So here we are, part 2 of 'I have an unhealthy/perfectly normal obsession with cheese.' As you may be able to tell, I don't discriminate. Any cheese is good cheese. Blue, waxed.. (unhelpful that these are the only two adjectives I could come up with that weren't 'wet, sloppy, grated, or hard') NEVERTHLESS. Cheese is king.
Labna has always been one of those exotic cheeses that I hold in esteem with the likes of haloumi. They sort of just evoke an exotic fanciness, really. Like pomegranate molasses or zaatar. I used Barambah Organics Labna with Fennel and Sea Salt, which was recently crowned the best flavoured cheese at the Australian Grand Dairy Awards for 2014. And after tasting the labna, I certainly understand why.
1/4 butternut pumpkin, cubed
5 or 6 dutch carrots
2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon honey
glug of olive oil
1/2 spanish onion
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup sultanas
small piece of preserved lemon, chopped finely
handful of rocket (aragula - so much more enjoyable to say)
handful of mint
1 red chilli, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 of a ball of Barambah Organics labna - dependent on the severity of your cheese addiction
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and chop your pumpkin into small cubes, removing the skin if you wish. In a small, clean plastic bag (like the ones you get to put your fruit and veg in) toss the pumpkin, garlic, onion and carrots with the oil, cumin, cinnamon and honey. Add some salt and pepper and set aside.
2. Fill a medium saucepan with water and add the quinoa. Bring it to the boil and then reduce the heat slightly, and cook for around 8 or 9 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat and drain well in a sieve.
3. Pop your veg mix into the oven and cook for around 15 minutes. Turn and repeat until you get the colour and crunch you are after.
4. In a large bowl, mix your cooled quinoa, tomato, rocket, mint, sultanas, chopped preserved lemon and roasted vegies. Note: before adding the garlic and onions, peel it it and chop it roughly.
5. Add your chopped chilli, and the labna in any way you see fit. You can serve it in the middle of the salad, or dice it (as best as one can dice labna) and disperse it throughout the salad. Either way is spot on.
6. Top with a dressing of 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon honey, a sprinkle of cumin, a good crack of pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Heaven!