While we were gallivanting in the Greek islands in September we became quite fond of tzatziki, which is a staple Greek starter/mezze dish made with Greek yoghurt, cucumber and LOADS of garlic. Please don’t go kissing anyone afterwards, that’s my advice!! Unless they have also eaten it, of course!  The ingredients are simple and straightforward and so is making it. The only problem was that  the first time I made it I failed to strain the cucumber  so it was a bit on the liquidy side. Still, very edible and refreshing. It’s ideal to have with some pitta bread or crudités. There are various versions out there. I noticed, for example, that in some restaurants in Greece they were also adding some grated carrots. So I followed suit. I got my basic recipe from good old Jamie Oliver, and slightly adapted it. 


 Serves 4 to 6 as a starter

½ a large cucumber

a couple of tablespoons grated carrot (my addition. Not in the original recipe)

2 cloves of garlic

2 tablespoons quality extra virgin olive oil

1 x 500g tub of strained, thick Greek yoghurt

1 small bunch of fresh dill

a few sprigs of fresh mint 

1 lemon



Place the grated cucumber in a sieve, rest it on a bowl and add some sea salt. Give it a stir, and leave to drain for a few hours, or overnight in the fridge. Stir now and again, helping it along by pushing the liquid out with a spoon.

In the meantime, peel and finely grate or crush the garlic, then combine with the oil in a large bowl.

When most of the liquid has drained from the grated cucumber, spread it out over a tea towel and pat dry. Combine with the garlic mixture, then stir through the yoghurt until evenly distributed.

Finely chop the dill and mint leaves, then fold through the yoghurt mixture along with a squeeze of lemon juice and the grated carrot. Season with salt to taste.

Serve with warm pita or Turkish bread and crudités, or alongside salad and grilled meats.



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