Sunday, August 18, 2013

How To Make Labneh

Some days are not magic. Some days you will wake up sure that your jeans have mysteriously shrunk at least one size, your brioche bread will not rise properly, you will look at the clock at least five times every hour, only to find that time has decided to slow down at work today. Some days you will have a headache, you will eat too much chocolate at work, and all the coffee in the world could not wake you up. Some days you will realise you have made a dreadful mistake dyeing your hair brown and decide to cheer yourself up by spending way too much money on goats cheese, smoked chicken and heirloom tomatoes, making you afraid to look at your bank account. 
Today was one of those days, where the mundane ho hum of life took over all the magic. Everyone has these days. Looking ahead at my nine day work week to come I have been thinking long and hard about what things keep us afloat in life when we are feeling a little flat. What are the beautiful things that keep us with a cheeky smile on our face and the will to push through a long eight hour day of rolling bread dough and organising functions? 

The thing I've been learning lately is that life doesn't always just feel great on its own, and no amount of coffee, wine or chocolate can fix a thing. I think its so important to keep inspired creatively when things are starting to feel a little gloomy. This week coming I've been setting myself some little goals to pull myself though the work week. I've been very inspired by the book 'Homeward Bound', which is about women feeling empowered to learn new skills and promoting more environmental awareness in the home. It makes me want to run outside and plant a garden, start a home business, and learn how to forage for mushrooms and wild herbs. These things aren't super practical for my life at the moment however; so I'm starting small, with a project of making some home made labneh.

For those of you who don't know Labneh, it is a strained yoghurt. It'

s a little like a cheese, and seems to be popping up all over the city on breakfast menus. It can be made sweet to serve with muesli or savoury to serve with bread. I thought I'd give the sweet version a go so that I could eat it as a cheering breakfast before I trundle off to the city at 5am.

The best thing that I've learnt from all of this is, the more creative and inspired I push myself to be, the more inspired I get. One thing leads on to another good thing and before you know it long days at work don't matter too much and you're glad you spend too much money on heirloom tomatoes so you can cook your boyfriend a beautiful dinner. You can put a ribbon in your brown hair to cheer it up. You can be thankful you have a job to go to at all, and you can enjoy the naughty amounts of chocolate you ate that day, and if your jeans feel too tight, you can buy new ones. You can put on some music and be glad you're alive, and feel happy to be the sort of person who wants to be inspired on a daily level.

Sweet Labneh

You will need:

  • 500g of yoghurt
  • 3 tbs sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • One small piece of muslin cloth
  • Kitchen string
  • A large bowl 
  • A colander
What to do:
  • Mix together the yoghurt sugar and vanilla.
  • Give your muslin cloth a wash and place it in the colander.
  • Pour the yoghurt mixture into the middle of the cloth.
  • Gather together the edges of the cloth so that the yoghurt forms a small ball. 
  • Wrap the string around the fabric at the top of the ball of yoghurt and tie a knot.
  • Place the colander over the top of a large bowl so that all the liquid can drain out of the yoghurt and into the bowl. 
  • Place a plate and something a little bit heavy (such as a can) on top of the little parcel to add some extra pressure.
  • Place in the fridge and leave to drain for 24 hours.
  • Once the majority of the liquid had drained from the yoghurt you can remove it from the cloth to find a little bundle of labneh!
  • Serve on top of granola with poached fruit and it will be truly wonderful.  

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