This is the easiest dinner party you’ll ever throw…
Picture this – you whip up ALL the courses the morning of, you leave them in the oven/fridge, have a relaxing afternoon – and, come evening, a radiating, well-rested host opens the door,apéritif in hand! Sounds good?
Here’s how to do it! Make good use of your food processor, prepare and chop everything in advance, add vast quantities of sumptuously creamy yoghurt, and all you’ve left to do at dinner time is light some candles and channel your inner Greek goddess.
The inspiration – and instruction – for this most perfect of dinner parties comes from new tome, Total Greek Yoghurt Cookbook – 100 Totally Delicious Recipes by Sophie Michell of Cook Yourself Thin fame.
Delicious is an understatement here. Not only are the recipes incredibly light, but they sound and look delicious, too. Combine fresh, seasonal Irish produce with some aromatic spices to create this fragrant and luscious dinner party menu to die for.
But first, let me remind you of the benefits of consuming yoghurt. A fermented, probiotic superfood, it soothes the stomach, helps digestion, reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure and boosts immunity. Greek yoghurt is a smooth and creamy variety that is lighter and contains more protein than regular yoghurt. Plus, it’s so versatile, there is nothing you cannot add it to.
The Starter | Crab cakes with tarragon, chive and lemon sauce (Serves 4)
YOU WILL NEED For the crab cakes
- 400g white crab meat
- 150g brown crab meat
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp 0% Greek yoghurt
- 1 tbsp chopped tarragon
- 1 tbsp chopped chives
- zest of 1 lemon
- 50g panko breadcrumbs
- 50ml olive oil, for frying
- salad leaves, to serve
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce
- 100g 0% Greek yoghurt
- 1 panko chopped capers in brine, drained and rinsed
- 1 tbsp chopped gherkins
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped flat-leaf parsley
- juice of 1 lemon
- pinch of cayenne pepper
- Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Place the crab meats in a large mixing bowl and check thoroughly to make sure there are no pieces of shell.
- Add the spring onions, yoghurt, herbs, lemon zest and breadcrumbs. Season and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Using your hands, shape the mixture into 12 even-sized patties. Transfer the patties to the lined tray and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- To make the sauce, place all the ingredients in a small jug, season and stir well, then set aside.
- To cook the crab cakes, pour a splash of the oil into a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and fry the cakes for about 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
- If working in batches, keep the cooked crab cakes hot by placing them on a preheated baking tray in a warm oven whilst the remainder are cooking.
- Serve the crab cakes with the sauce and some salad leaves; add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The Main | Butternut squash and sage bake (Serves 4)
YOU WILL NEED
- 1 butternut squash (approximately 800g), peeled, deseeded and chopped into 5cm cubes
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 small bunch of fresh sage leaves, roughly torn
- 300g plain Greek yoghurt
- 200g Parmesan cheese, grated
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.
- Place the squash cubes in a shallow ovenproof serving dish, approximately 15 x 20cm. Season well.
- Drizzle the oil over and toss to coat. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Mix in the torn sage leaves and yoghurt.
- Sprinkle the cheese over and bake for a further 20-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Dessert | Luscious yoghurt delights
Rose-Petal Jam and Fig Pots (Serves 1)
- 1⁄2 tbsp rose petal jam (from Asian or Mediterranean food stores)
- 170g classic Greek yoghurt
- 1 fresh fig, quartered
Mix the jam into the yoghurt and serve with the fig.
White Peach and Almond Pots (Serves 1)
- 1 tbsp roughly chopped blanched almonds, toasted
- 170g classic Greek yoghurt
- 1 white peach, peeled, halved, stoned and sliced
Sprinkle the almonds over the yoghurt and serve with the peach.
Keep it light by pairing these recipes with a Beaujolais Nouveau 2014 harvest wine, and a nice rose-petal scented Gewürztraminer for dessert. For a low-calorie option of these recipes, try the Total 0% fat plain Greek yoghurt, available in all major supermarkets nationwide.
All recipes and images above are from Total Greek Yoghurt Cookbook – 100 Totally Delicious Recipes by Sophie Michell, available from Kyle Books.
Thu 30 October 2014