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!
oh when i saw that episode I thought they must have missed something – seemed too simple didn’t it? I must say i like the look of it marinading, I have never tried marinaded cheese – I do love feta though and I suppose that is marinaded. Yes my blog is also overspilling its (self-made) boundaries of gardening, and I am enjoying posting about the different aspects of my life as well as the garden Are you joining the urban farm handbook challenge with this post?
Oh gosh, a challenge! I remember reading your post saying you were doing it and I thought, “whew, like I don’t have enough things to do in my garden?” Now I’ve had a look at the challenge site http://www.sustainableeats.com/2012/03/01/urban-farm-handbook-march-challenge-kickoff-home-dairy/ It isn’t so scary when you see it in black and white. If I remember, I may hook up at the end of the month and check out what others have done. And I’ll keep watching what you do and may join in future months. It all looks fun and a great way to garden with a group of likeminded souls.
Laura, thanks so much for linking up! Cheese really is so simple if you want it to be. Or it can be incredibly complicated. Just like gardening, eh? xo, Annette
I find I often over-complicate things in my mind. When I finally roll up my sleeves and give it a go, most things are at least managable, if not down right easy!
Hi 🙂 Visiting from the UFHC. I love the idea of making labneh, it will be one more thing I can make myself, and do away with the store-bought cream cheese stuff. (One of my biggest goals, not having to buy any pre-made products.) Thanks!
I agree with you, I try to avoid pre-made products as much as I can. The next step has to be making my own yoghurt – I hear it’s really easy.