April 16, 2012 in Cooking with Woolies
Nothing quite makes you feel like a child again than having a big glass of cold milk and a plate of cookies! It’s a ritual I often indulge in before going to bed and I don’t think it will be a comfort I’ll grow out of any time soon.
Sometimes I indulge in this sweet winter warmer, perfect for kids of all size. Gently heat a litre of milk, stir in 1 t vanilla extract then remove from the heat. Whisk half a cup of canned caramel until soft then spread it, using the back of a spoon, inside four glasses or mugs. Fill with vanilla milk and enjoy with caramel popcorn.
Full cream milk has a wonderfully rich taste and much more body than low fat milk. Whichever you prefer, it’s more vital than ever that we get a good daily dose of calcium, especially as we get older. Interesting fact: low fat milk contains more calcium than whole milk. Milk also contains Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin which we need more of in Winter) and that’s needed to absorb calcium.
Here is how I like to make my white sauce that’s the base for a freshly ground black pepper sauce that I serve with pan seared steak or as the beginnings of classic macaroni cheese.
Add 30g of butter to a saucepan and when it begins to melt stir in 1 Tablespoon of flour. Mix to form a paste then pour in ¾ cup of milk and whisk continuously before it begins to thicken. Whisking continuously helps to prevent any lumps and the sauce catching the bottom of the saucepan.
When your sauce is wonderfully thick you can add grated cheese (I love Woolies’ new The Big Cheese – it’s creamy with a wonderful nutty flavour) and ground nutmeg. Stir until melted. Add a shot of brandy to a regular cheese sauce (you won’t believe what this does for the flavour) and a good grinding of black pepper for a pepper sauce. If you prefer your sauce slightly thinner just add more milk and if you like it thicker, add less milk.
Even though winter’s on its way, I cannot resists a vanilla panna cotta. It sounds fancy, but it’s so easy to make. It’s important to keep your eye on the milk when heating it; you don’t want it to boil as this will cause it to curdle – you only want it to gently start simmering before removing it from the heat.
Vanilla infused yoghurt panna cotta with figs
This version of mine is less indulgent than the classic cream panna cotta because I use yoghurt and milk as a substitute. Using real seeds from the vanilla pod add fragrance and the illusion that it is sweeter than it is. It also makes the most of figs (in season now) and must be made a few hours before serving so it can set. It’s the ideal dinner party dessert so you aren’t fussing about in the kitchen.
5 leaves gelatine
3 cups milk
1/4 t vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla pod 1)
1 T agave syrup or caster sugar
2 cups low-fat plain yoghurt
Fresh figs, for serving
Soften the gelatine in cold water for a few minutes. Heat the milk in a saucepan until it starts to bubble.
Add the split vanilla pod, with seeds, or vanilla extract, then transfer the milk from the saucepan to a large jug. Set aside to cool slightly.
Stir the gelatin leaves into the milk, then add the agave syrup or caster sugar and yoghurt.
Divide the mixture between 4 cups or moulds and refrigerate until set, about 5 hours.
Serve with ripe figs.