Fresh cheese with fennel and chilli oil
It couldn’t be any easier than this – get your hands on some pastured full-fat yoghurt and surprise even yourself with the delicious, elegant result after straining it overnight. Here I added it to a simple salad of dressed purple endive and shaved fennel, with apple slices and some cheeky home-made chilli oil.
Ingredients for the cheese
450g thick (Greek) organic yoghurt
1 small bunch fresh dill, minced
Zest of 1 lemon
Ingredients for the oil
1/4 cup / 60ml apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
1/4 cup / 60ml extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- Spoon the yoghurt into a few layers of muslin cloth, tie with a string and strain in the fridge overnight. You can lay a wooden spoon over the bowl and then tie the string to it. I have a long glass jar with a tight lid, under which I secure the cloth.
- Next, heat the apple cider vinegar until hot. Add the chilli flakes and simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the chillies are simmering, dry roast the fennel seeds in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Be mindful not to burn them.
- Remove the chillies from the heat, drain and spread out on kitchen towel or roll.
- Add the chillies and fennel seeds to a small pot with the olive oil and gently heat.
- Allow to infuse for at least 10 minutes, just below a simmer.
- Turn off the heat and let the oil cool.
- Pour the cooled oil into a sterilised bottle and use within a week.
- Once the cheese is ready, stir in the minced dill, lemon zest and salt.
- Serve this cheese with smoked trout, as a spread on sandwiches or with a spring minestrone.