavours and the bonus is here that you don’t need an ice cream machine. Try folding lemon curd through Greek yogurt and adding a grating of fresh ginger for extra zing, or just fold through your favourite fruit compote (Yeo Valley do some lovely flavours) before freezing. Take the ‘ice cream’ out of the freezer to soften up a little before serving.
As a dressing: I mixed the yogurt half and half with mayonnaise, added a squeeze of lemon and a handful of herbs and served it with smoked haddock fishcakes. Delicious.
Scones – totally yummy and the yogurt keeps them lovely and tender.