Wild herb labneh
( MAKES 1½ cups )
Photo by Annabel Langbein Media
This pretty, pale green dip is terrific with crackers or vegetable bites or used in cucumber sandwiches in place of butter.
You can choose from a range of foraged wild herbs to make it. You might think that, with such a ferocious sting, nettles would be poisonous but, with a little cooking, this quick-growing prickly plant delivers a flavourful, tender tonic of vitamins and minerals. In spring and autumn, I don a pair of rubber gloves to collect nettles while the leaves are young and tender (like watercress, they get bitter in mid-summer). Cooked nettles have a sweet, earthy taste and I use them as a substitute for spinach in risotto, pasta and soup. Put them in a sieve and pour boiling water over them to fully wilt them, or blanch them and then squeeze out all the liquid before pureeing into pesto, mayonnaise and other sauces. You can do the same with young leaves of fat hen (Chenopodium album), dandelion (Taraxacum), oxalis/wood sorrel (oxalis stricta) and puha/milk thistle (sonchus oleraceus).
- Line a large sieve with a paper towel or clean Jiffy cloth and place over a bowl. Pour yoghurt into lined sieve and place in fridge overnight to drain.
- Discard liquid (or use for baking as with buttermilk).
- Place wild herbs and mint in a large bowl and cover with boiling water, pressing the leaves into the water to ensure they are fully immersed (this removes the sting from the nettles). Leave to cool for 5-10 minutes then drain and squeeze with your hands to remove all excess moisture.
- Place in a food processor with garlic, fennel seeds, salt and pepper and puree until smooth. Add drained, thickened yoghurt and whizz to combine. Transfer to a serving bowl and chill until ready to serve. It will keep for 2-3 days in a covered container in the fridge.
More from Annabel using foraged greens