Thursday, August 14, 2008

Creamy Yogurt Spread

Draining natural low-fat yogurt of excess whey gives it a texture very similar to that of sour cream. Spoon it generously on baked potatoes or spicy dishes, or use it to make low-calorie (kilojoule) dips and sandwich fillings. Recipe makes 2-3 cups.


2 pound (1 kg) natural low-fat yogurt


1. Line a large sieve with 4 layers of dampened cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Spoon the yogurt into the sieve, cover and chill for at least 3 hours or up to 12 hours. (The longer it drains, the thicker it becomes.) The yogurt will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

Chive or Dill Variation: Add 1/4 cup chopped, fresh chives or dill, and 1 clove crushed garlic to the Creamy Yogurt Spread. Mix well.

Sweet Variation: Add 1 mango, peeled, stoned and pureed, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon to the Creamy Yogurt Spread. Mix well. Serve with a platter of freshly cut fruit.

Spicy Spaghetti Squash

Simply boiled or steamed squash tends to be rather bland. However, the addition of spices to this easy dish make it a very flavorsome vegetable side. Recipe serves 4.


1 pound (500 g) spaghetti squash
2 medium carrots
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons (prepared) freshly crushed garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons finely chopped chili
Salt and pepper


1. Cook squash in boiling water until tender. Drain and when cool scoop flesh out with a fork. It should be like spaghetti stands. Slice carrots in fine strips.
2. Heat the oil in a fry pan. Add garlic and chilies and cook for 30 seconds. Add onion, coriander and cumin. Cook until onion is tender, stirring frequently.
3. Add carrot and reduce heat and cook until tender. Add spaghetti squash, mixing well until warmed through. Serve hot with rice.

Fennel and Tomato Soup

For something different to standard tomato soup try this easy, tasty soup for an appetizer or light vegetarian meal. If you make more than required, leftovers can be frozen. Recipe serves 6.


2 pound (1 kg) fennel bulbs
1 large onion, chopped roughly
2 teaspoons freshly crushed garlic
2 cans peeled tomatoes (approximately 13 1/2 ounces/400 g each)
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
2 ounces (60 g) butter
1/4 cup Pernod (optional)
Salt and ground black pepper to taste


1. Cut base and tops from the fennel, and chop. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the fennel, onions and garlic and cook for 15 minutes or until soft. Season with salt, pepper and oregano.
2. Add tomatoes, including the liquid, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
3. Puree in food processor and return to pot. Add chicken stock and Pernod.
4. Serve hot with a sprinkling of grated cheese and crusty bread.