Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Failed yoghurt, thank yous, and 11 questions

You may remember that I recently found coconut yoghurt (that reads a bit like I found religion), and that I had high hopes for using the yoghurt as a starter for making non-dairy yoghurt myself.


People, my hopes are dashed.



The above pictures don't really do justice to the failure that was this yoghurt. It didn't set. At all. The texture remained runny, and also separated, and it smelt odd. I couldn't even bring myself to taste it.

It is possible that the problem was combining coconut yoghurt with almond milk. I used sweetened almond milk, knowing that yoghurt cultures like some sugar to feed off, but would have used sweetned coconut milk (of the tetrapack rather than canned variety) if I could find it. Sadly, the stores I used to see it in no longer seem to stock it. Another explanation is that I'm just not very good at non-dairy yoghurt making. I may try coconut kefir (akin to drinking yoghurt, but non-dairy) instead.

If anyone does have ideas for how to improve my yoghurt outcomes, I would love to hear your thoughts. I did the above by combining 1/3 cup of the coconut yoghurt with 3 and 2/3 cups of sweetened almond milk, shook them together well, and put the container in a boiling water 'bath' in my yoghurt maker. I left it for 12 hours.


From yoghurt failures, I am moving to catch up on some blog acknowledgement over the past 6 months. I owe Cassandra of Food My Friend two thank yous, for her mentions of Bite-Sized Thoughts in relation to the Reality Blog Award and Best Moments Award. I might not have been very pro-active in following the mentions up, but I do appreciate them!

I am also grateful to Johanna of Green Gourmet Giraffe, for her mention of Bite-Sized Thoughts when she did her Liebster Award in March of this year. Johanna provided 11 questions to think about, and I have had fun contemplating my answers. I hope you'll enjoy seeing my responses, and thinking of what your own might be.

1. Who was your childhood hero?
I'm not certain I had one. I remember loving Noni Hazlehurst from Playschool as a 3-year-old (it was the only TV show I was permitted to watch at that time), Laura Ingalls Wilder as a 5-year-old (her stories were the first novels I read alone), Norah in the Australian Billabong books as a 10-year-old (I still love her actually), and Isla Fisher from Home and Away (an Australian soap opera) as a 13-year-old (she comes from Perth and went to my high school, so I felt an affinity). I will grant them hero status or at least the closest to heroes that I had!

What is your favourite mechanical kitchen implement?
Definitely my food processor. 

What is one song that you have sung in public, where did you sing it and why this particular song?
My main singing experiences came from compulsory participation in my annual high school House Arts Festival, held at the end of term one with each house contributing a choir (what you were in by default), mime, and play. There were also art and cooking contributions. Not being into acting, or in fact anything that required me to be on a stage, my contributions were always through the compulsory choir. I once made a cake too, and remember the thrill of eating cake over lunch in the sunshine - with friends, lest you think I ate it all alone - once the judging was over.

These memories aside, the song that has remained with me most strongly from my choir singing years is California Dreaming by The Mamas and The Papas.
 
What is the best costume that you have worn to a fancy dress party (or if you haven't worn one, then what would you love to go as)?
A confession: I loathe and fear fancy dress parties. I find regular parties challenging enough, never mind throwing in fancy dress! See also above about my dislike of being on stage...I'm not one for calling attention to myself.

What is your favourite green food?
I love this question. Currently, green smoothies. If they don't count, edamame beans. And brocolli.

What is your ideal birthday cake?
I don't have a standard answer for this, but anything vegan and not chocolate tends to be a winner. I love apple cake, carrot cake, cakes with stone fruits and/or berries, and cakes with vanilla hues and spices like ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon.

Do you have any giraffes in your house (knickknacks, clothes, pictures etc)? If so please tell me about one.
I don't, but my Mum has several wooden giraffes in an African style. She loves giraffes and African-type figurines. I bought her a small wooden giraffe from a market in Salzburg, Austria, when I was there for a conference three years ago.

What fictional character used to terrify you as a child?
The man (human presenter) in Sooty and Sweep. I have just worked out he was probably Matthew Corbett, and seeing his picture brings back horrid memories even now. He was mean to Sooty and Sweep and scared me terribly!

Do you back up your blog? If so, how?
Not as often as I should. When I do, I just export it from Blogger and save it to my computer. (This is probably a terrible approach.)

What is your favourite vegetable or fruit that you have grown in your garden (or what would you like to grow if you haven't grown anything)?
Currently, I am loving the simplicity of herbs after a dismal summer of burnt sizzled vegetables. We have basil, parsley and mint doing very well. I also have some lemons forming and I'm waiting for those with eager anticipation. 

Where did you last have a picnic and what did you eat?
This one is easy - Mother's Day, with the food shown here!

Tell me - what would your answer be to any one of the above?
And do you have any tips for my yoghurt making efforts?!

31 comments:

  1. I used to do soy yogurt in the EasiYo, and it never really worked great. Your description sounds like what we used to get, except that we just shook it up and used it anyways. It was fine, but the look of it started to get to me after a while, and we ended up giving away the EasiYo to someone else. But I do wish I had an easy way of eating more probiotics! I read a post about making kombucha earlier today, so maybe that's a way...

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one! That makes me feel better even if it confirms that non-dairy yoghurt really is quite hard.

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  2. Here's a good tutorial..... I'm a big kefir fan, and make coconut kefir instead of yoghurt (way easier!) http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2010/08/homemade-vegan-yogurt-in-the-crock-pot/

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    1. Thanks so much Lou! I love that for several reasons, not least that it's nearly what I already do but just has a thickener (and is let to set a bit longer). I shall try :)

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  3. Shame about the yoghurt - it had sounded promising to me but I haven't experimented with vegan yoghurt.

    So glad you did the questions. Love seeing your answers. I love your list of childhood heroes. I loved noni hazelhurt in playschool too but regret never reading the billabong books. I loved hearing about your arts festival - wish I had one where I could have baked a cake - I was never big on getting up on stage which is why if I do I much prefer to be in a choir rather than solo. I export my blog from blogger occasionally too - am never sure of the best way to back up my blog.

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    1. It's not too late to read the Billabong books! Perhaps when Sylvia is a bit older, you can introduce her to them and read along? It's a great series because there are 15 books, and there is nothing better than being a few books in and knowing you have a whole string waiting for you.

      Thanks again for the opportunity to play along with the questions, too :)

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  4. Not good on the yoghurt front. Hopefully practice will make perfect.

    Out of interest what food processor do you have? I need to buy one and I'd be interested to know a good one.

    I love carrot cake as my birthday cake choice. I don't back up my blog often either, oopsie. I guess I just assume it will be saved on Blogger's server.

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    1. I have a Kitchen Aid 12 cup food processor :) It's visible in this post if you want a visual - http://www.bitesizedthoughts.com/2011/04/introducing.html . I love it!

      I'm hoping practice will help with the yoghurt too...fingers crossed.

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  5. I hate that they yogurt didn't set Kari..:( I love reading about other bloggers and getting to know them better! I also don't really care for fancy dress parties or dresses for that matter. ;)

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    1. Thanks Brandi! And I'm glad I have an ally in anti-fancy dress ;)

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  6. I wish I could help you with your yoghurt dilemmas. Whenever I'm at the shops I'm always on the lookout for a yoghurt made from almond or coconut milk but I haven't found one as yet. I was a big fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder too xx

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    1. When I find an almond milk yoghurt in a shop, I will be so happy I may not cope. And then I can abandon making my own all together!

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  7. I have no tips for making yogurt, sounds like quite the project!

    My ideal birthday cake would be red velvet.
    I don't back up my blog, I have never thought about it.
    My favorite kitchen appliance would have to be my coffee maker, haha.
    No giraffes in my house that I am aware of.

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    1. If I had a coffee maker, it might have won out too!

      I chuckled at your giraffe comment - I'm now picturing hidden ones keeping to themselves in corners that you don't know about (it may be too early for my mind to be working sensibly) ;)

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  8. Well, Laura Ingalls Wilder remains a hero of mine, so I don't know what that means for my inner self. Maybe I'm internally still five years old?

    Bahaha, Home and Away! I saw The Great Gatsby on Saturday and in so doing caught the trailer for Rush with Chris Hemsworth. It made me giggle and at the same time feel a weird sort of patriotic pride... how on earth did he make the leap to actual bona fide "star" in Hollywood from playing Kim? Oh, mercy.

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    1. Don't worry, she's still one of mine too, I just discovered her at five :) I cling jealously to the set of Little House hard back books that I insist are mine (not my Mum's, or siblings') and when life is particularly stressful, I pull them out and re-read bits. If that makes me internally still five years old, I'll take it.

      I am going to be watching for the Rush trailer now - I don't know how anyone goes from Home and Away to real acting (although Isla Fisher did seem to manage it too). And I'm looking forward to watching The Great Gatsby!

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  9. What a shame the coconut yoghurt didn't work :( it sounded like a nice idea.

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  10. Alas, I know nothing about making yoghurt! Good luck with your future efforts at yoghurt making.

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  11. I've never made yogurt using another yogurt to start it (I usually end up using probiotic powder), but I wish you luck figuring it out, and then I can try it too! :)

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    1. Probiotic powder is going on my list of things to find!

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  12. oh no! so sorry to hear what happened but it's all a learning process! I'm just impressed you attempted this!

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  13. I am sure playschool characters featured in many an Australian childs heros list. I am not sure about the coconut yoghurt but my suggestion is keep trying!

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    1. I think that's all I can do! Thanks :)

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  14. my favourite kitchen mechanical gadget is my blender..... which sadly broke this morning :'(
    hmmmm, well I definitely can't give you any yogurt tips because I have tried about 4 times to make non-dairy yogurt using starters, cultures, and even to add cornstarch to try and thicken it and NONE of my attempts have ever worked out either! I just gave up and now blend frozen fruits instead hahahaha!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Well, at least it isn't me!! I'm so sorry to hear about your blender though. That is sad indeed. Although...does it give you an excuse to get a new one? ;)

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    2. hah my birthday in coming up - I'll be throwing hints ;-)

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  15. I nominated you for a blogger award! Feel free to play along if you wish x
    http://www.skinny-vegan-food.com/2013/05/sisterhood-of-world-bloggers-award.html

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    1. Thanks so much Claire! That's really kind of you.

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