Labneh is the cheese you never knew you needed. In Dubai we used to get labneh in little tubs, ready for shmearing. In Australia it appeared as the hipster equivalent to marinated feta, sold in glass jars with rosemary, thyme, garlic and pepper. It was the first ‘real’ taste of ‘home’ (Dubai) that I had in Australia and for that I will remember it ever fondly.
One of the many wonderful things about Labneh is its versatility.Labneh is enjoyed all over the Middle East in both sweet and savoury dishes. People have it for breakfast served with honey and ripe fruit or olive oil and breads. It is also common in sandwiches and salads. Obviously.
Unbeknownst to me, labneh is insanely easy to make. So easy that, people have been making it since before Jesus was born. It is even rumoured that labneh would have been served at the last supper. Pretty cool right? If religion isn’t your thing just think about the fact that you could be eating something that features prominently in one of the most famous tableau’s on the planet!! And isn’t it wonderfully ridiculous that there are people out there who study this? The food in famous paintings.. Any way I’m getting off topic. Back to the point! Labneh is super easy to make!
All you need is greek yogurt, cheese cloth and time. The most complicated part of the whole endeavour is finding cheesecloth. If you’re interested in making some labneh check out this recipe. You won’t waste much time before you start buying yogurt in bulk and start giving cheese balls to your friends. Don’t let them tell you it’s weird. Cheese is a wonderful gift and they are lucky to have you and your cheese in their lives.
Since labneh has been around since before time its self, I obviously can’t take all the credit for this recipe. People love to coat things in other things. My version however is all Australian-ed up because of the delicious macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts are indigenous to Australia didn’t ya know? They are also extremely expensive (28 euros a bag is obnoxious) if you are outside Australia. Because of this I decided to substitute the nuts for a nutty/seedy/grainy mix that I had on hand for the photos, to give you an idea of how they would be. This also speaks to the versatility of labneh. You can coat it with just about anything under the sun, so get creative!
On another note… Bush spice is a spice blend commonly found in Australia. It typically makes use of indigenous spices such as the pepperberry (a spicy berry) and lemon myrtle (strong citrusy flavour with a twist) along with a host of other more common herbs and spices. People use it to season pretty much everything and with good reason. The spicy, lemony flavour goes well on meat, fish and veg.