Smoothie, Lassi, Whatever

Forty years ago, one of our great treats was my Dad's homemade milk shake. Milk, ice-cream if we had it, and a splash out of one of those sticky bottles of brightly coloured syrup. Especially once we got a blender, and you could make it go all bubbly without having to whisk it by hand.

Thirty years ago, we had a popular hangover drink of natural yoghourt mixed with grapefruit juice, with a dash of Tabasco for the hardier souls. Then as we started hanging out at the corner caff end of the Indian restaurant market, we discovered lassi – diluted yoghourt drink, sometimes salt, sometimes sweet with palm sugar and fruit juices and purees. Mango, lime, orange. In time, lassi got more well known, and it's on most restaurant menus now. You can get it ready-mixed in some supermarkets, even. And the smoothie has reared its head, full of your five-a-day and active superfoods and general gubbins. Sugar, mostly. Some of them are just thick fruit juices, but some have the dairy component as well.

I made a Thing at home the other day – a ripe banana, some organic greek thick yoghourt, some oldish blueberries and some mango chunks out of the freezer. Whizz whizz, two half pint glasses full, really rich and heavy, bursting with fruity oopmh, cold from the mango. It would have made a quick meal, and was much much more than a drink.

You can go all the way from thin drink (juice, or squash at a pinch, cheap thin yoghourt, lots of ice and some lime and salt to sharpen it up) to something more like a fool, with purees and yoghourt and soft ice-cream. Waitrose has a recipe card for a mango lassi fool, which is mango puree mixed with yoghourt and whipped cream, lime juice, honey and cardamom, and decorated with strips of dried mango. Last time we were in Amsterdam I had a saffron yoghourt, a cross between a drink and a dessert, sweet and thick and darkly yellow.

I've never been sure about spices in Drink Things, they tend to turn gritty or taste raw. They certainly have their place in Indian spiced tea, where they've had a chance to infuse. Maybe I need to look at making home-made yoghourt again, adding cardamom pods and cinnamon and cloves and fennel to the warm milk at the start.

In the early days, we had to chop fresh mangoes or buy mango nectar, which was oversweet and overpriced. But Waitrose now kindly provide me with fresh peeled cubed mango, or the same thing frozen, which is cheaper. And if you look among the tinned fruit, there are plastic pots with tropical fruit mixes in juice, including one with mango slices. There are frozen blueberries, raspberries, papaya, all sorts. And you could freeze your own fruits from the pick-your-own for the winter, and reduce those icky food miles.

Summer will bring strawberries, and beneath the mango lassi fool card, I found one for stawberries baked in foil parcels on the barbie, with Pimms and sugar, served with clotted cream. Now, that would make a WARM smoothie to ease the chills on a late summer night …

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Blueberry Muffins

DrGourmet has changed the Blueberry Muffin recipe, which I used to have a lot for breakfast. The new one has loads more fibre, and I'm sure will be very nice. But I like the old one too! good job I printed it off. This quantity made 6 big muffins, at 174 cals per muffin. It doubled up easily, and you could freeze them individually, they defrost overnight in the fridge.

 

  • 3 tbsps light spread
  • 0.5 cup Splenda
  • No-fat dried egg subsitute, 1 egg's worth, plus the liquid to make it up
  • 2 tbsps non-fat yoghourt
  • 0.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups plain flour
  • 0.25 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 0.25 tsp baking soda
  • 0.5 cup non-fat buttermilk
  • 0.5 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to Gas Mark 5.

Cream the spread and Splenda til smooth, whisk in the yoghourt and vanilla.

Sift in the dry ingredients. Gently fold together, adding buttermilk and the required amount of water for the egg substitute. (If you're out of egg substitute, put 1 whole egg in with the yoghourt.) Don't overmix. Fold in the blueberries last.

Put in a muffin tin, with papers if you can get them.

He says bake 12-15 minutes, but that was never enough, I found half an hour was better.

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Ultra Spiced Christmas Bread

Oops. I misread teaspoons and tablespoons again, this might be a bit much. Then again, it might not, so I thought I'd better write it down. From the bread machine recipe book, with extras:

Basic White, Bake Raisin, Extra Large, 4 hours

  • 1.25 tsps yeast
  • 1 lb 5 oz strong white flour
  • 1.5  tbsps sugar
  • 1 oz butter
  • 2 tbsps milk powder
  • 1.5 tsps salt
  • 400 ml water
  • In the raisin dispenser – 5 oz mixed dried fruit – today we have cranberries, blueberries, and cherries – and 3 tbsps (should be 3 tsps cinnamon) mixed spice – 1 tbsp ground cardamom, 1.5 tbsps speculaas spice, 0.5 tbsps cinnamon.

It's in the machine now, we'll see what happens …

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Blackberry Porridge

Based on an idea by Phil Vickery in Delicious magazine, September 2004. This turned out to be 4 portions, which are currently chilling in the fridge. 2 breakfasts each for the next 2 days. If it's any good … He reckoned 377 cals for his original recipe, this is probably less – he had 85gms caster sugar, 400gms yoghourt, 350gms fruit, 100gms Jordan's Original instead of the muesli, mixed with 140gms porridge. But it wasn't clear if that was weight in cooked porridge.

I made porridge with oats, in the microwave, using 80 gms of oats and the equivalent volume in semi-skimmed milk, and water, no salt or sugar. Let it cool slightly and stirred in enough sugar/salt free muesli to cover the top well, plus 200gms fat free yoghourt. Mixed well, added about 3 tbslps Greek Mountain honey and stirred in not so well, to ripple through.

Spooned about 2/3rds of this into 4 half-pint glasses.

Mashed 225gms fresh blackberries with about 1 tbsp lime juice and 2 tbsps Splenda, and let sit while the porridge was cooling.

Top the porridge mix in the glasses with the blackberries, juice and all.

Add the rest of the porridge.

Swirl with a knife to ripple the fruit through – it won't reach through to the bottom.

Chill overnight and see what happens …

Note: talk to NM about whether this could be gluten-free, or at least tolerable? might have to do something about the muesli. Could use blueberries when blackberries are out of season, or frozen would be mushy already.

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