Tag Archives: vanilla

Review: IÖGO 0% yogurt with stevia extract

29 Sep

Iogo stevia - all flavours 2

Disclosure:  This post is sponsored by IÖGO (Ultima Foods Inc). I’ve received a product sample and compensation for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Last week, I received a delicious delivery at my doorstep. Inside a (cold) black shopping bag with a IÖGO logo was a package of IÖGO 0% yogurt with stevia extract. The flavours: raspberry, blueberry, vanilla and mango-passion fruit. As if the flavours didn’t sound tasty enough, I saw that there was no gelatin in this yogurt, like all IÖGO products! What’s gelatin you ask? It’s a common ingredient that is derived from the collagens of animals. Ew.

So no gelatin and no artificial flavours or colours? The folks at IÖGO had my attention. To top it all off, they sweetened this yogurt with what I think is one of the products of the moment, stevia extract.

Stevia extract is a 100% natural origin calorie-free sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant. It has an intensely sweet taste and zero calories. When used in small quantities, stevia extract can replace some of the sugar generally used in food products.

Lately I’ve been experimenting with alternative natural sweeteners, so I couldn’t wait to try the product.  I set myself up with a little taste test station and to be fair, I tried each of the yogurts twice last week.

The verdict…

Iogo vanilla 2

Vanilla:  This was the first yogurt I tried and it took me few bites to really get into it. I’ve found that products sweetened with stevia need to coat your tongue first to allow you to appreciate the flavours. I would definitely enjoy the vanilla yogurt with some fresh fruit.

Iogo raspberry 1

Raspberry: I enjoyed this flavour and I could taste the raspberry in it, which I really appreciated. The colour of the yogurt was natural. I would definitely eat this again.

Iogo blueberry 1

Blueberry:  This flavour was also true to its name, with small pieces of blueberry in the yogurt. This tasted the most like other blueberry yogurts I’ve tried, so I would call this a “comforting” flavour if that makes sense!

Iogo mango passion 1

Mango-Passion Fruit: I was most intrigued by this flavour, as I’ve never had mango and passion fruit together. The result was a tangy yogurt that ends with sweetness. I would enjoy this flavour at the end of a heavy meal, as it would make for a light and tasty dessert.

Was it love at first sight/bite? Yes, I would definitely recommend IÖGO 0% yogurt with stevia extract to those who want to include a packaged fruit yogurt in their diet that is 0%, doesn’t contain any gelatin (yay!) and is flavoured by natural sources. I have a lot of respect for IÖGO as I like that they are working to bring fresh, new yogurt products to Canadians. This particular product retails for about $7.99 in grocery stores in Canada.

For more information, check out: http://www.iogoStevia.ca/

Have you tried IÖGO yogurt or others with stevia extract? What did you think?

Advertisements

Martha Stewart’s Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake

27 Jan
Martha Stewart's Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake

Martha Stewart’s Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake

My mother and father always cooked the Indian dishes in my house and in my teens, I started to experiment with pastas, soups, casseroles and baked goods, basically all non-Indian cuisine. Between my mother, father and I, we seemed to have things covered in the kitchen right? Well, after I got married, I realized that I had zero cooking skills when it came to Indian food, at least the South Indian food I grew up with. I was so embarrassed (I still am really), that I was a “foodie” who had no idea how to make dishes from my own culture. The funny part was that my mom and mother-in-law responded to my embarrassment with “Oh, that’s okay. So listen, next time you come over, can you make your spinach cannelloni? Can you bring a cake over too?” I then realized that my family actually relies on my non-Indian cooking skills!

I love to bake but given that it’s just the two of us in our home, it’s not wise for me to bake all the time. I tend to bake when there is a family gathering, since it’s easier to finish a whole cake or a dozen cupcakes with more than 10 people around. The challenge however is that my parents and in-laws tend to enjoy plain baked goods such as pound cake, while my nephews love chocolate and caramel.

I’m on a quest to find cakes that make (the majority of) my family happy, so here’s my latest find. This one is from Martha Stewart, via @nympsam from Twitter. Funny thing, she tweeted to ask how to prevent the top of this cake from browning too much while the inside was still cooking. I suggested that she should cover the top with foil and then (naturally) I asked for the recipe. She took a picture of the recipe, I Googled it and BOOM, there it was! Once again, hats off to Twitter!

Martha Stewart’s Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake 

(This glorious recipe is from Martha Stewart’s website, you can find it here – http://bit.ly/WDCVQv. The recipe remains unchanged, however I’ve added my notes in BOLD throughout.)

Prep Time

30 minutes

Total Time

1 1/2 hours + cooling

Ingredients:

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan

2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

1 cup granulated sugar (Sandy’s Notes: You can use slightly less than 1 cup if you would like to. I even made it with 3/4 cup of sugar once and I still enjoyed it).

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk, divided (Sandy’s Notes: I used store-bought buttermilk, I’ve never tried to use a homemade version for this recipe.)

1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, divided (Sandy’s Notes: See below for instructions on how to toast the sweetened shredded coconut)

1 cup confectioners’ sugar (Sandy’s Notes: This is for the icing. I used half the amount of sugar and ended up with more of a glaze on the cake, which was still tasty.)

Directions:

Sandy’s Notes:

How to toast sweetened shredded coconut: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then spread the 1 ½ cups of sweetened shredded coconut on a cookie sheet or in a baking pan and put it on the middle rack. It can take anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes to toast and you’ll have to keep stirring the coconut on a regular basis. Toast the coconut until a few pieces start to turn light brown. Any longer and you might end up burning it!  Remove the cookie sheet/pan from the oven and transfer the coconut into a bowl. If you leave it in a hot pan, it will continue to cook!

Toasted sweetened shredded coconut

Toasted sweetened shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 4 1/2-by-8 1/2-inch loaf pan. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, 8 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. Add vanilla, then eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down bowl. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with two 1/2-cup additions buttermilk, and beat until combined. With a rubber spatula, fold in 1 1/4 cups coconut. (Sandy’s Notes: You’ll have some toasted coconut left, you’ll need it for the topping at the end.)

Adding the toasted coconut to the batter

Adding the toasted coconut to the batter

Transfer batter to pan and bake until a skewer inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 60 minutes.

Sandy’s Notes: I found this cake has a tendency to take a LONG time to bake. You may find that the top has browned nicely but when your toothpick or skewer is inserted into the center it still comes out wet after 60 minutes. If that’s the case, cover the top of your cake LOOSELY with a piece of foil and put it back in the oven for a few minutes. This will help the inside cook but keep the top from burning.)

Let cool in pan on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet, 1 hour. Remove cake from pan and let cool completely on rack. (Store at room temperature, wrapped in plastic, up to 4 days.)

The finished product, cooling down. Wait, there's one more step!

The finished product, cooling down. Wait, there’s one more step!

Whisk together confectioners’ sugar and remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Drizzle over cake and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup coconut.

Sandy’s Notes: You could skip this step if you don’t want to add anything to the cake, but it really looks and tastes great with the icing and toasted coconut. I used half the amount of icing sugar and created a lighter glaze, which worked out just fine. 

Put a plate or baking sheet under the cake when you're icing and topping it with toasted coconut, otherwise you'll have a bit of a mess on your hands

Put a plate or baking sheet under the cake when you’re icing and topping it with toasted coconut, otherwise you’ll have a bit of a mess on your hands

The verdict: This was one of the most delicious cakes I’ve ever made and it was a huge hit with my family! The buttermilk keeps it really moist and the bits of toasted coconut are delicious. A slice of this cake is perfect with a cup of coffee, tea or even better, some chai (spiced Indian-style tea). Enjoy!

The Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake getting devoured mmmm

The Coconut-Buttermilk Pound Cake getting devoured mmmm

Mary Luz’s Pastel Tres Leches

25 Feb

Those of you who know me personally know that I’m a huge fan and active user of Twitter. The information I’ve received and the experiences I have gained in the past 4 years have all been due to this magical 140-character messaging system. Through Twitter, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a number of great people, many of whom are professionals in food and one such woman is the lovely Mary Luz Mejia@maryluzonfood on Twitter (Note:  follow her on Twitter and you will learn a lot about food!).  I was on the hunt for a great Pastel Tres Leches recipe and she was more than happy to share hers.

Pastel Tres Leches (from Spanish, “three milk cake”) is a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk: evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream. Yes, I know that that sounds extremely decadent but if you consider the fact that you will only eat a small piece of it (or at least attempt to!), it doesn’t sound so bad right?  : ) I first tried this incredible cake at a restaurant a few years ago and I was hooked. I will refrain from sharing the name of the restaurant because sadly, they stopped making this cake the way they originally did (serious mistake on their part!).

This cake has a wet texture which is similar to a few East Indian desserts such as Ras Malai and Rasgulla. Based on this, I thought my family would enjoy it and I was right…they ate the whole cake!

Mary Luz recommends serving it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream and mango slices. I served it with whipped cream and Bon Maman’s Caramel Spread (Dulce de Leche), to add more decadence : )

Mary Luz Mejia’s Pastel Tres Leches

(The original link for Mary Luz’s recipe is located here on the Edible Toronto site at http://bit.ly/w7Gc5D )

Makes 10 servings

Cake

5 large eggs, separated

1 cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup whole (3.25%) milk

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cream of tartar

For the milk syrup

1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk

1 cup sweetened condensed milk

1 cup whipping (35%) cream

1 tbsp dark Cuban rum (Note:  I didn’t have any at home so I used Captain Morgan Dark Rum)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

My garnish

Fresh lightly sweetened whipped cream

Bon Maman’s Caramel Spread (Dulce de Leche)

To make the cake:  Generously butter a 13- x 9-inch baking dish; set aside. In a medium bowl, beat the egg yolks and ¾ cup of the sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the milk and vanilla. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture. Using a rubber spatula, mix until just combined.

In the bowl of an electric mixer (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks, then add the cream of tartar. With the machine running, gradually add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are glossy and firm but not dry. Gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Spread the batter evenly into the baking dish.

Bake in a preheated 350º F oven until the cake feels firm when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Let the cake cool completely in the baking dish. Pierce the cake all over with a fork, taking care to not tear it.

To make the milk syrup:  In a large bowl, whisk together the evaporated milk, condensed milk, cream, rum and vanilla. Pour half of the syrup evenly over the cake, waiting until the syrup is absorbed before spooning more on top. Continue to add syrup to the cake until all of the syrup has been absorbed. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and allow to chill in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight.

Garnish: When ready to serve, cut a slice of cake and plate it. I spread some fresh whipped cream onto the piece and drizzled it (ok, so I loaded it!) with Bon Maman’s Caramel Spread (Dulce de Leche). It was delicious!

Muchas gracias Mary Luz for sharing this recipe, I don’t think I will ever order it in a restaurant again!

%d bloggers like this: