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.

Fresh cheese with apples (1 of 1)

Ingredients for the cheese

450g thick (Greek) organic yoghurt

1 small bunch fresh dill, minced

Zest of 1 lemon

Sea salt


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



  1. 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.
  2. Next, heat the apple cider vinegar until hot. Add the chilli flakes and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. 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.
  4. Remove the chillies from the heat, drain and spread out on kitchen towel or roll.
  5. Add the chillies and fennel seeds to a small pot with the olive oil and gently heat.
  6. Allow to infuse for at least 10 minutes, just below a simmer.
  7. Turn off the heat and let the oil cool.
  8. Pour the cooled oil into a sterilised bottle and use within a week.
  9. Once the cheese is ready, stir in the minced dill, lemon zest and salt.
  10.  Serve this cheese with smoked trout, as a spread on sandwiches or with a spring minestrone.


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