Yogurt = cheese. No, really!

What happens when you ask your husband to by you plain yogurt to go with your muesli and instead of coming back with the 500ml bottle you were expecting he presents you with a 3L bottle instead?

You ask FB for recipes to use up the yogurt, that’s what.

You also get some great options.

  • Fruit yogurt smoothies
  • Frozen berry yogurt drops
  • Yogurt chocolate chip muffins
  • Tsatsiki
  • Yogurt pancakes (which I made last night and were delish)
  • And a half dozen suggestions to make Labneh cheese

After doing a bit of research and buying a brand new pair of knee high stockings I set about making cheese. It was really really easy and I will definitely be making more of it!

Look closely, you can see the liquid draining out the stocking

 

Cream cheese!

 

Labneh balls rolled in sweet chili mix, rosemary & garlic mix and a few plain ones for the kids.

 

Labneh Cheese
A simple and delicious Lebanese style cream cheese
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup full cream (or high fat percentage) plain yogurt
  2. pinch of course salt
  3. cheesecloth (or a pair of new knee high stockings - I used 20 denier)
  4. a colander or large sieve
  5. a bowl big enough to fit the colander/seive
Instructions
  1. Place your colander into your bowl and then your cheesecloth over your colander.
  2. If you are using stockings, double them up and get someone to hold them open for you.
  3. Mix your salt and yogurt together.
  4. Spoon or pour your yogurt into the cheesecloth/stockings.
  5. Tie the top of the cloth/stockings closed at the top, squeezing the yogurt towards the bottom as you go.
  6. Now you can either leave the cloth/stockings in the colander as is or you can hang them above the colander and let gravity help (I hung mine from the kitchen tap).
  7. Leave your yogurt to drain for at least 24hrs, the longer you leave it the firmer the cheese will be.
  8. You can leave it out on the counter (in winter) or in the fridge if its too warm.
  9. When you are ready to unveil your cheese, give it one last squeeze to remove any residual liquid and then, over a plate, unwrap the newly formed cheese.
There are a few options once your cheese is ready
  1. You can place it in an airtight container in the fridge and use it as a plain cream cheese spread.
  2. You can roll the cheese into small balls and then roll the balls into various herb and spice mixes before placing in an airtight container in the fridge.
  3. You can roll the cheese into small balls and then place them in a glass jar with a well sealing lid. Top the balls of cheese with a high quality olive oil to preserve them. You can also add various herbs and spices to the oil to infuse the cheese with flavour.
Other options
  1. You can also add your herbs and spices to the yogurt before draining if you like which will give you a flavoured cream cheese when you are done.
Adapted from various recipes on the web
Adapted from various recipes on the web
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

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Lets take a moment to discuss the coins in the lining of my jacket…

There are 3 of them. 2 small coins and 1 larger one.

The jacket is a K-Way down jacket from Cape Union Mart.

Edited to add: There were no coins in the jacket when I bought it!!

It has 4 pockets.

There are no holes in any of the pockets.

4 separate people (and myself) have literally turned the jacket inside out searching for any holes.

There are none.

Yet, there are 3 coins floating around in the lining of my jacket.

How even?

coin

Its driving me insane. I can feel them every time I put my hand in my pocket. I cannot find any holes. GAH!!!

So, this morning I placed 4 x 10 agorot pieces in the jacket pockets, 1 coin in each pocket and then zipped them up. 

Now we wait and see which coin disappears and then search that pocket for a hole.

And if there is no hole?

You may just find me rocking myself and a bottle of whiskey under my desk.

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Soup weather

Winter, the season for soup.

So far I’ve made a pot of chicken soup and a pot of zucchini soup (requested by the boy child).

I wasnt sure about the zucchini soup. I like it roasted or as zucchini noodles but soup…?

So I searched the interwebs and found a few recipes but none really appealed to me. What did appeal to me were the recipes that had garlic in them.

So armed with a list of various recipes, a bag of zucchini, a garlic bulb and my spice rack I created my own recipe.

img_6470

 

Zucchini Garlic Soup
A mild and creamy zucchini soup.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. Oil for frying
  2. 4 large zucchini, peeled and sliced
  3. 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped (more or less per your taste)
  4. 1 red onion, diced (most recipes called for white onion, I only had red and it was perfect)
  5. 4 cups of water or vegetable stock
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. Herbs, I used basil and rosemary
  8. Ginger powder
Instructions
  1. Soak your peeled and sliced zucchini is a bowl of salted water.
  2. While that is soaking, in a large, heavy bottomed pot, lightly fry your onion and garlic until the onion is soft and translucent.
  3. Drain your zucchini and add to the pot.
  4. Heat until the zucchini starts to soften.
  5. Add your water or stock and bring to the boil.
  6. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and add your salt, pepper, herbs and ginger to taste. If you are using water, add more, if you are using stock add less.
  7. Simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
Notes
  1. Serve hot with slices of olive bread.
  2. This soup has a very subtle flavour. Next time I will probably add a bit of sweet chili powder for a bit of a kick.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

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Salutations

One of the things I love about Israel and the Hebrew language is that there is a greeting for everything and everyone greets everyone (well mostly, remember the grumpy old men?)

There are regular, every day greetings, good morning (בוקר טוב – boker tov) and evening (ערב טוב – erev tov).

There are greetings for the beginning and end of the week, good week (שבוע טוב – shavua tov) said from the moment shabbat has ended to the end of Sunday and  shabbat shalom (שבת שלום) said anytime from Thursday through to the end of Saturday night.

Then there are greetings for High Holy days, usually happy holiday (חג שמח – chag same’ach) or the yiddish, gut yontiv (גוט יום־טובֿ – good yom tov). 

My favourite though, is an alternative to good morning. It is usually said as a response to someone who says good morning (boker tov) to you.

The greeting is בוקר אור (boker or) and literally translates to ‘morning light’.

It really does lighten up my day!

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Party!

Last week was Aaron’s birthday party at our house. It was hectic and loud and fun!

Here it is by the numbers:

  • 10 children
  • 7 packets of microwave popcorn
  • 6 (possibly more) litres of juice
  • 3 hours of party time
  • 3 bags of Bisli
  • 2 packets of marshmallows
  • 1 packet of suckers
  • 1 movie (Tintin)
  • 1 melktert
  • 1 very happy birthday boy

aaron

I cannot get over that my first born is 9. He is almost as tall as I am, wears a size bigger shoe than me and we wear the same size jeans!

Where has the time gone?

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I lost it. Again.

My bus pass (Rav Kav).

This makes it the 3rd time in almost 2 years that I have lost my Rav Kav.

The 1st time, I had to get a new card.

The 2nd time, the driver had actually handed it in to the office so I didn’t need to get a new one.

This time, the card had not been handed in (at least not at my nearest office) so I had to buy another one. 

That makes 3 brand new cards in 2 years!

At the rate I am going I think they should offer me a ‘buy 5 get 1 free deal’.

buy-1

 

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Can we talk about the weather?

Particularly about the fact that the seasons change. From summer to autumn to winter.

Every single year.

Every single year of my 37 years, the seasons have changed. Every year before that.

They follow the same cycle. Hot to warm to mild to cool to cold.

And every single year I manage to wear the wrong clothes when the season is changing.

Even though I know the weather has changed. Its been getting progressively cooler for weeks now. It rained, which means the average temperature definitely drops the days after. 

So, can someone please tell me why, knowing that the weather is colder, knowing that it will probably rain, I still insist on wearing thin summer shirts and my slip slops?

you-know-its-cold-outside-when-26

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Sukkot

*** Right, so, I actually completed this post about a week and a half ago, thought I published it, and found it now in my drafts… So, ja, enjoy 🙂

The last few weeks has been a whirlwind of Jewish Holy Days, starting with Rosh Hashannah, the Jewish New Year and ending with Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles (booths).

Sukkot is my favourite festival. The celebration has a double meaning, the first being the end of the harvest season and the second commemorating the years that Jewish people wandered in the desert after leaving Egypt. 

One of the things I love about Sukkot is that it is a happy festival. There is no sadness to be found here. Only celebration.

We build temporary booths called sukkot (plural) and a sukkah (singular). There are a few requirements that need to be stuck to in order to make them kosher, they must have at least 3 walls, the walls can be fancy or plain, printed material or planks of wood. The skach or roof covering must be made of untreated, unvarnished natural material and you should be able to see the stars through it at night and it must be a temporary roof, not something that is there year round. Quite a few people use palm fronds either for the whole roof or as additional roofing along with a bamboo mat.

Once you have your sukkah up you can either leave it plain or you can decorate it. We chose to decorate ours this year with crepe paper pom poms (home made) and some crepe paper garlands (shop bought) as well as a few drawings from school that were holiday themed as well as some strings of plastic fruits.

One should eat all their meals as well as snack in the sukkah and some people even sleep in the sukkah (weather permitting).

I love sitting out in the sukkah in the early morning air with my cup of coffee and my book. Its just not the same when there is no sukkah up. I also love hosting people in my sukkah and having big, noisy meals with friends and family!

img_6159

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Questions for kids

A friend posted these questions on FB and I grabbed them for my kids. 

Starting with Faith

  • What is your name? Faith
  • How old are you? 5 and a half
  • When is your Birthday? December
  • What is your favorite colour? I don’t know. Blue or pink
  • What is your favorite food? Sausages and chocolate ice cream and Choco (chocolate milk drink)
  • Who is your best friend? I don’t know I have a lot of friends. Noa. 
  • What is your favorite song? Something on a minecraft video and Let It Go
  • What is your favorite animal? Lions
  • What are you scared of? I don’t want to tell (whispers snakes and spiders)
  • What makes you happy? My taggies and stuffed doggy
  • Where is your favorite place to go? To the Gymboree 
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? I don’t know. I want to do everything 
  • What does love mean? That you love people. 


And now for Aaron

  • What is your name? Aaron. Jacobson. 
  • How old are you? Do I say 8 and a half or 9? Ok 8 and a half. 
  • When is your Birthday? 5 November
  • What is your favorite colour? Red
  • What is your favorite food? Pizza!
  • Who is your best friend? Noam
  • What is your favorite song? I don’t know what it’s called. It’s a Minecraft song. I think it’s called I’ll Make A Cake. 
  • What is your favorite animal? Hamster
  • What are you scared of? The internet dropping 
  • What makes you happy? That I see Noam all the time
  • Where is your favorite place to go? Uncle Matthews house
  • What do you want to be when you grow up? That’s very hard. Oh easy! Youtuber!
  • What does love mean? For me? I dunno. Nothing. 

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Dairy Free Peppermint Tart

As you all probably know, we keep a kosher home. That means that if we have a meat meal, the dessert needs to be dairy free.

This Rosh Hashanah, my brother hosted the meal, which was a feast of amazing chicken, deli roll, veggies and more, and I was making the desserts.

I really really wanted to make a Peppermint Crisp Tart (click on the link for the original recipe) but it needed to be parve/dairy free.

Fresh mint in closeup

My one issue was finding a solid slab of dairy free peppermint chocolate. Not so easy apparently. You can get After Eights but the peppermint part is soft and I didnt think that would work. I found an artisan, bean to bar, locally made chocolate but I could not get the peppermint one for love nor money. Eventually I gave in and bought plain dairy free chocolate and then found a peppermint extract to add to the cream. 

Another concern was what to swap the dulche de leche for. It had to be sweet but diary free and I came up with using Biscoff Lotus spread. I’m not sure this is available in SA but Im sure you can find some type of dairy free alternative.

All in all the dessert was a hit, everyone loved it and it was as close to a regular peppermint crisp tart as one could hope for.

Here is the recipe.

Dairy Free Peppermint Tart
A dairy free take on my traditional Peppermint Crisp Tart
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tub dairy free cream such as Rich's
  2. 1 jar Biscoff Lotus spread (or any dairy free sweet spread)
  3. 1 packet of plain biscuits
  4. 1 large slab of dairy free chocolate, broken or crumbled into small pieces
  5. A few drops of peppermint extract
Instructions
  1. Place the cream and a few drops of peppermint extract in a bowl.
  2. Whip the cream until it forms stiff peaks.
  3. Place a single layer of biscuits on the bottom of a large square/rectangular dish.
  4. Microwave the Lotus spread for a few seconds for easy pouring.
  5. Cover the biscuits with a layer of Lotus spread.
  6. Sprinkle half the crumbled chocolate over the Lotus layer.
  7. Add a thin layer of whipped cream.
  8. Add another layer of biscuits.
  9. Add another layer of Lotus spread.
  10. Cover with a thick layer of whipped cream.
  11. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the top of the cream.
  12. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
Notes
  1. I used a dairy free bitter chocolate, if you really want it to taste like Peppermint Crisp then look for a dairy free 'milk' chocolate or non bitter chocolate. Personally I liked the bitter contrast to the sweet Lotus spread and the minty cream.
A Bit of This A Bit of That http://gnatj.com/

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