Saffron-yoghurt cheese

Saffron-yoghurt cheese

By
From
Arabesque
Photographer
William Meppem

The basic method described here works without the saffron too. It is equally delicious plain or swirled with a variety of different flavourings. Try adding a spoonful of spicy harissa, smoked paprika or purées of fresh herbs such as basil, oregano or dill. Swirl into the yoghurt and strain as outlined below.

Rosewater also adds an exotic dimension. Salt and drain the yoghurt and, when ready to serve, form into smooth round balls or quenelle shapes using spoons. Make an indentation in the top and fill with rosewater and a big drop of extra-virgin olive oil. Serve it with seven vegetable couscous with onion jam and green harissa broth.

For a sweet treat, beat 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 capful of orange-blossom water into the yoghurt, sprinkle in the lightly crushed seeds from 4 cardamom pods and drain for up to 48 hours. Serve with fresh strawberries or as accompaniment to syrupy cakes or puddings instead of cream.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1kg natural yoghurt
1 garlic clove, crushed with 1 teaspoon salt
10 saffron strands, lightly roasted and crushed

Method

  1. Scoop the yoghurt into a clean muslin square, cheesecloth or tea-towel. Mix in the garlic paste, then sprinkle the saffron over the top and swirl it in roughly. Tie the four corners of cloth together to form a hanging bag and suspend it from a wooden spoon over a deep bowl. Allow it to drain in the refrigerator for 48–72 hours (the longer the time, the firmer the result).
  2. Use the 48-hour soft cheese as an accompaniment for spicy dishes such as tagines, Indian curries or most rice dishes. Or drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and eat with crusty bread and a dish of olives. At the end of 72 hours you will have a very firm lump of fresh cheese.
  3. Gently remove it from the bag and roll it into small balls with oiled hands. Place the balls in jars with olive oil and the herbs of your choice. They will keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Tags:
Middle East
Middle Eastern
Arabic
Arabian
Arabesque
Greg
Lucy
Malouf
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