Makes 1 1/2 cups (350 mL) for 8 servings.
Labneh is a Lebanese style of cheese made by straining excess liquid (whey) from yogurt. The yogurt thickens to resemble a soft cheese with bright tangy flavour. For best results, use full-fat Greek yogurt. Experiment with different flavours using either cow or goat yogurt, then stir in anything from citrus to herbs and spices to dried fruit.
Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Replace lemon peel and poppy seeds for the following variations.
Line nonreactive strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth. Set strainer over bowl, making sure the bottom of strainer doesnu2019t touch bottom of bowl.
Stir yogurt with salt, then scrape into cheesecloth. Fold ends of cheesecloth over yogurt and refrigerate for at least 1 day or up to 3 days. Occasionally drain off whey that collects in bottom of bowl.
Remove strained cheese (now itu2019s labneh!) and place in clean bowl; discard whey. Stir in lemon juice, poppy seeds, and lemon peel. Taste and add honey, if needed.
Spread on crackers or apple slices, or stuff into celery sticks. Make it portable and pack into small 4 oz (125 mL) Mason jars.
Pears and chocolate make for a very natural friendship and play together beautifully in this plant-based, dairy-free cake. This cake is dense and rich, with a medley of spices, and enhanced by just a hint of espresso powder, which allows that chocolate flavour to shine through. In addition to slices of pears being laid on top, this cake employs some pear purée to add moisture and sweetness to the slightly nutty texture provided by the whole wheat flour. Pear primer A firm pear such as Bosc, recognizable by its distinctive dusty brown skin, is perfect for this dish. When eaten raw, Bosc pears are crisp and not too sweet. When baked, this variety softens up and its flavours are enhanced, but it maintains its characteristic long-necked, graceful shape. Unlike a Bartlett pear, which turns from green to bright yellow when ripe, Bosc pears don’t change much in colour when ripe. Give it a little nudge with your thumb near the neck of the pear and it will give slightly—that’s how you know you’ve got a ripe one. Compared to other pears, Bosc will still be quite firm.
Many flavours that complement pears—sage, ginger, maple syrup—also go well with butternut squash, so it makes sense to bring the two together. For this autumn salad, mixed greens are tossed with marinated squash ribbons that serve to dress the salad with spicy, gingery brightness. A juicy yet firm medium-sweet pear, such as red Anjou, works well here, and its vibrant red skin makes a pretty plate alongside butternut squash. The finishing touch is a sprinkling of crispy sage and maple syrup-toasted hazelnuts. Refrigerator tip Treat butternut squash ribbons as you would a dressing, keeping them in the refrigerator until ready to use. They will last a few days in the refrigerator, and you can have them on hand to dress small amounts of lettuce. If, rather than making one large salad, you want to serve individual amounts of this salad, just dress a few leaves with some ribbons; cut up pear and fry sage leaves as you serve.
Luscious figs loaded onto hearty flatbread make a satisfying breakfast or brunch. They’re sweet and delicious when paired with savoury cinnamon-flavoured crunchy pumpkin seeds and tart goat cheese. And, with a dough enriched with whole wheat flour, hempseeds, and nigella, these flatbreads are sure to be satisfying. They’re also chock full of fibre and protein, and with 6 mg of iron, you’ll be on your way to 31 percent of the recommended daily value. A freezer favourite By making dough in advance and freezing, you can make these individual flatbreads part of your routine for days when you don’t have much time. Simply portion dough individually right after mixing, allow it to rise in the fridge for 8 to 10 hours, and then freeze in individual containers. To thaw an individual ball of dough, 24 hours before you wish to use it, remove the container from the freezer and allow it to thaw in the refrigerator. At least an hour before baking, allow dough to come up to room temperature outside of the fridge.