It is astonishing, when you consider how wonderful this Greek-style yogurt tastes, that it should also be good for you! Unlike cream, it has real tang – and the yogurt which is characteristic of the Greeks is a culinary marvel. I use it in so many ways: in wonderful frozen yogurt; in starters like a smoked mackerel pâté, made with Greek yogurt, horseradish and a little kick of cayenne with lemon juice; as a yogurt cooler over a gardener’s fiery chilli arrabbiata of vegetables and lamb; as a side dish with cucumber for roast lamb; with wonderful damson compôte stirred in as if it were a fool; it is my first choice with oatmeal for breakfast and sliced fruit in season; a pick-me-up bowlful with honey; and the basis for some wonderful sweet mousses.
My favourite recipe with yogurt?
It varies. Sometimes I’m in love with plums, poached in sweet wine with lots of cinnamon, stirred into thick Greek-style yogurt like a plum syllabub; sometimes it’s my own version of coronation chicken, but much hotter: using yogurt as a base, mix in hot red pepper sauce, lime pickle and mango chutney. Take chunks of a really good cold roast chicken, and toss the chicken in liberal amounts of the mixture. Serve it cool with chives and chopped mint. The fire of the chilli heat and saltiness of the pickles, with the sweetness of the mango chutney, all cooled down by the yogurt, is amazing.
The importance of yogurt in the Greek diet
It is as much ‘the stuff of life’ as bread: people are very proud of their own yogurt.