This is a delicious soup that is made throughout the Mediterranean, though the naming here is Greek. You have to be a bit careful with this soup because it's thickened with egg, and the egg must be tempered (that is, mixed with a bit of warm liquid). Also, the soup mustn't boil after the egg has been added. If the egg isn't tempered, or if the soup boils, the egg coagulate and you'll end up with something rather more like egg drop soup, which, though delicious, is not what you want. If done properly, this is a lovely thick velvety soup with a warming lemony flavour. Perfect for winter, this delicious soup makes an excellent starter for a hearty Greek meal.

What you need

What to do

Run a vegetable peeler along the lemons from end to end to remove long wide strips of peel, avoiding the bitter white pith as best you can. Juice the lemons; you'll need 1/4 cup (60 ml) juice.

Tie up the bay leaf, cloves and lemon peel in a piece of cheesecloth.

Bring chicken stock to a boil, then add the rice and cheesecloth bundle. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook till the rice is tender, about 20 minutes. Remove and discard the cheesecloth bundle. (If you don't want to serve the soup right away, cool it at this point and refrigerate it. Once you've added the eggs, the soup won't keep.)

Return the stock to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.

Whisk together the eggs, yolks, lemon juice until combined. Slowly ladle about 2 cups (480 ml) of stock into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, till combined. (This is the tempering process.)

Pour the egg-stock mixture back into the pot and simmer over a low heat, stirring constantly, until the soup thickens, about 5 minutes. Be sure not to let it boil.

Taste and add salt if necessary. Serve immediately, garnished with the scallion. Serves 8 to 10 as an appetizer.