Labneh in olive oil

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Labneh in olive oil – I am a self-confessed cheese-a-holic. I am yet to come across a cheese that I haven’t liked! Very happy to be offered a cheese tasting challenge to be proven wrong.

Several weeks ago I tried my hand at making farm cheese so I thought I’d have a go at making Labneh, a yummy Mediterranean cheese from natural yogurt which is hung in a muslin wrap for several days. This recipe requires no cooking and I am very proud to say that I succeeded!

Labneh cheese is perfect as part of a Middle Eastern mezze platter with dips, marinated vegetables and warm pita bread.

I tasted my first Labneh at the Sydney Good Food & Wine Show in 2006. It was marinated in oil with some herbs and spices. I loved how the cheese just melted in your mouth, little soft white clouds bursting with flavour.

Now I can make my own! One simple rule, use good quality natural yogurt and olive oil.

Happy Labneh making 🙂

Bella

Sweet Dill Pickled Pine Mushrooms

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Sweet Dill Pickled Pine Mushrooms… What better way to store your freshly foraged wild mushrooms for a long time than pickling them?

I love a sweet pickle, always have, so I naturally gravitate to this pickling liquid but there are plenty of methods of pickling and flavour combinations that you will develop your very own favourite pickling brine in no time.

Enjoy! Blondie 🙂

Farm Cheese

How to make farm cheese recipe
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Home made farm cheese, my first blog post for 2017! Yipee.

Actually break open the champagne and do a little dance. It’s more like the first blog post for about 8 months! For me anyway.

Without going into boring lengthy details lets just say that 2016 was a very frustrating year for Finding Feasts. Not only were there NO mushrooms to forage for but accessing our blog (no thanks to our old hosting partner) was a nightmare.

I am pleased to say that yes, we are back!

Now back to my recipe. Farm cheese or farmers cheese is something that takes me back to my childhood. Mum used to farm cheese fresh from the local deli or make it from milk that would go sour before it was boiled.

True Polish farm cheese has a white curd like texture and a slightly sour smell, it is often used for making cheese cake and our famous pierogi (take note…no ‘s’ on the end!) I am not quite sure when mum first found it at the deli here in Australia, but when she did I was in heaven, especially when she made me a plate of farm cheese pierogi, smothered in a burnt butter sauce with sprinkles of sugar and cinnamon.

I have been wanting to make my own farm cheese for a while now but didnt know how to until I cam across this recipe by fellow Polish blogger Martyna Angell from Wholesome-cooke.com. Her blog is amazing! This is her recipe.

Buttermilk is expensive at $2.70 per 600 ml, however this is my treat. I use two 600 ml cartons to produce about 500 grams of fresh farm cheese in about 2 hours.

My favourite at the very moment is fresh farm cheese on rye bread with chives.

It’s great to be back blogging!

Bella

Thai Noodle Salad w/ Fried Soft Shell Crab

Thai Noodle Salad w/ Fried Soft Shell Crab
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Thai Noodle Salad w/ Fried Soft Shell Crab – There really isn’t anything more delicious than a beautifully cooked, crunchy soft shell crab.

I had two crabs still in the freezer, which whenever I opened the door would scream to be cooked… You seem to always feel – at least I do,  that you need an occasion to cook these, so I had been holding off… till today!

I have a detailed description of how to clean the crab in a previous post, How To Prepare Soft Shell Crab, so there’s no excuse not to try this – you will love it!

The flavours are deliciously fresh and zingy with lots of textures to make your mouth feel likes it’s at a party!

Best Ever Chili Con Carne w/ Chorizo & Dates

Best Ever Chili Con Carne w/ Chorizo & Dates
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Best Ever Chili Con Carne w/ Chorizo & Dates – You may be a little surprised with the use of dates in this recipe but rest assured, once you have tried it you will be hooked.

So why did I use dates? Well, a chili con carne ideally uses a variety of peppers, each adding their own uniqueness to the dish. For example, capsicum adds a sweet, bright flavour without any heat. Chipotles add a warming heat with a smoky tobacco flavour. Arbol or similar are the fire and Ancho add a deep almost fruity flavour. If you find a pepper to match each of these four flavour groups you will have a well rounded dish.

As I didn’t had all the peppers available to me I improvised. Missing the deep fruity flavour, I dug around and found dates. Perfect! Blending the dates with the chipotles and tomatoes to make a rich, hot and smokey paste, which was smoothed out with the addition of the dates was pure genius… if I do say so myself.

The addition of chorizo adds a slightly different texture to the mince plus, depending on your chosen chorizo sausage it can add extra heat and spiciness. I cook the sausage at the beginning so as to use the rendered fat to cook the onions in. Setting it aside till the end means the chorizo crumbs remain little flavour bombs rather than melding into the flavour pot.

Chili con carne along with bolognese is a mince dish that is best made in bulk as reheated meals always taste so good. And having frozen portions in the freezer means you will always have a delicious meal available… Stuffed baked potatoes or zucchinis. Use it on your nachos or burritos.

Endless possibilities… Blondie 🙂

Tahini & Miso Dressing

Finding Feasts Tahini & Miso Dressing
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Tahini & Miso Dressing – OK, I rarely come across a simple recipe that I think is to-die-for but this one is it! This tahini & miso dressing recipe is addictive, I mean REALLY addictive! With four simple ingredients you can’t go wrong.

I love making my dressing but of late have been sticking to two well worn out recipes, wholegrain mustard with lemon and garlic or balsamic vinegar….boring!

I was first introduced to this recipe by Miss H’s nan and pop. Nan and pop visit us every few weeks and when they do pop cooks amazing dishes, dishes that I would typically not cook myself. Nan and pop are into hip stuff like yoga, meditation and macrobiotics.

Macro what I hear you ask? No this isn’t another new fad diet, it is a lifestyle. The macrobiotic philosophy has been around for centuries. The main principles are centered around  holistic nutrition, understanding where your food came from, how it was handled, eating seasonal, local food that is chemical free. It promotes eating grains and plenty of fresh vegetable but limits the intake of animal products.

During the last visit pop made this tahini and miso dressing with fried tofu and braised green vegetables. Utterly divine I tell you! Tofu can be quite bland but by adding this yummy dressing the tofu come to life.

Make a batch of this at the beginning of the week, keep it in the fridge and use as required. If you add less liquid it easily transforms to tasty dip with some flat bread or carrot sticks when you are feeling peckish. It is my go to treat at work when 3 o’clock-itis kicks in.

Bella

Szarlotka – Polish Apple Cake

Finding Feasts Szarlotka Apple Cake
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Szarlotka – Polish apple cake – If I had to make a choice between a sweet and savoury dish I would definitely choose savoury, unless a plate of my mum’s yummy apple cake otherwise known as Szarlotka was put in front of me!

Szarlotka  is somewhat similar to an apple pie however the top and bottom is of a much different consistency and the apple mixture is far less sweet. Mum has also from time to time added raisins, although as a child I hated that version. Raisins were these strange unknown little brown ‘bits’ that didn’t sit well with me. The topping can vary too from a sweet short-crust pastry to a sweet crumble, very similar to an apple crumble pie.

The recipe I have posted here is one that my mum has been making for years and if challenged she could most likely make it from scratch with her eyes closed!  It’s a recipe that takes me back to my childhood memories, especially the ones where I could have endless slices and not worry about the side effects like having to count the calories! Ahh those days a long gone!

Mum would always let the cake rest and cool first before serving it up, but I love it whilst its still warm and sometimes have some vanilla ice cream on the side! Equally delish the very next day, warmed up in the oven.

… enjoy

Bella