Labna: soft homemade cheese to take away the rainy blues

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Like most people in South East Queensland, we found ourselves cooped up for the long weekend.    What would traditionally be a sunny long weekend on the beach or in someones backyard, got sidelined by an ex-cyclone named Oswald! (I do love the names that they come up with for these things!)   I’m counting my blessings that we live on a rather large hill in the Ipswich region, and so beyond some rather large puddles in the backyard, we managed to keep everything safe and dry.    After a dash to the supermarket on Sunday, that turned into a bit of a wet adventure… there wasn’t much to do, beyond puddle  about(pardon the pun), creating stuff.   Stay tuned for a post on my recipe collection I am creating, but in the meanwhile I thought I would share a little recipe that I received from a friend’s blog named The A to B of Cooking.  I’ve eaten this yummy cheese courtesy of my sister many times, but never written down the recipe.  I have to thank Alice for taking the time to share it and inspiring me to finally make it for myself.

A smooth, easy to make soft cheese, Labna is tasty on toast, great used as a dip with vegetables, and requires only a few ingredients to make.  My tip would be to go with a good natural greek yoghurt (unsweetened) and make sure that the olive oil that you marinate the cheese in is of a good quality and flavour.

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Labna

  • 1 cup natural greek yoghurt
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs rosemary
  • approx 2 cups olive oil
  • cracked black pepper

Mix the salt and yoghurt and place into a loose weave cloth to allow the liquid to drain.  Tie the fabric together and place in the fridge.   The draining will probably take 24-48 hours.  I left mine for 24 hours and it was nice and firm on the outside, but could still have done with a little bit longer in the middle.  If it’s not drained properly it will be tough to roll the balls.

To create the marinade, smash the garlic with the side of your knife.  Do the same with the rosemary and place both into the olive oil.   I also added a large grind of black pepper.   To create the balls, pinch off the drained yoghurt with your fingers into approx teaspoon sized chunks and roll with the palms of your hands like you would rum balls or meat balls.   Place them into the oil.

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These will store well in the oil in your fridge for at least a week.   I’ve been eating this on sourdough toast with plenty of cracked pepper, and fresh lemon basil and its a great start to the day.

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For another serving idea, I roasted a leg of lamb for dinner last night and there was plenty of leftovers.  I’m picturing it may feature in a sandwich with green tomato pickles and plenty of fresh crisp iceberg lettuce.   Stay tuned for that post later today.

As a side note, I’m pleased to report that after day 3 of the rain and dark grey skies I was beginning to wonder if we would see the sun again, but I”m happy to say the weather is starting to return to normal with blue skies and plenty of sunshine.  It’s definitely putting a smile on my face.

Happy Cooking, and Happy Eating.

Leah

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