I am both thrilled and saddened that Bozcaada, a rustic and charming Turkish island in the Aegean, has been voted the second favourite island destination in Europe by Conde Nast readers. Thrilled because I visited the island earlier this month, before it received the award and subsequent publicity, and - inevitably - an increase in traffic. There were a few French people, but overall, the island was very rustic and a jewel of simplicity. I’m saddened because the secret is out! By the way, Mykonos took the number one spot and coincidentally, I visited it on my honeymoon in 1969 when it, too, was quiet and unspoiled. I’m sure I would notice a few changes there today.
Back to Bozcaada now … This rustic and charming island is easily accessed by ferry from Cannakale. We stayed in a small hotel close to the harbour where fishermen mended their nets and fishing boat traffic scuttled around. We ate at local restaurants and I soon discovered one that met all my criteria for taste, presentation, ambiance, etc. Lodos restaurant is a family-run business that seems to know the recipe for contented customers!
As we sat in the small dining room of the cute little building, just steps from the harbour, I felt as though we were sitting in the living room of a warm and welcoming home. The owners and their sons seemed to be natural hosts, welcoming everybody as though they were family. A fisherman came in with freshly caught fish and after some discussion and a discerning examination of his wares on the stainless counter in the kitchen, he left with a smile on his face and there were smiles on the faces of all who witnessed this refreshing suggestion of the merits of a more simple life.
When we ate our first meal there, I shared a dessert as I was very full after mezes and a delicious main course of fresh, grilled sardines. The title of the dessert we ordered intrigued me – sutlu karadut – milk pudding with red mulberry. I now call it Bozcaada Island’s Best Dessert Recipe! When it came to the table, it was so pretty and we were so keen to taste it that I forgot to take a picture! Anyway, it was simply delicious – creamy, not too sweet with a rich red mulberry sauce drizzled over the top. This was a dessert to remember! So much so that after eating at another restaurant the following evening, we made our way back to this restaurant for dessert! After ordering one each this time, I asked whether they would be willing to share the recipe. Turkan and Nejat seemed thrilled and sat down together to write out the recipe. I am sharing this with you in the hope that you will one day visit Lodos Restaurant on Bozcaada to thank them personally!
Recipe for Sutlu Karadut (Milk Pudding with Red Mulberry)
For 10 people
.5 litre full cream milk
.5 litre heavy cream
4level dessert spoonfuls of white sugar
2 (envelopes) of gelatine
4 lavender flowers
1 dessertspoon of chopped lemon (with rind on)
250 grm. white chocolate
250 grams red mulberries (or other berries)
.50 grams of potato flour or two dessertspoons sugar if berries are not very sweet
One cup of red wine
4 sticks of cinnamon
2 stems of lavendar
Combine all pudding ingredients and bring to the boil, whisking gently. Cool. Strain the liquid and discard the flowers, lemon etc. Pour the custard into small ramekins or moulds and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator about one hour before serving. Invert moulds and gently slide the dessert into the centre of a small white plate.
Heat the ingredients for the sauce. Bring to the boil and reduce the sauce until it thickens slightly. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Cool. Before serving, drizzle the room-temperature sauce over the top of the pudding and decorate the plate with lavendar flower stems.
Note: I made the dessert (picture above) for friends last night and have adjusted the measures above, slightly. In particular, I will use two envelopes of gelatine in future instead of the four originally suggested by my gracious hosts. As well, I omitted the potato flour from the sauce as my frozen raspberries were a little tart, so instead I added some sugar.