This is a gardening blog but sometimes it’s a bit of a stretch between what I post and my garden. Like today. This post is, on the surface, about me making labneh. But it is also about my garden. If nothing else, I ate basil, oregano and onion greens from my garden with my labneh. What this post is really about is the convergence of ideas that inspires me in my gardening. Recently Africanaussie posted on her gardening blog about making cheese as part of a challenge on the Sustainable Eats blog. Cheese making is something I’ve thought about doing for a long time. Then, this week Better Homes and Gardens, a TV show with lots of stuff including gardening tips, ran a segment on making labneh – a mediterranean cheese made from yoghurt – and BAM, I wanted to make “cheese”. Which I did on the weekend. It’s as simple as:
- Mix a dollop (as much as you want) of yoghurt with a pinch of salt in a bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight.
- The next day, pour the yoghurt into a cheesecloth, tie it up and suspend it over a bowl in the fridge allowing the whey to seep out.
- The next day (and for a few days thereafter) you can take the labneh out of the cheese cloth and you have something very like (but lower in fat than) cream cheese.
Yesterday I baked a couple of loaves of ciabatta (the only bread that my bread machine can’t help me with) and spread the labneh on a slice, warm from the oven. Topped it with basil, oregano and onion greens from my garden and a slice of tomato and had a cheesy bruchetta for lunch. This small portion of cheese didn’t last long. Next time I’ll make enough to marinade some of it (cut it up and put it in olive oil spiced with goodies like garlic). I love marinated soft cheese. The labneh is tasty, simple and another arrow in my quiver of things I can make from basic ingredients rather than buying already made. Which is one of the major driving forces behind my garden – I want to make as much as I can from ingredients as close to their source as I can get them. Doing so is almost always better for the environment, healthier, tastier and cheaper. That’s a win-win-win-win proposition!