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Thursday, February 02, 2012

Labneh Inspiration

This is not my first post on labneh, as you know. The beauty of labneh is that it suits both savoury and sweet dishes and that can be combined with herbs, veggies, fruit or seeds. It can be served as comfort food or as party food and it's also ideal for breakfast paired with brown bread and black coffee. I have been mulling over some dessert ideas lately to include this wonderful delicate cheese and hopefully one of these days I will post an original recipe.

I took these pictures earlier at breakfast. We had mini & maxi labneh sandwiches, coffee and Darjeeling, and a delicious vitamin booster with ginger, tangerine, banana & kiwi .

Savoury yoghurt cheese balls with chopped mint, zataar, extra virgin olive oil & lemon juice

When I lived in Saudi Arabia, I used to buy similar labneh  balls from Tamimi, a supermaket in Riyadh. They were sold in a jar, preserved in olive oil and their texture was slightly harder. Probably the balls were not made by hand. Maybe they had a special press to shape the balls and so, squeeze all the excess water out of them. 
However, now that I am back home I do everything by hand. I buy full fat yoghurt, I strain it and I shape the balls using my palms. 

When we have guests, I always prepare labneh for starter with different salads and Middle Eastern dips. 
Today I was playing around with ideas  and I came up with this delicious mini-sandwich . This way when you take a bite you really feel the creamy taste. 

Cut out small pieces of brown bread and place a yoghurt cheese ball on top. Sprinkle with extra zataar & mint.

You could also go a long way with a bigger slice of brown bread, just place a cheese ball in the middle, drip extra virgin olive oil carefully around it and sprinkle zataar and mint on top.
Spread the cheese on the bread with a butter knife and, if you want, sprinkle extra zataar  &mint for a more intense taste. 

I hope I have inspired you and if you haven't tried labneh before, tonight if you strain some yoghurt, tomorrow morning I promise, you will have an unforgettable breakfast . 

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