Swine and Cheese

A passion for Pigs and Food

Archive for the ‘Food products’ Category

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


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.


Written by Sarah

September 14th, 2010 at 9:03 am

Farewell little pigs

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There hasn’t been much to report on our three Gloucester Old Spot pigs that hadn’t happened to our last three rare breed pigs. Twice a day stand well back and sling a bucket of food in the general direction of trough and repeatedly go out to refill their water butt which they love up-ending! I don’t know how they managed to do it but every time they splashed me with mud. Because they insisted on knocking over the water butt we ended up with a small corner pond next to the butt which never dried out. Like the last pigs they loved rolling, sitting and walking around in this muddy sludge and because they were so greedy and assertive they would jump up at the fence whenever they heard me coming, hence the splatterings!

Anyway this last Monday was D-Day for them. This time Neale had booked them into a relaunched abattoir at Bishop’s Castle run by a consortium of local farmers/producers which seemed to be a well run, small operation. There Fatima, Flora and Freya were unloaded along with a variety of other rare breed piggies. Unlike last time I didn’t have any pangs of guilt or sadness, just relief at not having to get changed again every morning! This time I was present during the butchering. Glynn and Radek did a splendid job of creating an enormous number of a variety of joints, chops, boned and rolled bellies as well as producing a nice stash of sausages from all the trim, and a lot of face meat for Neale to attempt brawn. Wow, what a taste sensation that was. Absolutely delicious, so succulent and tasty. Served with our Dukeshill Piccalilli and one of our lettuces from the garden it was a sublime summer lunch. Slightly fattier than our Dukeshill potted ham hock and with a subtly different flavour it took an age to make, mostly because it was so fiddly to remove the meat from the fat, so in fact using the head meat from our three pigs we only managed to produce two loaf tin sized brawns. We will keep you posted as to how the brawn development at Dukeshill goes!



Written by Sarah

July 11th, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Honey and pistachio drizzle cake

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This recipe is adapted from one featured in this months Olive magazine, an excellent foodie magazine which we subscribe to at Dukeshill. I noticed that the ingredients comprised three of my favourite things, honey, olive oil and pistachios. Having just launched our great friend, Susie’s olive oil this month at Dukeshill, been inundated at home with eggs and having twenty or so jars of our home produced honey left it seemed the perfect recipe to try. My capricious chickens being rare breed girls produce when they want to but by goodness they’re worth the wait! You can see how yellow all our eggs are from the colour of the sponge above but then we do have the most spoilt hens in the world. They are fed on ridiculously expensive organic layers pellets and corn and are allowed to roam round an acre of orchard. We go from feast to famine but at the moment it is very much feast on the egg front. I end up giving eggs away to anyone who pops round whether they want them or not! I also wanted to use up our delicious, runny honey Neale harvested from his bees last summer before he harvests the next batch shortly.

I have doubled the quantity of honey for the size of the cake as it was much more squidgy when drenched with the delicious honey/pistachio syrup. Our lunch guests seemed to really enjoy it. In fact the photo was of Bill’s plate who I had to restrain whilst taking the photo! Perfect with some fresh English strawberries and cream or Greek yoghurt.


5 properly free range, organic eggs

225ml Greek yoghurt

225g golden caster sugar

100g ground almonds

zest of 2 oranges

zest of 1 lemon

150g plain flour

200g semolina

2 teaspoons baking powder

200ml Fino olive oil

Syrup topping

150g shelled pistachios, toasted and crushed

300ml runny honey

juice of 2 oranges

juice of 1 lemon

This is really dead easy. Just mix together all the sponge ingredients in a bowl and put in a large cake tin greased with olive oil and dusted with flour. Bake at 180′C/350′F or the top of the baking oven of an Aga for 50 mins or until an inserted knife comes out cleanly. Leave to cool slightly for 15 minutes then cut the top of the cake all over.

Meanwhile place the toasted pistachios in a dry frying pan and heat then add the honey and orange and lemon juice and bubble for two minutes. Allow to cool for 10 mins then pour the nutty syrup over the cake, still in the cake tin and leave for 30 mins to allow the syrup to be soaked up by the cake. It’s easier to serve straight from the cake tin.

Serves 10-12


Written by Sarah

May 30th, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Fino Olive Oil

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Fino Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Fino Extra Virgin Olive Oil

You may remember from my previous post, “Andalucia Trip”, how much I raved about the wonderful olive oil produced by our friend Susie Taylor. Using olives grown in her olive groves around the Andalucian town of Casarabonela she produces a range of superbly, robust and extremely tasty olive oils. I am delighted to let you know that we are about to launch 2.5 litre tins of her fabulous Andalucian extra virgin olive oil available exclusively through Dukeshill. This quantity seemed just the right amount for us to be offering based on our own personal usage at home and the typical quantities ordered by a Dukeshill customer. We use it every day in all sorts of ways. Since coming back from our weekend at Susie and Rupert’s stunning villa in Casarabonela, we have adopted the habit of having crusty bread dipped in Fino olive oil, lemon juice and seasoning for the odd breakfast. With just a simple orange it is a divine way to start the day rather than the ubiquitous cloying, sugary cereals and sugary spreads. Invaluable in dressings, in soups, for baking, grilling, roasting, marinading and even neat! I use the oil when baking cakes when I want them to be particularly moist such as for carrot cake, in vegetable dishes such as aubergines with honey, potatoes and garlic, in gazpacho etc…. It’s versatility is endless and if I had to list my top ten cooking essentials this would most definitely be one of them. Fascinating to go back thirty years when it wasn’t readily available in the UK or even mentioned in cookery books. My Mother never, to my knowledge, used olive oil at all until the eighties and yet it is now everywhere. How our eating habits have changed, though sadly for many families still not for the better. However that is not the case with Susie’s fabulous oil in your larder!

Olive oil is, and always has been, a staple of Spanish life as it is in most Mediterranean countries, and has become increasingly so in the UK in the last decade. Spain is the world’s largest producer of olive oil and there are over 100 million olive trees in Andalucia alone – they adorn even the tiniest plots of land – every Juan Dick and Harry has one!  Some of the olives are marinated with delicious herbs and then eaten but the majority are pressed for olive oil. Olive oil classification is fairly complicated, like wine, but the highest grade oils are “extra virgin” (which means they have an acidity level of no more than 1%).  This Fino olive oil is an “extra virgin” oil blended from a variety of olive types grown in and around the village of Casarabonela – arbequina, hojiblanca, manzanilla – it is great for salad dressings, drizzling, oven roasting, baking, sauteeing or just dipping – the great flavour will perk up even the plainest cooking.  And don’t forget it’s really healthy too.  Do give Susie’s Fino oil a go and see what you think.

Don’t forget for smaller quantities and for the delicious Fino blended oils you can order direct from Susie at Fino.


Written by Sarah

April 14th, 2010 at 11:32 am

Andalucia trip

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Susie & Rupert's finca

Susie & Rupert's finca

About 50% of the living/kitchen area!

About 50% of the living/kitchen area!

Luckily for us Neale and I were invited to stay last weekend with our great friends Rupert and Susie at their stunning Spanish finca set in olive groves near to the town of Casarabonela in Andalucia. Called El Pueblecillo the finca is the culmination of a three year adventure Susie, Rupert and their three children took back in 2003. The idea was to immerse themselves in Spanish life completely, learning to speak Spanish fluently and to navigate the unbelievably complicated local planning laws and the black and white markets(!) involved as well as making many friends along the way. To their credit Rupert and Susie threw themselves and Emily, Ben and Eliza into Spanish life. The kids were taken to the local school and left to fend for themselves and Rupert and Susie took Spanish lessons whilst at the same time searching for that elusive plot of land with a ruin (plus roof) to renovate. Apparently you can only renovate if there is a roof still attached! Finally after nearly a year of searching they found their dream location and plot. Two years of hard work later they have created what must be the most beautiful Spanish home I’ve ever seen. It is just that, a home, not a holiday home. Susie’s family are incredibly artistically talented, St Martins School of Art and Slade being the two art schools various family members have attended. As such Susie’s flare for not only interior design but the whole vision of what she wanted to create for her family has resulted in a home of generous proportions and amazing light, art, panoramic views of the surrounding olive groves and overall beauty.

The swimming pool

The swimming pool

Rupert & Susie with olive grove in background

Rupert & Susie with olive grove in background

Rupert and Susie returned to the UK to live three years ago so that their children could attend English schools for their senior education. Fortunately they were able to to keep their Spanish home with a view to spending winter months there in their retirement, many years off! The finca is available to rent from rsvillas and I would highly recommend it. Six large bedrooms, multiple bathrooms/wetrooms and a vast, stunning living/kitchen area with enormous fireplace and views. Also a wonderful swimming pool, boules pitch, trampoline and numerous shaded areas for sleeping or reading and an idyllic setting only 40 minutes from the coast, with day trips to Cordoba, Granada and Seville possible. Picking what must be the juiciest, tastiest oranges from their orange trees by the swimming pool for breakfast was simply wonderful. To be honest though when you’re there you’ll probably just want to sit outside in the sun (22′C daytime temp this Feb weekend!) cradling a very large glass of delicious local wine, dipping bread into the divine olive oil Susie has made from their own olives whilst soaking up the view and tranquility. Heaven!

Susie’s oil business Fino has now grown to the extent that not only does she use her own olives but also the locally grown olives from various friends’ groves surrounding Casarabonela, cold pressed at the local co-operative to produce a range of extra virgin olive oils which she imports, decants into beautiful bottles and sells both by mail order and at various fairs. At Dukeshill we used to stock an excellent extra virgin olive oil called Mani Olivenol Blauel made by Friedrich Blauel, an Austrian who set up his olive oil business in the Messinia region of Greece. His olive oils have won many awards and his oil was featured recently on the BBC Radio 4 food programme. Green with a herby smell and slightly peppery after taste it was delicious. Susie produces a single variety oil, a blended oil and several infused versions using the blended oil with fresh basil, garlic lemons or chilli.

I have to say although I love the Mani oil it is quite an intense taste and since we delisted it from our product range, due to poor sales, I have consumed vast quantities of Susie’s oils, slugging platefuls of food with her delicious blended oil. It is now the only olive oil I use. If ever I ended up on a desert island I would hope it would be with a never ending supply of this! I highly recommend it to you.


Written by Sarah

February 8th, 2010 at 7:00 pm