Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

White Yoghurt Soup

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This summer we had a wonderful family holiday in Turkey staying at the delightful boutique hotel, Dionysos. The hotel was the brainchild of the owner Ahmet who 8 years ago set about creating a cluster of pretty stone cottages, the main hotel and stunning infinity pool overlooking a dramatic canyon which sweeps down towards the Kulumbuk bay. This was in fact our second visit, and as we never repeat holidays as a rule just goes to show how much we enjoyed ourselves. The staff were the best we’ve encountered, welcoming, charming, informed, always there when needed but never in your face – perfect. We really wanted to take them home with us and it was quite a wrench to leave again. In fact the staff hadn’t changed from last year to this, they are like one big extended family looking out for each other and this shows which again is exceptional in a tough business like theirs.

The other reason to visit the Dionysos is the amazing cooking. Ahmet’s daughter, Didem Senol trained as a chef in New York and then Istanbul before becoming the chef at the Dionysos. Her cooking is creative, exciting and uniformly delicious. She and her fantastic team scour local markets and use produce from the Dionysos farm further up the mountain. From the start Ahmet created an organic farm growing a lot of the vegetables, olives, fruit and herbs used in the hotel. More recently he invested a considerable amount of money in building an olive pressing unit to extract their own oil. Their extra virgin olive oil is a very high quality oil which they use in all their cooking. The oil is called Amos organic olive oil and is the oil extracted from the early harvesting of their olives around the farm and Dionysos estate. Amazingly they won a coveted award at the annual olive oil “Oscars” in Italy the first time they entered last year! Amos olive oil is now ranked in the top 100 extra virgin olive oils in the world. Not bad for a fairly new venture. Sadly they don’t produce enough to satisfy both the Dionysos requirements and commercial outlets so you can’t buy it except at the Dionysos. Fortunately this year Didem has put together a wonderful book containing a lot of her recipes which I highly recommend. Called Aegean Flavours it is a great way to sample her take on the best of Turkish ingredients in ways I would never have tried. However one recipe which isn’t in the book is the following recipe for White Yoghurt Soup which my husband adored and so I got Unda to tell me the recipe on our last night. Here it is with a few tweaks as I was slightly worse for wear when he dictated it to me after several Margharita’s!

White Yoghurt Soup

This amount will serve 10:

2 litres water

100g  easy cook rice

Mix the above ingredients and cook for 15 mins until the rice is cooked.

500g natural yoghurt

1 free range egg

125g plain flour

1 litre water

half lemon juiced

small handful of oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

handful chopped mint

small handful chopped tarragon or 1 tsp dried tarragon

handful chopped parsley

1 tablespoon salt

pepper

1 x 400g tin drained chickpeas

50g butter

Mix all together except the chickpeas and herbs and bring to a gentle simmer. Use a whisk to stir in the flour as it tends to clump. Add the butter and herbs followed by the chickpeas, continue simmering for a few minutes and serve.

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Written by Sarah

September 14th, 2010 at 9:03 am