Saturday, September 2, 2017

Skyr in Tasmania Saturday 2nd September 2017

In general, the food in Iceland didn't rated high on my list of memories from my 2014 trip, but one thing did rate a mention. That was Skyr! Skyr is a thick yoghurt though technically a cheese as rennet is added in the process. I have never attempted to make it as I read that it required a Skyr starter culture and this was only available in...Iceland....or New York where some enterprising person called Siggi had started making it, perhaps from a culture smuggled out of Iceland. 
When my sister sent me a message the other day that she had bought some Skyr in her local supermarket, my ears pricked up! Lo and behold the other day,  I found Skyr in local version of the same supermarket chain here. So it was time for experimentation!

It is a pretty simple process. First of all, Icelandic tradition is that it is made with raw milk. Perfect for me. But if you don't have access to raw milk, I am sure it will still work with pasteurised as that is how it is produced commercially. Secondly it is meant to be made with skim milk to keep it low fat and high protein. I could have done that if I had left my milk overnight and skimmed off the cream in the morning but I was in too much of a hurry! So full cream Skyr it is. 
First step is always to sterilise all your equipment...pots cups spoons cheesecloth etc in a dairy sanitiser or by boiling water.  Skipping the pasteurisation step, it is then just a matter of heating the milk to 110 degrees F. Then mix a tablespoon of store bought Skyr into some of the milk in a separate cup. Add 4 drops of rennet to a quarter cup of tepid water (I was using 2 litres of milk). Then mix all together.  It would be interesting to try with less rennet as rennet adds to the sourness of the end product.  Now put the lid on the pot and wrap in a towel or blanket and put in a draught free spot for 12 hours. I sat mine in the oven all day. Have a double layer of sterilised cheese cloth sitting ready in a colander over a container if you want to catch the way or else the sink. Tip the contents of the pot into the cheesecloth. It now looks like curds and whey. Let drain for several hours. I left mine to drain overnight and think that was a bit long. I ended up adding some of the whey back in to make it more liquid and blending it to make it nice and creamy.
And the result? See for yourself. Even better with some fruit added. Be warned Skyr is more sour than commercial yoghurts which are heavily sweetened. Even mine was less sweet than the vanilla Skyr I bought. But your palate can be trained to enjoy less sugar if you persist and it is so much better for you. I find commercial ice cream almost sickly sweet these days after eating my own low sugar version for the past couple of years. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Dehydrating experiments. Sunday 16th April 2017

Recently my 25+ year old dehydrator started to make strange noises so I thought the time had come to invest in a new one. Since I bought my 'fan at the top ' design Sunbeam , a lot of new designs have come onto the market. Reading a lot of reviews, it seemed like the fan at the back design is the way to go these days. With this design, everything dries evenly and there is no need for swapping trays around. The Biochef dehydrator I ended up buying has temperature control and a timer which means I can set it to run overnight without worrying about things getting too dry. 

I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with a variety of foods since then.
Most of the foods I have dried for hiking as we used up quite a few of my supplies on our recent hiking trip to Argentina and Chile ( stayed tuned for a blog post on re food adventures overseas) but also snacking on while kayaking. 
First of all I dried some roasted beetroot dip, stored in a ziplock bag ready to rehydrate and spread onto a biscuit. 

I had read on a hiking blog page about dehydrating yoghurt so I tried a plain yoghurt ( homemade of course) and one with some whizzed up fresh strawberries. 
I found a recipe on a photocopied page I had kept for years for Taco chips- made from food processed corn cobs, capsicum and grated cheese. Delicious.Not sure if theses will last isn't the freezer as they are a bit too tempting to snack upon!

Next I tried some vege chips. Sweet potato sliced very thinly with a mandoline and tossed in a tiny bit of olive oil and salt, beetroot sliced, carrot slices all turned out really well. 

Finally, I dehydrated a mix of puréed strawberry and raspberry.