Veg Box Newsletter 27th February: 7000 Years of Deliciousness

In the Veg Boxes This Week

Subject to last minute changes

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The Nice Bit

This week, I want to take a slight swerve away from the carbs we’ve been celebrating and talk about a different type of staple, something you’ll always find in my fridge and which improves my meals very frequently. I’m not claiming it’s new or rediscovered- it’s been around since around 5000 BC, was enjoyed by Pliny the Elder, and is popular worldwide. Yoghurt, that delightful product of the happy marriage of milk (or soy milk) and certain bacteria, is not exactly outré.

But that’s what we love around here, slowing down to really get granular in our appreciation. Every ingredient, however familiar, can be looked at more closely, used to greater benefit, our love for it renewed.

Yoghurt, for example, is not just good for combining with Locavore Kitchen Muesli at breakfast time. It’s also an ingredient in the softest flatbreads to elevate your mezze spread. You can use it in your pancakes for extra fluffiness and flavour. For a treat with a cuppa, try this yoghurt and citrus cake.

These aubergines with harissa and yoghurt are one of my grandma’s favourite recipes- they’re a very versatile side-dish but can also be elevated to the main event if you serve with a salad and some roasted feta and oregano potatoes. While I’m linking to Nigella, I couldn’t leave out her Turkish eggs, which are a celebration of yoghurt but also feature browned butter, aleppo pepper and dill (I bet parsley would also work) to make the most mouth-watering brunch dish imaginable. This nine-year-old listicle suggests marinating a leg of lamb in yoghurt (or making yoghurt scones, spiced labneh, or a Greek tomato soup) and certainly yoghurt-based marinades are wonderful whether you’re having a barbecue (a girl can dream) or just need a weekday dinner. Yoghurt marinades aren’t just for meat either- Yeo Valley themselves suggest a yoghurt marinade for root veg and here’s a yoghurt marinated mushrooms recipe.

And then of course there is the world of dips and sauces, from tzatziki to raita. My secret favourite is this sauce, supposedly based on a sauce used by halal chicken carts in NYC. I’ve not had the pleasure of eating the original, but this sauce, which combines yoghurt with mayonnaise, is so much better than it sounds. Try on roasted and spiced cauliflower or broccoli, or with beans and rice.

I know I always say that each newsletter is a beginning and not an end of ideas and recipes, but that’s maybe the truest it’ll ever be when we’re talking yoghurt. There’s 7000 years of delicious history to the fermented dairy delight, and to say I’ve barely scratched the surface is a understatement. And of course this doesn’t even include just spooning yoghurt onto a dish, stirring it through with jam or fruit, or- my favourite way to eat it- visiting the yoghurt pot in the fridge with a spoon in the mid-afternoon.