Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Make your own yoghurt in 7 easy steps.

homemade yoghurt

Homemade yoghurt has a beautiful light and silky texture and creamy taste that sets it apart from the store bought variety, and it is really very easy to make. Here's how ...

1. Pour some milk into a saucepan. I use a medium size saucepan and about 600-800ml of milk which makes enough for about 1 week's worth of yoghurt for me. You will need a thermometer. I use a milk thermometer which is handy because it clips onto the edge of the saucepan.

homemade yoghurt

2. Heat on the stove to 80C or 180F. This kills any bacteria already in the milk. This is the hard part ... 80C is just before the milk boils over and makes a mess so don't forget about it. If it does boil over it will not effect your yoghurt but you lose some milk to the mess on the stove and cleaning milk off the stove is not fun ... yep, I've done it more than once. While it's heating you can add sugar, honey or vanilla if you want a sweet or flavoured yoghurt. When I began making yoghurt I did this and gradually reduced the sugar content as my tastebuds became acclimatised to the lower sugar content. I now just make plain yoghurt, which apart from the reduced sugar has the added bonus that I can use the yoghurt both on my breakfast and in savoury dishes.

homemade yoghurt

3. Turn the heat off. Let the milk cool down to between 38 and 42C (100-110F). This is the temperature the the yoghurt cultures grow at. Too hot and you'll kill your yoghurt bacteria, too cold and they won't grow. If you do forget your milk at this stage and it drops below 38C just turn on the heat again to get it back to temperature. I normally skim the skin that forms when it cools off the top of the milk.

4. Now you need a little bit of yoghurt as a starter. I use a small amount of my previous batch of yoghurt but starting out you can use a store bought yoghurt with live cultures. I've used Jalna and a few other brands. Just make sure they contain live yoghurt cultures and you should be good to go. I use a heaped teaspoon of yoghurt and mix it with a little bit of the warm milk in a small bowl. It's easier than trying to stir the yoghurt into a big pot of milk. Don't go crazy here, if there's still small lumps of yoghurt, that's fine.

homemade yoghurt

5. Pour this yoghurt/milk mixture into a clean container. I prefer to use a pyrex container because it's glass with a tight fitting lid, but plastic tupperware type containers or glass jars would be fine. Once you've done that pour in the rest of the milk from the saucepan and give the whole lot a good stir. 

homemade yoghurt

6. Now you want to keep it warm for about 8 hours. I wrap it in a towel and put it into a cooler bag. I used to put a heat pack in the cooler bag as well but then my heat pack spilt and I haven't replaced it. If you've got one you can use it, but it's not necessary. If your house is very cold then you might need it.

homemade yoghurt

7. If you are making the yoghurt in the evening, I often make mine after dinner, you can leave it overnight and your yoghurt will be set in the morning. This batch I made mid morning and put it in the fridge at 8pm. I usually let it set for anywhere between 8 and 14 hours. Once it's set you don't want to stir or shake the container as that will break down the structure of the yoghurt.

homemade yoghurt

And that's all there is to it. Cheaper and yummier than store bought, and much easier to make than you might think. I think my first batch failed, mainly due to the fact that I was trying to gauge the milk temperature by feel but since then I have only had one batch fail and I've been making it several times a month since early last year. If you want to give it a go my recommendations are to use a thermometer and if a batch does happen to fail, buy new yoghurt to use as a starter. 


Saturday, July 26, 2014

This week's links ...

Finally, some time to sit down. Hubby is away in China again and I've been running kids all over the place, although The Little Girl refused to get out of bed for swimming this morning ... unfortunately that meant I was up at 6:45am within no prospect of going back to sleep. Grrr!

Anyway, some links:

1. Homemade crumpets. The Big Girl just saw these and wanted them for breakfast tomorrow. Although tempting, firstly we have no rings and secondly we have to be at the pool by 7:30am for a Club Meet and she is unlikely to surface before we leave.

2. Food Photography behind the scenes.

3. With one kid whose behaviour after spending too much time on computers, iPad etc I totally get this post: Why I took my kids electronics away.

4. 7 Great books to read this summer. Well it's winter here but I loved Divergent so will have to get my hands on Four ... or how about the 10 best top 100 book lists.

5. And you must pop by Alexa's for some gorgeous printable watercolour typewriters.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

This week's links ...

1. 10 Ways to Teach Your Child to Pray.

2. Posing techniques. - I need to commit these to memory, for when I'm in photos.

3. Online Netiquette.

4. Free foodie PL journaling cards.

5. 10 Lunches for in the park. One of these might be nice to take with us when we finally get around to doing The Little Girl's expedition.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

List #5: New recipes cooked in the July school holidays

Catching up on my lists. I do have half-formed lists floating around in various forms that I'll post in dribs and drabs over the coming months.

1. Sushi. We followed the instructions in the Obento kit.


2. Caramel Banana Tart. Cooked by The Little Girl from The AWW Cooking School for Kids but I found this recipe on the internet.
3. Slow cooker Provencal Chicken and beans (except I didn't have the beans, but I did have some Kale so I put that in.)
4. Pasties.
5. Dumplings three ways. We watched this video on folding dumplings 7 ways.


6. We also tried making jam doughnuts the same way we made nutella doughnuts earlier in the year ... nutella works better but these were still yum.


7. The Boy leafed through the AWW Cooking Class for Kids and picked out the Choc-caramel slice to make. This is definitely a special occasion slice. You can find the recipe here.

8. And for post spending all afternoon at MSAC, just The Little Girl and I at home, Sunday dinner we had Jamie Oliver's Giant Veg Rosti, Poached Eggs, Spinach and Peas.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Trim, trim.


The fruit trees are now suitably decimated. It looks like espaliering these is going to be a long term prospect.

20 words originated at Abi's.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

This week's links ...

1. Slow cooker conversion. How to convert conventional recipes to the slow cooker. Also includes printable cooking times chart.

2. 25 Books for Summer. A combination of fiction and non-fiction.

3. The Science of Sleep: How to Get more sleep and have more energy. The cliff notes version? Spend more time in bed ... joking aside a worthwhile read.

4. Love this DIY mobile planter.

5. How to propagate succulents.

Adventures with a Bullet Journal: Starting Out


I've been a journal keeper from way back. Not a consistent, fill-a-book-a-year journal writer but picking up, and writing in bursts and starts from when I was in year 11 at high school. What I've written varies from a recounts of the days events, to major venting, to-do lists and a record of my bible reading and written prayers. My old journals were particularly handy this year when I had to give a 45min reflection on my life and faith. Reading back I was surprised how much I had forgotten doing when I was in year 12.

This year I have been wanting to write more. Writing helps me sort through what I'm thinking, but I also need a system for personal organisation. I've tried various systems: todo list written each day in a notepad, a trello GDT system (this was my favourite, moving the cards around appealed to my preference for visual cues), but I really wanted a system that includes everything ... uni notes, quotes, random thoughts, my lists, my bible and prayer notes and I want to reduce the time I spend staring at a screen, not increase it. There is something quite satisfying about curling up on the couch with a notebook.

I may be slightly obsessed with Pinterest and earlier this year I was browsing my feed when this pin by Cate caught my eye. I repinned and thought I'll come back later to check it out. Later is now. I've decided to start a Bullet journal as my base organising tool. You can read about it here or watch this short video.

The beauty of this system is that I can customise it and include whatever I want. For instance I still intend to keep my calendar digital, so no monthly calendar page for me. Inspired by Alexa and this gorgeous blog, I'm sorely tempted by the thought of including some more creative pages  ... time will tell but the option is always there.

The photo up the top? That's my new journal, a Leuchtturm grid notebook with the addition of a pen-holder. I chose the grid because my handwriting can get quite messy and the 5mm grids help keep everything under control and on the smaller side. The other bonus with this notebook is that it comes with numbered pages and contents at the front.

I would love to here from you with tips if you keep a bullet (or in fact any kind) of journal.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Last week around here, in various combinations we ...

Rolled sushi at the request of The Big Girl. Filled with a choice of eggs, raw vegetables, smoked salmon, prawns and avocado. We used an Obento sushi kit and I would recommend making these for reasonably dextrous fingers, I helped The Boy but the girls did theirs themselves.

Watched Blended

Redecorated in the bedroom. The last two times I'd changed the sheets on our bed the doona cover ripped a little more so I had no choice but to make some decisions about the long overdue bedroom update.


Sheltered from some really atrocious weather.


Were reprimanded by the dentist (the kids not me) ... although no decay ... fluoride clearly does wonders.

Ran. A combination of interval training and longer runs for The Little Girls Athletics training. Long for us is 5km ... we're not talking marathons here.

Limped. Surprisingly that's not me but The Boy who hurt his foot at his soccer clinic and has developed a habit now even though he knows his foot doesn't hurt anymore.

Planned The Little Girls Compass Expedition although, according to the weather forecast, we unfortunately will not have a combination of free day with good weather so we will have to postpone it to later in the year.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Month in Numbers: June 2014

Month in Numbers is brought to you by Julie. You can add your numbers here.

5 -  friends, pizza and The Internship to celebrate The Big Girl's 15th birthday ... and a mint chip brownie ice-cream cake ...


2 - is the number of these cakes made this month. The Little Girl and The Boy also made one for The Big Girl on her actual birthday. 

8 - the number of days The Boy managed to go without breaking his good behaviour contract concerning responsible use of technology .. as a result no iPad or computer over the holidays. He thought he could take advantage of the restrictions I set being turned off after ICT at school restored his iPad from an earlier backup ... he now knows that I can check his account to see what he has downloaded.

2 - number of cross country events for The Little Girl. Her team came 5th in the 4X2km road relay and scored the bronze medal in the 3km cross country championships. The second event also doubled as the trials for the national team, so had a very strong field and it was a very tough course. Luckily The Little Girl doesn't mind hills ... I took this on the walk through at about the halfway mark of the course where they had to run down over the back of this hill and up again. She came 63rd with a time of 13:32.8.


137.3m  - the elevation of Mt Cooper (above), the highest point in metropolitan Melbourne, so while the girls walked down to see where the course went I admired the views.

10 - the volume The Boy had his guitar turned to for his school winter concert. The conversation after:

The Boy: "Was there one guitar that you could hear the best"
Me: "There was actually"
The Boy: "Yep, that was me. I had the amps cranked up to 10 and I set my guitar volume on 10."
Luckily he was knew what he was doing, which given the amount of practice of those particular songs surprised me.

1 - number of soccer goals scored by The Boy ... his first ever in the Saturday competition.

43.11km - how far I ran in June. The longest was 4.86km  ... almost finished my Couch to 5K.

This week's links ...

1. Love these tiny plants in tiny jars ... I love plants on windowsills but our kitchen window sill is too thin for regular pots.

2. Herbs for a kitchen garden.

3. I love this memory keeping project - Our Story Right Now.

4. A proof reading and editing checklist for kids.

5. ... and a proforma to help primary school students with creative writing.