Sunday, July 29, 2012

TOTAL Greek Yoghurt Cookery Event

I was really excited when Alison from TOTAL Greek Yoghurt contacted me to invite me along to their Nutritional Cookery Event they were organising for us bloggers up north at The Cheshire Cookery School. As the Total 0% is a real favourite in our house I was delighted to accept. I'd been to The Cheshire Cookery school before for a Clandestine Cake Club event so had already gawped at the amazing cooking equipment and gadgets while we munched on cake, but obviously hadn't had the opportunity to try any of it out.

At the aforementioned cake club, we'd watched The Pastry King whip up one of the most delightful but heart-stoppingly unhealthy cakes I've ever seen so it made quite a nice change that on this occasion we would be learning all about healthy eating, nutrition and how we can prepare good foods using ingredients that make us perform better while feeling and looking good too.

Seeing as the event was to be all about healthy eating and keeping fit, I thought who better to invite along to keep me company than my lovely friend Kate who is one of the most healthy and fit people I know - her body is a temple and it shows - she's positively glowing!

Arriving at the cookery school was very exciting and we pulled up a pew with the other guests at the event which included Claire of Good Egg Foodie fame whose blog I already read, so it was really cool to put a face to the name.

We were then introduced to the celebrity nutritionist who would be hosting our event - Martin MacDonald whose opening gambit was to hand us a glass of his delicious 'Performance Smoothie' which he explained was made from TOTAL yoghurt, milk, coconut milk, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, vanilla whey and honey. Really lovely and creamy.

Martin was really good throughout the whole event but he did really well at bringing us all together during his presentation at the beginning which actually ended up being more of a group discussion. He made us all feel very comfortable with eachother and we were soon exchanging ideas and feeding back on the information Martin was giving us. He told us all sorts of interesting things - some which Bailey was very pleased to hear such as frying in butter and lard is better for you than processed vegetable oils, it's fine to add salt to your home cooked meals (yes!) and that we should eat plenty of dairy. Lovely stuff.

After Martin's talk we were really excited to get stuck in and get going in the kitchen. We started by baking a batch of Martin's Chocolate Chip and Almond Cookies. This was particularly exciting for Kate as it was the first time she'd ever baked anything! The cookies were really easy to make and I would definitely make them again as they tasted delicious and had a lovely texture from the ground almond flour which we used as a much more nutritious alternative to plain flour.

While our cookies were baking it was time for us to whip up our lunch. There was a choice between Spicy Fishcakes jam-packed with salmon and prawns and Thai Tofu Curry with Cauliflower Rice. Both sounded delicious but we were really intrigued by this cauliflower rice to decided to go with the curry. I'm definitely going to try the fishcakes another time though as they looked and smelled ace.

Despite mine and Kate's complete inability to follow the recipe, we had lots of fun making our tofu curry and it turned out really yummy.

We used tofu fried in coconut oil which we then mixed with some peppers, green beans and mushrooms and made a sauce out of TOTAL yoghurt, creamed coconut and water.

I was open minded and very intrigued about the Cauliflower Rice but I did expect it to be a bit of a disappointment in comparison with the real deal, and something I'd definitely struggle to get Bailey to agree to eat. I'm a bit of a carb monster and this cauliflower disguised as carb sounded a bit wacky for my liking.

The 'rice' is very easy to make - simply stick half a cauliflower in the food processor, blend, cover and microwave for 5 minutes. It actually tasted really nice - more like cous cous than rice to be honest, and I think with a few bits and bobs added for flavour it could be a real corker. I'm planning on trying out half-rice half-cauliflower next time I do a curry (can't go cold turkey straight away!), I think this would be really tasty!

Once our food was ready we went and joined the rest of the bloggers at a lovely big dining table that had been set out for us to eat at - what a treat!

After we'd eaten our dinner and had a lovely chat with everyone it was time to make our way home. But we were not leaving empty handed - on our way out of the door we were presented with a lovely cool bag (I needed one of those - picnics ahoy!) of TOTAL Greek yoghurt in all the different varieties for us to try. I have to say there are worse things to fill your fridge with than delicious yoghurt so I was a happy bunny.

Kate and I really did have an amazing time at the cookery event, it had been really well organised and we both said what a lovely way it was to spend a Friday afternoon. We learned loads of new tips to do with ingredients to be used as part of a healthy diet and it made me think about some of the things I perhaps ought to put in my mouth less often! I wanted to say a big thanks to Martin and TOTAL for inviting us and for giving us one of the most fun Fridays we've had in ages!

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