Monday, 29 June 2009

Turkish Yoghurt

Turkey is the land of yogurt in all its glory and variety. Yogurt is served alongside your kebab or as a salad with chopped cucumber in it or mixed with aubergine and garlic as a mezze. It may appear cooked with rice and spinach, or as 'mountain soup' [yayla corbasi] with a dash of fiery red pepper and dried mint to garnish it; and finally many cakes and desserts have yogurt as an ingredient.

And then there is ayran, a drink made of yogurt mixed with water and a tiny pinch of salt. This is the most refreshing drink in the scorching heat of summer. The yogurt can be made from cow, sheep or goat milk. 

The photo shows the size of pots and pails of yogurt which would last a Turkish family two or three days. I put a four-pack of western style yoghurts next to one pot to compare....

Sütas, Icim, Pinar, Yorsan,.... They are all good brands and are deliciously creamy to eat - but Turkish housewives prefer to make their own yogurt, which is far superior. So it should be, given that they first developed yogurt making when they were still a nomadic people in Central Asia over a thousand years ago.

Friday, 12 June 2009


In the interval since my last post, I've been travelling in Turkey. Although there were many other items on the agenda, I kept a keen lookout for kiosks to lounge around in.

This photo is of an open air kiosk in Konya. It is in a rooftop restaurant and is furnished with tables and chairs. No banquettes in this one! The structure gives an illusion of privacy to a family while they eat. The wooden slats form a simple but pleasing pattern. And there are colours and patterns even in the woodwork of the roof.
In the town of Konya some restaurants have set up each room like a different type of kiosk. Some are very large and ornate with silken curtains and impressive ornaments. They have antique tables and chairs in fine woods, These dining rooms are suitable for important celebrations for people in their best clothes.
Other kiosks in the same restaurant are very much closer to a nomad's tent. In these rooms you would sit or recline on a low bench covered with patterned kilims under a draped awning. The food is brought on large brass trays and placed on a low frame about two feet above the floor. When you sit cross legged or recline, you can't really eat too much. Perhaps it's worth trying the kiosk diet...?