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

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 🙂

Simple Pan Fried Cabanossi

Pan Fried Cabanossi
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Simple Pan Fried Cabanossi – is just a quick, whip up in an emergency type dish for when friends drop in for a drink. Especially when it’s footy night!

I love pan fried sausage, especially kansky with a hot English mustard, surprisingly it reminds me of camping with my family when I was young and mum would make these around the camp fire.

All you need to do is thickly slice your chosen sausage, brown one side in a medium hot pan and then turn over. Simple!

Serve with a variety of delicious mustards and sauces, your guests will love it.

Childhood flashbacks are so wonderful 🙂

Blondie

Vanilla Bean Sugar Tea Cake

Vanilla Bean Tea Cake_Finding Feasts
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Vanilla Bean Sugar Tea Cake – This recipe takes me back to the days when I was young, operated on minimal sleep on the weekends and was able to religiously eat 3 sweet doughnuts for brekkie with coffee from doughnut king before starting work in the morning, all without adding a centimeter to my waist line!

Those days are long gone and whilst I don’t indulge in doughnuts for brekkie I do occasionally get a craving for something very sweet. This vanilla bean sugar cake does the trick.

If you have a sweet tooth this recipe is super easy and best of all it does not ask for any out of the ordinary ingredients. You will note that I have used Heilala pure vanilla bean sugar. The sugar is made from vanilla beans that have been naturally dried in the sun, in the South Pacific, Vava’u Tonga. The dried beans are then mixed with organic sugar and a dash of Heilala vanilla extract is also added. If you can’t find Heilala pure vanilla bean sugar normal vanilla sugar can will do the trick as well. Alternatively you could mix sugar with a little cinnamon for the topping.

The cake tastes great cold but I would highly recommend warming it up in the microwave oven for 15-20 seconds just before serving.

Vanilla Bean Tea Cake2_Finding Feasts
Vanilla Bean Tea Cake – wont last long!

Enjoy, Bella

Chunky Oat & Raisin Cookies

Chunky Oat & Raisin Cookies
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Chunky Oat & Raisin Cookies … Who can resist a cookie, especially a large cinnamon and nutmeg scented one with sweet raisins dotted throughout? Certainly not me.

I don’t really have a sweet tooth and a mid morning snack is usually of the savoury kind but these have really been hitting the spot of late – a nice coffee and half of one of these cookies has been the perfect 11:00am breather.

A really nice idea is to keep some for yourself and then give the rest as gifts… maybe friends, your neighbour or your kid’s school teacher?

Share the happiness… Blondie

Chunky Oat & Raisin Cookies