RECIPE: Strawberry, Persimmon & Papaya Yoghurts
I'm delighted to be featuring a guest post for you today... The wonderful Amber of Sweetpea Darlingheart has kindly shared a recipe for This Last Moment readers, and I'm so happy to be able to show off her lovely work here! Enjoy...
Looking after yourself, what does that even mean?! It’s everywhere in the media today, this trend that we all need to look after ourselves more, often with matching pictures of yoga retreats or the latest natural therapies, or the insistence that for a fulfilled life we just must make our house more Hygge.
I love all of those ideas! I would love to go on a yoga retreat to Bali and salute to the sun overlooking a gorgeous rice paddy field... or live in a lush and house, candles burning everywhere and gorgeous cups of tea, with a special quiet corner, draped in a gorgeous rug. But, in my everyday life, I can’t do it in the way it looks in the magazines. I can only get part of the way there: doing yoga in the morning in my pyjamas after I have cleared enough Lego from the floor to make a yoga mat shaped space, and burning a couple of candles at dinner time to make a weeknight dinner feel a bit more special.
But I guess what we all really need to figure out for ourselves is how we can take the concept of looking after ourselves and then turn it into something achievable, taking that idea of what we ‘should’ do and turning it into something that’s real and actually do-able in our everyday lives.
Maybe the key to this is embracing simplicity. And even just deciding that doing anything with mindfulness is actually an easy way we can take care of ourselves. Pick an everyday thing that you already do and allow it to hold this extra intention; the intention that by performing this simple daily act (such as preparing breakfast, or washing your face) with mindfulness you are taking care of yourself and giving yourself positive energy; filling your spirit, your mind or your belly.
I am a firm believer in using food as a way to nourish your body and your spirit - we all need to eat every day, so what easier opportunity to give yourself some love than with your food? That doesn’t mean we need to get all over the top and only use special ingredients or make it picture perfect - that, for me, would actually be missing the point. The point is to eat simply (and not slave over making anything!) and really, really enjoy it.
One way I take care of myself (and the others in my little family) is by making my own flavoured yoghurt. It makes for a really simple breakfast or snack, and by making my own it makes it feel extra special. Eating it from a glass jar makes it feel even more special too, plus it looks pretty and travels well. I can flavour it how I like it, without any added extras that I don’t want (sugar, thickeners, weird numbers or ingredients I can’t pronounce). That breakfast or mid-morning snack gets a little more respect, because I have connected to the food and put a little bit of love into it, before we’ve even eaten it.
Just buy yourself some lovely plain yoghurt and get swirling with a bit of fresh fruit. You can make yourself some delicious yoghurt, in a flavour you can’t buy in the stores, and without any strange nasties or extra sugar that you don’t need. And if you put your mind to it, that simple jar of yoghurt might help you feel that little bit more loved and special - what a simple way to look after yourself.
I use Xylitol in our house, which is a natural sweetener made from birch trees that is low in calories and doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes; it also has no aftertaste and substitutes at around the same ratio as sugar. You could easily substitute with a powdered stevia blend (or a drop or two of liquid stevia, which is much stronger) or a little honey or maple syrup. Taste as you go, and make it how you like it.
Roasted Strawberry and Vanilla Yoghurt
makes around 3 ½ cups
Strawberry has got to be one of the most classic yoghurt flavours and rightly so, but sometimes strawberry yoghurt that you buy is way too sweet and misses the fragrance that a truly ripe strawberry can have. I love roasting strawberries because it amplifies their perfume and is a really easy way to make them seriously jammy. If your strawberries aren’t so amazing roasting somehow helps bring out their flavour. I roasted mine with a little xylitol to keep the sugar levels down but up the sweetness, and a vanilla pod just because.
300g strawberries (frozen or fresh) roughly chopped
1 vanilla pod, split
1 1/2 tablespoons xylitol
+ 500g natural yoghurt
2-3 tablespoons xylitol extra (to taste)
Preheat your oven to 180° C / 350° F / Gas Mark 4. Place the roughly chopped strawberries, vanilla pod and xylitol into an oven proof dish and bake for 10 minutes until the strawberries are fragrant and syrupy. Allow to cool before stirring through the natural yoghurt, also stirring in any additional xylitol if you would like added sweetness.
Papaya and Lime Yoghurt
makes around 3 – 3 ½ cups
Papaya in the Winter time is such an exotic treat; when I was a kid we would travel to Far North Queensland (Great Barrier Reef country) every Winter to visit family and escape the cold and we would always take a drive to the Atherton Tablelands and visit a papaya farm. We would drive home with a huge box full – the skinniest ones were always the sweetest – and that would be our breakfast every morning for our entire holiday.
In Queensland we always called papaya by the name paw paw – and the red variety we would simply call red paw paw. One of my first experiences buying red paw paw in Melbourne and I was quickly corrected by the greengrocer who told me that these were in fact papaya. You say papaya, I say paw paw…
Anyway, papaya and lime has got to be one of the greatest combos out there. Top it off with a little drizzle of honey (orange blossom if you want to be fancy) and you have a delicious tropical treat. My daughter loves paw paw, so this one is her favourite. This combo would also be totally amazing paired with coconut yoghurt.
350g – 400g papaya flesh, skin removed and cut into small dice
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon honey (optional)
+ 500g natural yoghurt
In a small bowl stir together the papaya cubes, zest and juice of the 1/2 lime and the honey. Allow to sit for a little while for the flavours to mingle, then stir through natural yoghurt.
makes around 3 ½ cups
I grew up with a persimmon tree in my backyard, so persimmons are a fruity delight that I hold close to my heart. They were the only edible that grew in our yard, so it was a real treat when they were ready to eat. Harvesting involved getting up on top of a ladder and laying them all carefully into an old apple box, and storing them in the cool of the garage until they were fully ripe. There are a couple of different varieties of persimmon out there, but all you really need to know is that they are all good to eat when they are fully and totally soft. You can get some that you can eat hard and crunchy, sliced thinly into discs (and these are delicious), but beware because if you eat one of the astringent variety (the kind that are supposed to be eaten soft) when it is hard it will make the inside of your mouth feel like cotton wool – for ages.
Persimmons are just so good that they really don’t need anything extra. Up until this past season I had never even bothered to eat them any other way than ‘au naturel’. But they are so sweet and naturally saucy that they work really well stirred into natural yoghurt and topped with some nuts and coconut if you want to make yourself a proper breakfast bowl.
For stirring through yoghurt, make sure the persimmons are really squishy, like they have already turned themselves into jam, and just stir a few tablespoons of the delicious flesh directly through your yoghurt.
300g persimmon flesh, skin removed
500g natural yoghurt
Simply swirl the persimmon through the yoghurt. So good.
And there you have it! My thanks to the lovely Amber for sharing her talents here – definitely head to her blog if you are after some seriously tasty inspiration! In the meantime, take care and let me know what recipes are tickling your fancy at the moment...