Clockwise from the top: Rose flowers, a train, a rabbit and triple hearts, all drawn with fruits and sauce on yogurt. 
PICTURE: Japan News-Yomiuri
Clockwise from the top: Rose flowers, a train, a rabbit and triple hearts, all drawn with fruits and sauce on yogurt. PICTURE: Japan News-Yomiuri
Heart shapes made with plain yoghurt. 
PICTURE: Japan News-Yomiuri
Heart shapes made with plain yoghurt. PICTURE: Japan News-Yomiuri
Yoghurt art, using plain yoghurt as a canvas to create pictures with fruits and sauces, is gaining popularity. Its colourful, photogenic appearance often makes it a topic on social media and elsewhere. Drawing cute pictures and eating healthy yogurt will surely bring you a dose of relaxation.

"You don't need to use a stove and you can give it a try with ordinary ingredients. Everybody can enjoy it," said Machiko Tateno, a cooking expert who teaches yoghurt art in her class.

Beginners can start by making roses with sliced strawberries. Tateno used kiwi for the leaves and pumpkin seeds for the stems.

A train with a cute face can be completed just by arranging items like wafers, marshmallows and ring-shaped cereal. The face is a canned yellow peach. Tateno painted the gravel under the tracks by adding chocolate sauce to yoghurt to make it light brown.

The trick to making yoghurt art is using a dish one to three centimeters deep. This way, "the fruits and sauces don't easily sink," Tateno said. 
Another tip is to stir the yoghurt well with a spoon to smooth it before spreading it on a plate. Ingredients that are easily mixed with yoghurt - sauce, jam and others - should be used at the end.

"Just writing a message like 'thank you' with sauce is fine. It will enliven your communications," Tateno said. Yoghurt art is enjoyable to make, see and eat. Both your body and heart will be fully satisfied.

Vegetable salad for adults

Vegetables can be also used in yoghurt art. Making a wreath with cucumber, boiled broccoli, snap peas and black olives without seeds can add a mature touch.

Cucumber is rolled like roses after being sliced into ribbons with a peeler. The yoghurt is sprinkled with salt and coarsely ground black pepper, and olive oil is poured over it.

"You can enjoy it like a salad," Tateno said. This bright dish is great to serve to guests.

Triple-heart decoration (Serves 1)
Heart shapes made with plain yoghurt. PICTURE: Japan News-Yomiuri

Ingredients

1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 tbsp and 1 tsp. blueberry sauce
1 tsp each of strawberry sauce and chocolate sauce
Gummy candies

Method

Stir yoghurt with a spoon to smooth.
Put aside 3 tbsp. yoghurt. Add 1 tbsp blueberry sauce to the rest of the yogurt, and put mixture on a plate.
Use a spoon to divide the remaining 3 tbsp of plain yoghurt among three spots on the plate. Adjust each into the shape of a heart.
Put 1 tsp strawberry sauce, chocolate sauce and blueberry sauce into separate small bags. Cut an about 1-millimeter hole in the corner of each bag.
Squeeze sauces out through the holes to draw horizontal lines on the three hearts.
Draw lines vertical to the sauce lines with a bamboo skewer to make patterns. Arrange gummy candies around the edge of the plate as desired.

The Washington Post