Hands up if you know what labneh is???
It’s ok, neither did I until I started to get obsessed with Middle Eastern foods. Labneh is basically strained dairy similar to cheese but a lot less hassle. The first time I made labneh, I needed milk, cream and a liquid thermometer…I know not an item in every kitchen drawer. So as always that set me a challenge, could you make labneh with yoghurt and no thermometer? You’ll be happy to hear that yes you can and it is delicious.
The quality of the yoghurt you use will make a difference to the flavour of your labneh. I love to use Glenisk goats yoghurt but I think a version using Velvet Cloud’s sheep yoghurt would also be a great option. I used the news goats yoghurt from Glenisk but natural yoghurt can also be used.
The liquid that strained off is called whey and can be used as a stock in soups, fish pies, pasta dishes, your morning porridge or overnight oats. Whey is just the watery, cloudy liquid that you find on the top of your yoghurt so nothing to be afraid of!
The olive relish is divine on its own and it will keep fresh in the fridge for at least 5 days.
Serves 5 as a side.
- 500g goats or plain natural yoghurt (I used Glenisk Goats Yoghurt)
- 1 sweet red pepper, halved and de-seeded
- 50g almonds
- 100g pitted black olives
- 1 tbsp capers
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- Place a sieve over an empty bowl. Place a brand new never before used J-cloth on the sieve or else a piece of thin linen cloth. If you don’t have a sieve place the cloth into a tall jug.
- Place the yoghurt into the centre of the cloth. Tighten the cloth around the yoghurt and immediately whey should begin to seep through the cloth into the jug or bowl. Either knot or tie the cloth with an elastic band just above where the yoghurt has gathered.
- Rest the cloth in the sieve with the whey running free or use a wooden spoon to suspend the yoghurt from the top of the jug. Place in the fridge for at least 8 hours or ideally overnight. If I haven’t explained things all that well then follow this link for a step-by-step guide with pictures!!
- Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F.
- Arrange the red pepper on a baking tray skin side up and roast in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the skin begins to blister.
- Place the almonds in a small roasting tin or ovenproof frying pan and roast for 7 minutes.
- Blitz the olives in a food processor until they form a finely chopped consistency you don’t want to turn them into a paste! Scrape from the food processor into a jam jar.
- Next, add the roasted almonds with the capers, lemon juice and parsley to the food processor and blitz until a rough paste is formed. Add this mixture to the jam jar.
- Stir through the lemon zest and oil.
- Remove the yoghurt from the fridge, give the cheesecloth one final squeeze to ensure all the whey has been removed and release the knot. The yoghurt should have formed a round semi-solid shape forming labneh.
- Spread the labneh on a serving dish. Spread half of the olive relish on top, cut the roast peppers into slices and add on top.
- Serve as is or with some crusty sourdough, vegetable sticks or crackers.
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