Minoo brought her homemade milk kefir to share in the South Arm Community Kitchen. Milk kefir is a probiotic yogurt-like drink.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink made with kefir grains. Kefir is a source of calcium, iron, vitamin B12, etc.
Minoo demonstrated to us how to make homemade kefir. First she strain the kefir with a stainless steel strainer. The kefir milk taste like yogurt drink, i.e. a little sour with a yeasty smell. The longer you leave the kefir grains in the milk, the more sour the milk will be.
Rinse the kefir grains under cold running water.
Kefir grains are symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts. They are alive. They will grow as you continue the process of making the kefir milk. You can share the excess kefir grains with your friends.
The probiotics in kefir promote a healthy digestive tract and a healthy immune system. They are the good bacteria in our guts.
Minoo gave us a little kefir grains to bring home to make our own kefir. Just place the kefir grains in a clean jar and add milk to it. Close the jar and give it a few shakes. Leave the jar in room temperature overnight or up to 24 hours and repeat the process of straining, rinsing and restart fermentation with a new batch of milk.
Minoo reminded us not to place the kefir grains in the fridge for too long as the cold will kill the kefir grains. If you cannot attend to the kefir grains for a day or two, it will be alright to place in the fridge, but any longer than that, you have to find someone to baby sit it.
Minoo, thank you for sharing.
For dessert, Cecile made a Creme Au Chocolat or Chocolate Cream in the Caring Place Community Kitchen. This is like chocolate pudding.
The Chocolate Cream did not turn out as desired due to excessive cornstarch added which made it looked lumpy and not smooth. Nevertheless, this is a simple recipe with just 3 ingredients. The trick is to add in the right amount of cornstarch to get the right consistency.
- 800ml milk (2% fat) + 1/2 cup more
- 3 to 4 tablespoons of cornstarch or more if needed
- 1 pack of sweetened dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa)
It is important to use sweetened chocolate as there is no sugar added in this recipe. The taste of the Chocolate Cream depends on the quality of the chocolate you use. So, for the best result, choose a good quality chocolate for a little indulgence.
In the South Arm Community Kitchen, Minoo whipped up 6 dips. These dips are great for game nights with a group of friends. They also made great appetizers.
These dips can be served with baguette, pita bread, corn chips, crackers and assortment of vegetables.
We simply love the great colours of the dips. Can you guess it by its colour?
The first dip is Tzatziki which is popular in Greek cuisine.
Prep time: 10 mins; Yield: 2 cups
- 1 cup Greek style yogurt
- 1 cup finely diced cucumber
- 2 tablespoons freshly chopped dill
- lemon juice to taste
- 2 small shallots finely chopped or 1/2 small red onion finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
If you cannot find Greek yogurt which sometimes called Mediterranean-style yogurt, you can make your own substitute with plain yogurt. Just line a colander with a double layer cheesecloth and place over a bowl. Pour in 2 cups of plain yogurt and chill overnight in the fridge. Discard the liquid the next morning. You’ll end up with 1 cup of Greek-style yogurt which is thicker than plain yogurt.
On the day we made the Taro Cake in the South Arm Community Kitchen, it was an exceptional cold spring day with temperature as low as -5 degrees Celsius on the day low. Guess what, Lorna was demonstrating how to make Fruit Ice-Cream on that day. It is certainly a very cold treat for a very cold day.
Lorna brought some ice-cream which she made earlier for us to try. Look at this cute hello kitty strawberry ice-cream. It’s not only pleasant to the eyes, but it is creamy and taste wonderful. Many of members were asking Lorna on the cost of the ice cream maker and I think this demonstration has inspire some of the members to have the desire to get an ice-cream machine this summer, that includes me.
- 1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup homogenized milk
- 250ml whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
The last thing we learned from the Dairy Making 101 workshop was Making Clarified Butter (or Ghee in South Asia ). Clarified butter has a higher smoke point than regular butter which is good for high heat cooking. Clarified butter also has a much longer shelf life than fresh butter. It can be stored without refrigeration when kept in an airtight container.
We started off with melting unsalted butter (preferably organic) in a large pot.
Here is the pot of melted butter bubbling away. You may give it a stir once in a while.
You can flavour your clarified butter with herbs which render their flavour through the oil in them. Thomas flavoured one pot with garlic and rosemary and another with cardamon. I brought some of the clarified butter flavoured with garlic and rosemary home. It smells wonderful.
Clarified butter is made by rendering the milk solids and water from the butter fat. The foam which sticks to the sides of the pot and also those at the bottom of the pot is milk solids. Milk solid is not good for consumption but it is very good for your skin. Thomas uses the milk solid which sticks to the sides of the pot, not those at the bottom as a lotion. When the water evaporates, the volume of the clarified butter will reduce. Cook until all the water evaporated.
You just have to make sure that the solids at the bottom of the pot does not get burned.
Thomas made some chocolate spread using some unflavoured clarified butter. It is like nutella.
Click on Read More for the instructions.
The Dairy Making 101 workshop also covered making yogurt. Yogurt is produced by fermenting milk with bacteria. The bacteria lives on the sugar in milk i.e. lactose and produces lactic acid. The lactic acid acts on the milk protein to form yogurt and makes the yogurt slightly tang.
Yogurt is very nutritious and is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and B12. Yogurt is good for people with poor bowel movement i.e. not regular.
We started with heating the milk to between 110F and 180F. Some people preferred to heat to the higher limit for food safety reason. You may flavour the milk with vanilla bean or extract or even cumin as Thomas did. Continue reading
The next item in the Dairy Making 101 workshop is making cheese curds. Cheese curds is compressed, processed and stored to form cheese. In Indian cuisine, cheese curds is strained and squeezed to make paneer. Fresh cheese curds is used in poutine, a French fries topped with fresh cheese curds and brown gravy.
The cheese curds is rather bland and the texture is like medium hard tofu. We made the cheese curds with two types of acid, one with white vinegar and another with lemon juice. I cant really tell the difference in taste between both of them.
To make cheese curds, we start with heating the milk to a gentle boil.
When the milk comes to a gentle boil, add acid while stirring the mixture until you see the milk starts to curdle. Continue reading