I am a sucker for those articles that tell you how to make the type of products you normally buy. You know the ones, with pictures of East London/Portland/Brooklyn types with plaid shirts, tattoos and massive beards standing outside the shed on their allotment that they use for home smoking their own duck prosciutto, or ridiculously photogenic young couples on farms posing with their pet goats, Poppy and Sunflower, whose milk they use to make their own organic cheese with. I love the idea of making my own cheese, smoking things, preserving things. I just never do it. I bought cheese cloth with great intentions, but instead I just make labneh. It’s straightforward and quick to make and provides just the right amount of smug DIY satisfaction. Labneh is a traditional Middle Eastern strained yoghurt ‘cheese’. Basically you just buy some thick yoghurt, and strain it through cheesecloth for a day or two with some salt, garlic and spices until it has a thick, smooth consistency and a rich tangy flavour. You can use it as a dip with some crispy pitta bread, as a substitute for cream cheese, dress some roasted vegetables with it or really anything you fancy.
- A tea towel sized piece of cheese cloth or muslin
- 250g natural or greek yoghurt
- 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1-2 teaspoons chili flakes of your choice (plus a bit extra for topping)
- 1-2 teaspoons dried dill (as above)
- 1 teaspoon zaatar
- A pinch of salt
- Olive oil
- Line a sieve with the cheesecloth, folded to make a double layer.
- Add the yoghurt and remaining ingredients besides the oil and stir well to combine.
- Leave in a fridge overnight over a bowl to drain the excess liquid.
- Grab the corners of the cheesecloth in the morning to form a bag and squeeze the labneh well to drain out any remaining liquid.
- Serve topped with some extra dill, chilli flakes, chopped fresh chili if you have it, and olive oil.