Labneh

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The third and final dish of the Lebanese cuisine theme is Labneh which stands testimony to the fact that not all awesome dishes need to have a tough recipe. Labneh is seen as Lebanese cream cheese and is just as thick and creamy. And all you need to make yourself a batch of labneh is patience – lots of it. This is a no cook recipe and so it is very easy. But if you need a batch of labneh today, you need to have started making it two days ago. Yes, it takes that long but we know it is quite worth the wait.

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Makes one bowl of labneh

Recipe adapted from here

WHAT WE NEED

Greek yogurt / thick curds                500gms

Fresh lemon juice                               1/4 tsp

Salt                                                          a pinch

Zaatar powder                                      1 tbsp

Olive oil                                                  2-3 tbsp
WHAT TO DO

  • Take a cheesecloth and line it over a bowl
  • In another bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice and salt
  • Transfer the yogurt mixture onto the cheesecloth
  • Tie up the cheesecloth over a ladle or large spoon such that the cheesecloth does not touch the bottom of the bowl similar to how it is done to obtain hung curd
  • This ensures that the whey drained from the yogurt will not find its way back into the cheesecloth
  • Keep the yogurt with the bowl in the refrigerator for around 24 hours
  • After 12 hours, check the bowl and pour the whey out of the bowl 
  • After 24 hours, transfer the hung curd mixture to a bowl
  • Add the olive oil and zaatar powder
  • Serve cold with vegetable slices or warm pita bread
  • Enjoy!

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This is my post for the Blogging Marathon under the theme, ‘Lebanese cuisine’.
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Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing this BM

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Olive Bread

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I always find a reason to add olives to every dish. So when  I had to decide on a bread for the letter O, it had to be olive bread. I found this amazing loaf which not only had olive oil in the dough but also olives stuffed inside. Truly, my calling.

Olives are grown in the Mediterranean region and this bread also is from there, mainly in France, Spain, Greece, etc.

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Country – Mediterranean countries (France / Greece/ Spain)

Makes one 12″ loaf

Recipe adapted from ‘The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day’

WHAT WE NEED

Lukewarm water               1 cup + 6 tbsp

Instant yeast                        1 1/2 tsp

Salt                                         2 tsp

Sugar                                     1 1/2 tsp

Olive oil                                 2 tbsp

All purpose flour                 3 1/4 cup

Olives, pitted and diced      1/4 cup

Cornstarch wash (See notes)

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix all the ingredients except olives in a large bowl
  • Use a wooden spoon or mixer to mix since it will be a very wet dough. No need to knead
  • Cover and let the dough rest till it rises and collapses or flattens on top, around 2 hours
  • Though the dough can be used immediately, it is easier to handle if refrigerated for around 3 hours 
  • Flatten the dough with a rolling pin to 1/2 inch thickness
  • Add the olives on top and roll it up 
  • Pinch the two ends of the roll to seal and then bring them to the middle to form an oval loaf
  • Transfer the loaf to a loaf pan and let it rest for 90 minutes
  • Preheat the oven to 230C
  • Brush the top of the loaf with cornstarch wash and slash the top 2-3 times with a serrated knife
  • Bake for around 30 minutes or till the top is nicely brown
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before unmoulding 
  • Cut into slices after the loaf has fully cooled down
  • Enjoy!

NOTES

  1. To make cornstarch wash, mix 1 tsp cornstarch with 1/2 cup water and microwave for 2 minutes
  2. Black olives are usually used for making this loaf but I used green olives

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 This is my post for the Mega Marathon under the letter O.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

Focaccia

 

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When I was formulating the list of breads to be baked, I was wondering what I would bake for F since I already had written about the most popular ones – Fougasse and Focaccia. Then when I actually checked my blog, I realised that I had not blogged about Focaccia. I was shocked, to put it mildly, that I had not written about this one in the multiple times that I made it over the past 2 years. The good news is that I got a bake for ‘F’ and the bad news is that the husband has been mercilessly teasing me while munching on the delicious focaccia that I baked.

The thing is that somehow, I miss out on the most popular item in any of my interests. I love watching movies but I missed watching The Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump. Exactly! The two of the biggest hits, Oscar winners and classics. I finally watched them few years ago, thanks to the husband who was laughing throughout. I love to read books but again, I am yet to read The Catcher in the Rye. Can you believe that? Truth be told, even people who have read only 2 books in their life have read this one. So now this has happened on the blogging front too. Tragic!

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Focaccia, as is known, originated in Italy and is similar to pizza. The word orignates from the Roman / Latin words ‘panis focacius’. Panis means bread and focacius means fireplace. This is because, in the Roman times, focaccia was baked on the ashes of the fire and not on the tray above the fire. It is similar to pizza in some ways but different in others. It mainly differs from pizza is that pizza dough uses lesser yeast and salt as compared to focaccia. The additional yeast gives focaccia the capacity to absorb lot of olive oil. It does not have too many toppings and is generally restricted to salt, pepper and rosemary though nowadays there are other toppings added to make it more flavorful.

One thing we need to be careful while baking this dish with onions is that the onions tend to blacken and spoil the taste. So it is essential to keep a watchful eye on the oven and remove it before any significant damage is done. Now on to the recipe –

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Country – Italy

Makes a 12″ focaccia

Recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

WHAT WE NEED

Lukewarm water                     1 cup + 6 tbsp

Instant yeast                              1 1/2 tsp

Salt                                               2 tsp

Sugar                                           1 1/2 tsp

Olive oil                                       2 tbsp

All purpose flour                      3 1/4 cups

Onion, small                               1/4

Extra Virgin Olive Oil               2 tbsp

Dried rosemary leaves             3/4 tsp

Salt & Pepper

 

WHAT TO DO

  • Mix the yeast, salt, sugar and olive oil with water in a large bowl
  • Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon till all the flour is mixed in
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl
  • Cover and allow the dough to rise and collapse or flatten on top, around 2 hours
  • Refrigerate for atleast 3 hours and upto 5 days
  • The dough can be used immediately after its rise but it is easier to handle it after refrigeration
  • In a pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil and add finely sliced onions to it
  • Saute the onion slices till they are softened but not browned
  • Flatten the dough into a rectangle in a baking tray using your hands or a rolling pin to 1/2 – 3/4″
  • Using your fingers, create indents in the dough at regular intervals
  • Spread the onion slices over the dough leaving a 1″ border around the edges
  • There should not be too many onions and the dough should be seen else it won’t brown properly and look pale
  • Sprinkle the rosemary, salt and pepper on the dough
  • Llightly drizzle some olive oil but not too much which will make the oil flow down the sides
  • Set aside for 20 minutes
  • Preheat the oven at 220C
  • Bake for around 20 minutes or till the top browns nicely
  • Cut into wedges and serve warm
  • Enjoy!

 

Notes

  1. The extra virgin olive oil can be replaced with olive oil
  2. I added some olives because I wanted to finish them off. You can add them if you like

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This is my post for the Mega Marathon for the letter ‘F’.

Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM# 75

Another way to bake potatoes

 

My two and half year old daughter has been pretty involved in bake-a-thon with me. Her eyes sparkle when I switch on the oven to preheat it and she runs around screaming -‘Amma, cake, bread’ irrespective of what is being baked.

The best part was the husband asking her – ‘what is Amma doing?’ She replies ‘cooking’.

The husband exclaims – ‘That’s nice. I am hungry and I want to eat.’ That’s when the daughter calmly explains to her father – ‘No Appa. Amma cooking, take photo and eating is only after photo. Please wait.’ The husband’s expression was priceless. 

  

This easy version of baked potato is a must try. It’s a lot crisper than hassle back potatoes and less effort than au gratin and hash browns.

I happened to comes across this recipe just as I was wondering what to come up with for today’s post.

So here goes –

Makes 9 stacks

WHAT WE NEED

Potatoes, medium size       3

Olive oil                                    1 1/2 tbsp

Parmesan, grated                  2-3 tbsp

Thyme, dried                          2 tsp

Salt & pepper

WHAT TO DO

  • Preheat the oven to 190C
  • Grease a muffin tray
  • Slice the potatoes into thin roundels.
  • In a bowl, take olive oil, 2 tbsp of Parmesan and 1 1/2 tsp thyme
  • Add the potatoes and mix well to coat all the slices
  • Add salt and pepper and mix
  • Arrange in stacks in a muffin tray
  • Bake for 35-40 mins till the edges and top are golden brown.
  • Take it out from the oven and garnish with the remaining Parmesan and thyme.
  • Enjoy!

  
  

NOTES

  1. You can stack the potatoes as high as possible in the muffin tray. The potato slices will shrink on baking and the stacks will appear smaller than when you put them in the oven.
  2. Preferably put the larger slices in the bottom so that they hold the stack well.
  3. Grease the muffin tray liberally else the potatoes will stick.

 


This is part of the
Bake-a-thon 2015