Saturday 14 July 2012

1000 Ways to Love Your Total - A Masterclass with Paul Merrett

The hottest day of the year probably isn't the best day to trek into London and navigate the underground, but that's what I found myself doing recently when I was invited to attend an event with Total Greek Yoghurt. They are promoting 1000 Ways to Love Total Yoghurt and so have teamed up with celebrity chef Paul Merritt to design some dishes which showcase the great role yoghurt plays in food. The day was held at Casa Castillo in London. I was excited to get the chance to cook in a professional kitchen full of fantastic equipment. I was also excited to meet some other lovely bloggers, and cook some delicious food. We formed ourselves into teams and I found myself in a team with Gourmet Mum, Miriam Nice, and Alice from an Essex wife. We had a starter, main course and a dessert to prepare in each team.

We began with the dessert - a Poppyseed and Orange Cake. We quickly divided up jobs and got busy weighing, measuring, mixing and stirring to prepare our cake. It almost felt a but like we were on Saturday Kitchen!, talking and finding out about each other as we cooked. I think that cooking a dish together is very uniting as you have to work together as a team to produce something, so it definitely brings people together. It was lovely to find out more about my fellow bloggers as we cooked.

After this we prepared our Starter - a vegetarian Ginger Beer Battered Broccoli Tempura served with Mango Yoghurt Dip for Skinny Latte and myself who were vegetarian. Paul was going prepare the tempura at the last minute and so myself and Alice got busy making the dip. I had never realised how simple a dip could be - yoghurt, mint sauce and mango chutney, mixed together = a fantastic, delicious fruity dip for tempura.


Finally we made our Mediterranean Tagine served with Yoghurt Dip. This is a fantastic Vegetarian dish. Paul had said the the extent of many vegetarian dishes in restaurants typically only stretched to risotto, but Paul really outdid himself with this dish as everyone - the meat eaters and the veggies were impressed with it. The Tagine contained red onion, peppers, butternut squash, and a wonderful spice mixed which had to be dry cooked. Then we added tomatoes, chickpeas (my fave) water, and some olives. By the end of  cooking, the Tagine looked absolutely amazing. 

Once the Tagine was cooked, we finished preparing our cake and Paul showed us how to make Cauliflower Couscous - which isn't actually cous cous - you cut off the heads of the cauliflower, whizz them int the food processor, wrap them in muslin & then steam them over some boiling water for around 10 minutes. Cauliflower Couscous makes a great addition to the tagine and it's full flavour and light taste are the perfect balance to the tagine.

When the food was cooked, our functional kitchen workspace was transformed into a dining room thanks to Paul's fabulous assistants. We were then able to enjoy the fruits of our labour as we all sat down for dinner together - a fabulous way to finish the afternoon.

It was lovey to find out to more ways to cook with yoghurt. As Paul said for him, yoghurt is something he uses in his cooking almost every day and I do too. It is always something we have in our fridge. The whole day was absolutely fantastic. I had a wonderful time and I learnt lots. It was great to be inside a working kitchen and I found out so much about food. I cant wait to attend an event like this again. Thanks to Total Greek Yoghurt for inviting me, and to Paul for showing us his yummy recipes. There are hundreds of ways to cook with Total Yoghurt on the Total website, including recipes and serving suggestions

Disclosure: I was invited to this event and received a goody bag of yoghurt for attending. All views are my own and I was not asked to write this post.

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