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

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

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

Gow Gee Silverbeet & Ricotta Ravioli

Gow Gee Sliverbeet and Ricotta Ravioli
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Gow Gee Silverbeet & Ricotta Ravioli – I have a soft spot for pasta, especially when it is filled with cheese & spinach / silverbeet!

Where possible I do try to make my own pasta dough but there are occasions when time is of the essence! It was a few years ago when talking to mum I found out that she sometimes makes pierogi (Polish dumplings) & other ravioli type things by using Gow Gee pastry. Gow Gee pastry can be found at your local Asian supermarket or grocery store in the fridge section.

So I am stealing her idea! Don’t get me wrong…absolutely nothing beats fresh home made pasta…but when you are pressed for time…this is almost just as good!

I serve this with my favourite creamy pink sauce…my question to you is…what is YOUR favourite pasta sauce?

Look forward to hearing from you!

Bella

How to make beetroot kwas or kvass

Beetroot Kwas
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Beetroot Kwas – With the foodie world going crazy about fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kombucha tea, kimchi and kefir  I thought it was time to pay some attention to kwas, a fermented tonic made from beetroots. Kwas is also known as Kvass, although that’s in Russian.

Fermented foods and juices are good for you but let’s quickly look at why:

  • They add good bacteria to the gut, and seeing as the gut makes up about 80% of your immune system that’s a pretty good reason in itself!
  • Fermenting foods creates more nutrients in the food whilst enhancing others
  • If consumed prior to your meal fermented foods will improve your digestion and allow for the absorption of nutrients
  • Fermented foods are high in b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids and carry various strains of probiotics – much better than taking them from a jar in tablet form!

What are probiotics? They are live microorganisms such as bacteria, yeasts and fungi. Probiotics can protect against disease an boost your immune system and are essential especially is you have just gone a round or two of antibiotics.

So how does beetroot kwas fit into all of this?

Beetroot kwas has been consumed in Eastern European countries for many centuries. A common non-alcoholic drink, it was originally made from stale rye bread which gave it its colouring. This beetroot version has also been made by many households as the starter to an awesome beetroot barszcz (borscht if you are Russian).

Beetroot kwas shares similarities with kombucha tea, it is fermented in a similar way and is high in probiotics, it is also an excellent liver cleanser, rich in nutrients and fiber, high in antioxidant and anit-inflammatory properties, a perfect blood tonic! Mum and dad have been making it for as long as I can remember and drink it daily.

Best of all, it is extremely easy to make, although I did fail at my first attempt. I forgot to add the salt and sugar, key components! Simply peel your beets, add salt, sugar, juice of sauerkraut, water and ferment away. The fermentation process will depend on the time of the year and how warm your kitchen is. Do check it daily and if it starts to smell funny start again. 

I typically let mine ferment away for 2-3 days, when light frothy bubbles form at the top you know your beetroot kwas is ready. 

What does it taste like once ready? Sour, tangy earthy flavours. 

Happy fermenting!

Bella 🙂

Gooey Dark Chocolate Brownies

Gooey Dark Chocolate Brownies
Gooey Dark Chocolate Brownies

Gooey Dark Chocolate Brownies – Is there anything better on a cold wintery night than some divine dark chocolate brownies? Yes! Loads of them, especially if they have just come out of the oven, gooey and warm.

At Miss H’s request these were made last week and were polished off within a matter of days. Batch number two was made yesterday and I can already them disappearing.

My search for the best brownies ended with this recipe. They are rich but not overly sweet so you can definitely come back for more. The brownie center is gooey and soft, melt in your mouth chocolate. Best of all this recipe does not call for complex ingredients.

Enjoy! Bella

Gooey Dark Chocolate Brownies
Gooey Dark Chocolate Brownies

PS…in my search for the best brownie recipe I did come across a blue cheese and chocolate brownie, sounds weird right but watch this space!