Totally Tasteful

Paul Merrett at Totally TastefulOn Tuesday I attended the latest cookery masterclass (courtesy of Total Greek Yoghurt) at the very shiny cookery school L’atelier des Chefs, hosted by Chef Paul Merrett.
Earlier that same day I was at a conference so, (laden with laptop, overnight bag etc.) my plan was to split from the conference early, jump on a train home, dump work stuff, pick up my camera and put a brush through my hair to be back in town for the cookery class at half six! All went swimmingly with my plan, until our lift to Stratford-Upon-Avon station had to make what felt like an action movie style u-turn because the hotel receptionist hadn’t given us the best directions.

My colleague (and fellow conference escapees) made it to our train with moments to spare and swiftly our conversation turned from corporate to cookery. Then I think somewhere between Leamington Spa and Marylebone Raymond Blanc gets on the train and sits behind us. RAYMOND BLANC!!!! The guy next to him boldly blagged a handshake but I remained silently in my seat. I love Raymond Blanc’s cookery shows, they’re always full of wonderful recipes and tonnes of boyish enthusiasm…however, I didn’t think he’d have appreciated me introducing myself in the confined space of the train carriage. Maybe I’m just a wuss but what could I have said? – “hello Raymond Blanc, that’s right I know your full name because I have seen you on TV. I’m Miriam Nice, I hope you have a lovely time cooking things. I cook things too.” – Just awful. I’d die.

Train journey (and major over-thinking) done, bags deposited and camera obtained I arrived at L’atelier des Chefs and was handed a well needed glass of champagne.

Paul kicked off the cookery lesson by showing us how to prep a squid (which I am ashamed to say I had never done before).

SquidI’ve drawn out the key points from memory so do say if you have any top tips:

Squid prep
Phil, Laura, Yuri

We then had to get into teams to cook our meal. I was paired with a marvellous trio of bloggers; Phil, Laura and Yuri (pictured above) to make a starter of Squid & Chorizo with Chickpea Puree and Coriander Yoghurt

Squid and Chorizo on Chickpea Puree with Coriander Yoghurt

…followed by Herb Crusted Lamb with Baba Ganouche & Sweet Potato Salad

Herb Crusted Lamb with Baba Ganouche & Sweet Potato Salad

and a Rhubarb & Greek Yoghurt Syllabub for dessert:

Rhubarb and Greek Yoghurt Sylabub

The meal was Totally delicious (sorry, couldn’t resist) and as one of our team members was vegetarian we not only had enormous portions of lamb but a big slab of frittata too (thanks Phil!). Then, if we weren’t quite full enough, out came the greek yoghurt goodie bags of plain yoghurt and fruity split pots – that sorts breakfast for the rest of the week 🙂

These recipes and hundreds more can be found on Total Greek Yoghurt’s “Total Eating” pages at https://www.totalgreekyoghurt.com/total-eating

x

p.s The photographer (www.satureyes.com) asked me to pose for this one…

Photo by 'Satureyes'

Photo by ‘Satureyes’

Loads more photos from the event can be seen here on Total’s facebook page.

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Yoghurt, Smoked Salmon, Prawn & Avocado Parcels

If you find yourself here chances are you’re on the Total Greek Yoghurt Treasure Hunt, welcome intrepid explorers! Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt?! Bravely sailing the seven seas for your fortune in gold and jewels, with untold dangers over the crest of every wave! I can almost taste the excitement!

But online treasure hunts are good too…
This recipe is one of 30 being published across the blogosphere! The more you find the more chances you have of winning. The prize is for this is fantastic; ok so it’s not doubloons, but it certainly is the culinary equivalent; £800 worth of kitchen equipment chosen by chef Paul Merrett – I’ve met this guy, I’d totally trust him to pick me out 800 squids worth of cookery kit, I’ve seen him make couscous out of cauliflower; he’s alright.

When Total asked me to select a recipe from their 1000 strong list I picked this recipe, simply because I love smoked salmon, I think I could actually eat it all day everyday and not get sick of it.

My trusty recipe testers; my boyfriend Richard Kieß and the awesomeness that is my friend Helen Piercy were tasked with creating a set on which the finished dish could be photographed. They had about 10 minutes and could only use what they could find in our studio.
Here they are at work:

Yoghurt, Smoked Salmon, Prawn & Avocado Parcels

Ingredients

250g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt

1 avocado, skinned, destoned & mashed
100g cooked prawns, chopped
Squeeze lemon juice
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
4 slices smoked salmon

Method

1. Mix half the avocado and half the yoghurt together and put to one side.
2. Mix the prawns, remaining avocado and yoghurt, lemon juice and parsley together.
3. Overlap two slices of salmon, and fill with half the prawn mix. Wrap into a parcel.
4. Repeat for the second parcel.
5. Serve with the avocado yoghurt dip on the side.

When I made mine I laid the salmon flat on a sheet of clingfilm, placed a spoonful of the prawn mixture in the centre, gathered the salmon over it and then twisted the cling film around it to form a sphere. I let them rest for a few minutes in the fridge before unwrapping them and flinging them on a plate with the avocado dip and some fresh watercress.

Top tips: only use the leaves of the parsley in this recipe; stalks can be a bit hard and woody.
Instead of prawns why not experiment with some poached trout or salmon.

These do taste brilliant, and so simple and quick! They definitely make an impressive, easy starter.
You would be forgiven for mistaking the filling for cream cheese but with a truck-load less calories, plus I think the avocado dip would be brilliant with other things too; spread on toast with some sliced radishes, served alongside some poached fish or used as a dip for fishcakes.

 

Total Greek yoghurt have pulled out all the stops to come up with 1000 recipes using their product. Total is the only authentic Greek yoghurt on sale in the UK. Because it is made in Greece in the traditional way it is much thicker and more robust than Greek-styled yoghurt, this makes it ridiculously versatile and can easily become a super substitute for many recipes calling for cream, cream cheese, crème fraîche, bechamel sauce, sour cream or natural yoghurt.

A few months ago I produced a dessert designed to celebrate their 1000 recipe collection and their corresponding Facebook app but I am very happy to be taking part in their treasure hunt and wish you loads of luck in finding the other recipes!

We have hidden away 30 TOTAL recipes on 30 different food blogs across the web. Can you find them? If so, you are in with the chance of winning Paul Merrett’s Ultimate Chef’s Kit, worth over £800. On the tab you’ll find clues leading to 10 of the hidden recipes and over the next few weeks, we’ll be posting additional clues on our timeline to help you find the final 20. The more recipes you find, the more times your name goes into the draw and the more chances you have to win! The recipes are part of our brand new recipe collection 1000 Ways to Love your TOTAL

Total London

I use greek yoghurt loads, it’s a fantastic hero of an ingredient which I use in all sorts of recipes…off the top of my head, right now, I can think of about 10 different recipes. I think that’s pretty good. Well, turns out 10 is rubbish; the people at Total Greek Yoghurt have come up with 1000 recipes using their product! Hats off indeed as they launched 1000 ways to love your total this week.

Greek yoghurt panna cotta

As well as uploading all these ideas to their website they had time to host an event at La Cucina Caldesi (which is a lovely little italian cookery school in central London). I was very excited to be invited and Chef Paul Merrett expertly guided us through making Salmon Rillette, Butternut Squash Tagine and a Semolina Sponge cake.


Salmon Rillettes

Tagine

Semolina Sponge

So, Total have come up with 1000 recipes, arranged an event (where I got to cook, eat, drink wine at lunch time and hang out with super food bloggers like Filipa Kay, Phillipa Moore, Alice Langley and Lynne Clark) and they gave me a whole bunch of yoghurt to take home….I feel utterly lazy in comparison.

To pay homage to my Total experience I decided to come up with a really special dish, something pretty to celebrate their efforts and a recipe not already covered by the 1000 ways campaign; tricky stuff. Scoffing one of the complimentary honey split pots I had a sugary epiphany and an idea started simmering in my brain.


My Total Dessert

Apricots poached in a cardamon syrup with crushed pistachios & honey, greek yoghurt quenelles (oh I love a quenelle) in a walnut shortbread sandwich with turkish delight pieces. (serves 2 with leftover shortbread!)

Ingredients
1 tablespoon of coarsely ground pistachios (plus a little extra for decoration)
1 Total Greek Yoghurt Honey split pot
1 quantity of Delia Smith’s Walnut Shortbread dough (see here for recipe)
10-12 whole cardamom pods
1 orange
200g of caster sugar
6 fresh apricots
1 teaspoon of rose water
icing sugar
2 pieces of rose turkish delight
Method
1) Mix the coarsely ground pistachios with the honey from the split pot & set aside.
2) Make the shortbread dough following the instructions in Delia’s recipe, roll out and cut into rectangles (approx 12cm x 5cm) and place on a baking sheet lined with a sheet of baking paper. Bake for 15-20 minutes, they should just start to turn pale golden at the edges. Leave them to cool on the tray until you’re ready to assemble the dish.

3) To poach the apricots heat 300ml of water, the cardamom pods (slightly bashed to release their fragrance) juice & zest of one small orange and the caster sugar. Bring to the boil then carefully add the whole apricots. Cover them with a piece of baking paper and let simmer for 8 minutes.
Gently remove the apricots from the syrup and set aside to cool.
Allow the syrup to reduce for another 8-10 minutes then turn off the heat and add the rose water.

4) When the apricots are cool enough to handle gently split them in half and remove the stone, cut each half into 3 wedges
Dredge 2 pieces of the shortbread with icing sugar on one side, these will become the lids.

5) Lay an un-sugar dusted piece of shortbread on each plate. Top with teaspoon quenelles of the yoghurt with small amounts of the pistachio honey in between.

6) Then add a layer of the apricot wedges, a little of the fragrant syrup, more pistachio honey and then the sugared lid.

7) Decorate the plate with left over pistachio-honey mixture, small pieces of the turkish delight (cut up using scissors) and drizzle the plate with a bit more of the cardamom syrup.