LABNEH IS A THICK yoghurt cheese that can be used for both savoury and sweet dishes. I use a natural unsweetened yoghurt, ideally a Greek style as it takes less time to drain. The salt is essential for preserving the labneh for any length of time – although if you’re planning to use it within the week, you could omit it. The leftover whey can be used in smoothies, pancake batter and the like.
1kg thick-Greek style yoghurt 1 teaspoon sea salt Line a sieve with cheesecloth, mix the yoghurt and salt together and pour into the cheesecloth. Fold over the edges of the cheesecloth, and strain over a bowl in the fridge for 24-48 hours. Use as is if using straight away, or form into labneh balls as described at right of page.
Chicken fattoush salad Shred any leftover chicken and put into a salad with chopped cucumber, tomato and radishes. Cut pita or bread into wedges, brush with olive oil and bake until crisp. Make a dressing of sumac, pomegranate molasses (or any leftover chicken juices) and extra virgin olive oil. Combine together and dollop with some labneh.
Fried eggs with harissa, labneh &
dukkah For a quick breakfast (or a latenight supper), mix together labneh with harissa to taste. Fry eggs in olive oil with a few fresh thyme sprigs and serve on top of the harissa labneh, scattered with dukkah. If you have to hand a spicy tomato and puy lentil sauce, then you have the makings of a meal par excellence.
ROASTED NECTARINES, HONEYED LABNEH &
PISTACHIOS Roast halved nectarines (or other stonefruit) with some caster sugar, ground cardamom and a splash of water or brandy. Mix labneh with honey to taste. Put a generous dollop of the labneh on plates, add some nectarines and a little of the cooking syrup (or extra honey if there isn’t much syrup) and serve with chopped pistachios.
LABNEH BALLS WITH HERBS
& SPICES Roll strained labneh into walnut-sized balls, put into sterilised jars and cover with olive oil (if you like, you could add herbs to the oil). Refrigerate until required. Remove the balls from the oil and roll in your preferred mix. In the photo I’ve used za’atar; dried mint; toasted sesame seeds and chilli flakes; and finely chopped dill. Dukkah is another favourite, but try it too with sumac or finely chopped nuts. Delicious smeared on crackers or bread or with raw vegetables.