Yoghurt cheese, or labneh, is a favourite and impressive appetiser that I adore. I love the creamy texture of this "cheese", spread over lightly toasted bread or crackers. It always adds 5 star power to a meze or antipasto platter. It's extremely versatile and can lend itself to a numerous combination of savoury or even sweet flavours. My preference is to marinate it in garlic infused olive oil, chilli flakes and herbs. If you're after a sweet labneh, it can be made with a splash of rosewater or combined with a fragrant honey.
1 kg of Greek yoghurt
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp crushed dried chillies
1 tblsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tblsp chopped fresh oregano
Garlic infused olive oil, enough to cover (or just add a couple of slivers of garlic cloves to your jar)
Place yoghurt over a sterilized piece of muslin or cheescloth. Bring the four corners together and tie firmly with string. Hang this bag, suspended from one of the shelves in the refrigerator, catching the whey over a large bowl. Leave for 2-3 days until the yoghurt stops dripping.
Roll the labneh into small balls and place on tray covered with baking or parchment paper, and leave overnight in fridge again, to allow the balls to dry out slightly.
Sterilize your jars by washing them and placing them in a 150 C degree oven for 15 minutes.
Lower the labneh balls into the jar, sprinkling each layer with the herbs and chillies, cover with garlic oil, and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
The labneh was a wonderful addition to a warm potato salad, also heavily laced with herbs and a delicious maridade/dressing. Kalyn, the creator of Weekend Herb Blogging, is taking time out from tending her beautiful garden, to host her event this week.
Warm Potato Salad, with labneh and herbs
1 teaspoon za'atar (Lebanese spice)
¼ cup (60ml) olive oil
salt and pepper
800g Kipfler potatoes, scrubbed and halved lengthways
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 red capsicum
1 cup picked parsley leaves
1 cup picked coriander leaves
200g labneh balls in chilli, roughly chopped
50g pine nuts, toasted
Lebanese bread, to serve
Preheat oven 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Whisk lemon zest and juice, za'atar and oil together; season with salt and pepper. Toss half of dressing over potatoes with garlic and place onto a flat baking tray. Bake 30 minutes or until crispy and golden.
Place capsicum over gas flame until blackened and transfer to a bowl; cover with plastic wrap and cool. When cold, remove black skin and tear flesh into large pieces.
In a large serving bowl, combine parsley, coriander, labneh, pine nuts, capsicum and roasted potatoes and mix gently.
Drizzle remaining dressing over potato salad and toss until evenly coated. Serve immediately with fresh Lebanese bread.