Chefs' Recipes

Jonathan Barthelmess's tzatziki with fresh pita

Don't settle for store-bought.

By Jonathan Barthelmess
  • 20 mins preparation
  • 25 mins cooking (plus pickling, proving, cooling)
  • Serves 4
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"Our friend Kristen Allen, in Sydney, makes the most incredible labne, which we use at The Apollo and Greca," says restaurateur Jonathan Barthelmess. "It pairs beautifully with the cucumber, roasted chilli and pita." Start this recipe a day ahead to pickle the cucumber.


  • 1 small Lebanese cucumber, halved lengthways, seeds removed and diced
  • 50 ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 dried ancho chilli (about 5gm; see note)
  • 150 gm labne (see note)
  • 1½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • Dill sprigs, to serve
Pita dough
  • 3 tsp (9gm) dried yeast
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 450 gm (3 cups) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • Dried Greek oregano, to serve


  • 1
    Combine cucumber and vinegar in a bowl and refrigerate to soften and pickle (overnight, or up to 4 days).
  • 2
    For pita dough, combine yeast with 250ml warm water in a bowl, then add oil. Combine flour and a pinch of salt in an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, add yeast mixture and knead, scraping down sides occasionally, until a wet, sticky dough forms (5 minutes). Cover with plastic wrap and leave in a warm spot until doubled in size (1 hour). Roll dough into golf ball-sized balls then, working with one at a time, roll out on a clean surface, dusting with flour to prevent sticking, into long oval shapes about 5mm thick. Cover with a damp cloth and leave until doubled in size (30-40 minutes).
  • 3
    Meanwhile, preheat oven to 120°C. Roast chilli on an oven tray until crisp (10-12 minutes). Cool, then break into flakes.
  • 4
    Heat a large frying pan or char-grill pan over medium heat. Cook pita in batches, turning when it begins to puff up, until golden and lightly charred (2-3 minutes each side).
  • 5
    Spoon labne onto a serving plate and create a well in the centre with the back of a spoon. Fill well with pickled cucumber, sprinkle with flaked chilli and drizzle with oil. Top with dill, season with salt to taste and serve with pita scattered with oregano.


Ancho chilli is available from select delicatessens and from Labne is available from select supermarkets, cheese shops and delicatessens. To make your own, drain yoghurt in muslin over a bowl in the refrigerator overnight.*Drink suggestion: Plomari ouzo. Drink suggestion by Sam Christie.