Recipe by Claire.
I’m a massive cheese fan and this has to be the easiest cheese to make. This middle eastern cheese is soft, creamy and tart and can be made in a sweet or savoury version.
I’ve made a savoury version this time, which I served on top of baked eggs (see Baked Eggs recipe here). This can also be served on pita breads, to top salads or on top of risotto. Marinating these little cheese balls in oil will allow them last in the fridge for a week or two.
500g Thick Greek Yogurt (No lite or fat free options for this recipe!)
½ tsp Salt
200ml of Olive Oil or Rapeseed Oil
1 large red chilli
4 – 5 sprigs of Thyme
1 Lemon – Rind only
2 Garlic Cloves
1 Tsp Pink Peppercorns (Black will do if you don’t have pink)
0.5 L Glass Jar
1. Fold the cheesecloth in half so you have 2 layers of cheesecloth and lay it over a sieve over a bowl.
2. Mix the salt into the yogurt and then spoon the yogurt mixture onto the cheesecloth. Gather up each corner and using some string, tie the cheesecloth around the yogurt.
3. Hang the cheesecloth over the bowl and leave it for at least 12 hours. You can give it a bit of a squeeze, but gravity will do most of the work. The longer you leave it the firmer the labneh will be. I find 12 hours is long enough to allow you to roll the balls out but leave it for 24 hours for a firmer cheese.
4. Thinly slice the red chilli and garlic and place these in the glass jar, along with the thyme sprigs, zest of the lemon and peppercorns.
5. Opening up the cheesecloth, use a teaspoon to spoon out enough labneh to create 2 – 3 cm balls. Roll the balls between your palms and place in the jar. Once you have rolls all the mixture into balls, pour the oil over the cheese balls, allowing them to be completely covered.
6. Eat these straight away or let them continue marinating over the next week or two, for even deeper flavours.
Serve spooned over Baked Eggs for a delish breakfast
Spread on Pita Breads with hummus and pickles – This cheese makes an excellent addition to a mezza plater
Top on Pumpkin Risotto with Rocket Pesto