I have developed a whole new and dangerous habit. It may be the most dangerous eating discovery since my mum suggested putting slices of haloumi in the the toasted sandwich maker: strained Greek yoghurt. Youghurt, I hear you ask, what could possibly be so bad about yoghurt? I will tell you: in the last 5 days my family has purchased and eaten 1.5 kg of yoghurt. This approximately doubles the amount we would normally consume in an entire month. Now I haven’t looked at the nutritional data but from the smooth creamy way it slides down your throat I’ll take a wild punt and say it’s not exactly fat free. And what makes this normally mundane supermarket product so very special all of a sudden? I have started straining it. That’s all. If you you plop your yoghurt into a fine sieve and suspend it over a bowl for at least 12 hours, the excess liquid gradually drains away and leaves you with a semi-solid yoghurty delight. It’s so simple I won’t even provide a recipe (just remember to use a Greek style of yoghurt), I’ll give you instead a travelogue of my last few days of immersion in Mediterranean culture.
On day one I used it as the basis for an embarrassingly simple yet incredibly tasty breakfast: one sliced beautiful banana from my weekly Birregurra Organics box, some lovely dollops of yoghurt, a drizzle of raw organic honey and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Just too easy, and I can’t even tell you how good it was followed by an especially good triple espresso from my beloved Bialetti Brikka (temperamental as a racehorse but when it’s having a good day you won’t get a better coffee anywhere, especially if it’s running Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, but that’s a whole other story…).
On day two, I noticed that some of the above mentioned organic bananas were getting too brown to eat. What’s a girl to do but make banana muffins? Breakfast on day three is basically a repeat of day one except that the bananas are now in muffin form…that’s OK, isn’t it?
Day 4 sees a return to healthy usage: a dollop of yoghurt on top of a bowl of brown lentil soup. Its a yummy soup and a popular favourite, laden with vegies, full of coriander, cumin and tumeric and blasted with lemon juice and handfuls of rocket at the end. The yoghurt makes an already lovely soup deeper and creamier. Day 5 saw the re-appearance of the yoghurt at dinner and still no-one in my family is indicating that my new culinary friend might have outstayed its welcome. Tonight it was made into tzatziki to be smeared on minted zucchini and sweetcorn fritters and mixed through wilted beetroot greens. I love beetroot greens and these were a luscious armload from my very own garden. A really lovely vegetarian meal.
So all I can say is, go to the Supermarket. Buy a big whack of Greek yoghurt. Strain it and see where your fancy takes you. I predict you, too, will fall in love with this lovely Mediterranean culture.