I’ve been eating a fair bit of natural yoghurt recently, mostly because it’s quite healthy, and I tend not to consume much dairy. I also love it for being incredibly versatile – it works so well with many different flavours and in various preparations. One of these preparations is labne, a type of yoghurt cheese, and after having some at a Mediterranean restaurant recently I decided to make some myself – as it’s dead simple – and create a dish that is built around it. So, after lots of thought and a bit of tweaking, I came up with this, Labne with carrot, beetroot and pumpkin. I was quite pleased with how it turned out actually, lots of complementary flavours, with saltiness, sweetness and sourness all represented, as well as some nice textural elements.
Spiced Carrot Puree:
2 carrots, grated
100mls heavy cream
Pinch of ras el hanout
For the carrot puree, add the grated carrot to a saucepan with a little bit of oil and the butter and sweat down, on a low heat, until softened. Add the cream and heat for another couple of minutes. Season with salt and the ras el hanout and blend to a smooth consistency.
Pinch of salt
For the beetroot paper, cut the beetroots into quarters and roast in foil in a hot oven for an hour or so, or until tender. Once cooled, blend with the whites of two eggs as well as the sugar and salt, and spread the mix very thinly with a palette knife on some silpat. Place in a dehydrator or an oven on its lowest temp setting (around 50 degrees) for about 2.5 hours, until the beetroot paper is crisp and dried.
1 tbsp pearl barley
1 tbsp hazelnuts
1 tbsp walnuts
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Pinch of icing sugar
Pinch of salt
In a saucepan, dry roast the pearl barley and the nuts until browned. Remove. Chuck it all in a mortar & pestle and pound it a little. Add the cinnamon, sugar and salt and mix everything together.
Cut the pumpkin. Saute in a saucepan with some butter and oil until caramelized.
Spoon a few hundred grams of natural yoghurt into a sieve lined with muslin. Place over a bowl, place in the fridge and leave the yoghurt to drain for a couple of days. At this point, the yoghurt should be quite a bit firmer and you’ll be able to shape it into balls. In oil the labne will keep for a few weeks at least
Put everything into a bowl and chuck some sorrel leaves around. Done!