18/09/2005

Tzatsiki (aka yogurt-cucumber dip)

500g Greek-style thick yogurt
1 small cucumber or 1/2 large
1 clove garlic (optional)
1 tsp dried mint

Method:
grate the cucumber (unpeeled), crush the garlic if used, and stir into the yogurt. Transfer to a dish and sprinkle the mint on top. Give a couple of swirls with a spoon to mix it in slightly.

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This is a traditional Middle Eastern dish which is often served in Cyprus as a dip, with pitta bread. It goes well as a side dish with many main courses too. It can be bought ready-made at supermarket delicatessans, but is quick and easy to prepare at home. In Cyprus the cucumbers are small, about the size of courgettes, similar to the size of American cucumbers but with softer skin. However British ones are a lot bigger - hence you would probably not need a whole one unless making double quantity.

As with most recipes, exact quantities can be adjusted to suit personal tastes. If when it's made there doesn't seem to be much cucumber in the mixture, add some more. If you like garlic a lot, put in two or three crushed cloves.

Sausage Tomato Bake

sausages - meat or vegetarian, about 3-4 per person
oil for cooking (olive is best)
onions, chopped - one large for each 3-4 people
canned chopped tomatoes - one 400g can per 2-3 people
worcestershire sauce (optional) - a few drops

Method:
Cook the sausages in a little oil until lightly browned, either in the oven in an ovenproof dish or on the stove in a frying pan. Meanwhile, fry the onions gently in a saucepan pan until softened and translucent, then stir in the tomatoes and bring to the boil.

Put the sausages in an ovenproof dish if you cooked them over the stove, and pour the tomato mixture carefully over. Sprinkle on a few drops of worcestershire sauce, if used, and cook in the oven at about 180C for 20-30 minutes.

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This is such an easy recipe! I discovered it about 25 years ago on a cookery card, and have made it many times over the years. In our family two of us prefer veggie sausages, and two prefer meat; I buy (frozen) Walls pork sausages and Linda McCartney vegeterian sausages, and cook them in separate dishes then divide the tomato-onion mixture between them. A strict vegetarian wouldn't use worcestershire sauce.

I tend to serve this with baked jacket potatoes, broccoli and peas.