LABNA with green chilli and pomegranate

Labna, is a popular dip or accompaniment to many middle eastern dishes, it can be flavoured with saffron, toasted cumin or caraway seeds to add a little exotic theme.

200 ml natural yoghurt
2 spring onions
2 small green chillies, finely chopped and deseeded
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar, lemon juice or white balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Sea salt
1 fresh pomegranate, halved and seeds removed
2 Tbsp freshly chopped dill
2 Tbsp freshly chopped mint
A little extra virgin olive oil
Muslin or cheese cloth, string
Middle Eastern flatbreads – to serve
Olive oil
Caraway seeds
To make the Labna – Rinse the muslin cloth under water, remove any excess moisture. Place the yoghurt in the centre of the cloth, bring all the sides up to form a parcel. Tie securely with string, leaving enough string so you can hang it from a shelf in your fridge over a bowl. It is best left over night, you are wanting to remove any excess liquid.
To finish off the bread – Heat up the grill on your oven to hot. Lightly crush the seeds and add to the oil. Brush over the bread on one side and place under the grill until crispy and lightly toasted. Cool and snap into large pieces.

Once the yoghurt has strained it becomes almost cheese like. Remove it from the muslin.

In a bowl, mix the yoghurt with the spring onions, chillies, vinegar and garlic. Season with salt.

Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds, dill and mint.

Drizzle over a little oil and serve with the flatbreads.

CORNETS – Salmon Tartare with Sweet Red Onion Crème Fraiche

Makes 24
¼ cup plus 3 Tbsp all purpose flour
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened but still cool to touch
2 large egg whites, cold
2 Tbsp black sesame seeds or lightly toasted plain sesame seeds
Firstly you need to make a template – I use the lid of an ice cream container. Carefully cut a circle 10cm in diameter, make a couple so you have back up.

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the softened butter until it is completely smooth and mayonnaise-like in texture. Using a stiff spoon or spatula, beat the egg whites into the dry ingredients until completely incorporated and smooth. Whisk in the softened butter by thirds, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary and whisking until the batter is creamy and without any lumps. Transfer the batter to a smaller container, as it will be easier to work with.

Preheat oven to 190C

Grease a baking tray with a little oil. Place the circular template in one corner and press flat, scoop some of the batter onto the back of a spoon or palate knife and spread it in an even layer over the template. Then run the palate knife over once again, removing any excess batter. Continue with another 3 rounds. Sprinkle with some few sesame seeds.

After cooking the first batch of cornets you will be able to judge the amount of batter needed. There should not be any holes in the batter.

Bake for 4-6 minutes or until the batter is set and you see it rippling from the heat.

Working very fast, carefully flip over a cornet so the sesame seeds are face down. Place a cornet mould at the bottom of the round. If you are right handed, you will want the pointed end on your left and the open end on your right. Tip of the mould should touch the lower left edge (at about 7 o’clock on a clock face). Fold the bottom of the cornet up and around the mould and carefully roll upward and toward the left to wrap the cornet tightly around the mould; it should remain on the baking tray as you roll. Leave the cornet wrapped around the mould and continue to roll the remaining ones. If they get cold simply warm the tray in the oven, continue as before. When they are all done, place seam side down on the tray and bake for an additional 4 minutes to set the seams.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool just slightly, 30 seconds or so.
Gently remove the cornets from the mould and cool for several minutes on paper towels.
Wipe down the tray and cool, grease with a little oil and repeat the process until the mixture is finished. Set asided.


Makes about ¾ cup

150 g salmon fillet, skin any pin bones removed, very finely minced
¾ tsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp lemon juice (to taste)
1 ½ tsp finely chopped chives
1 ½ tsp finely chopped shallots
½ tsp salt, to taste
Small pinch white pepper
With a sharp knife, finely chop the salmon so it is fine like mince, and place in a small bowl. Stir in the remaining ingredients and taste for seasoning. Cover the bowl and chill for at least 30 minutes or even over night.


1 Tbsp finely diced red onions
½ cup crème fraiche
¼ tsp salt to taste
Freshly ground white pepper to taste
24 chive tips


For the sweet red onion crème fraiche: Place the red onions in a small strainer and rinse them under cold water for several seconds. Dry them on paper towels. In a small metal bowl, whisk the crème fraiche for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until it holds soft peaks when you lift the whisk. Fold in the chopped onions and season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer the onion cream to a container, cover and chill.

To complete: Fill just the 2 cm of each cornet with onion cream, leaving the cone empty, (I use a piping bag). Spoon about 1 ½ tsp of the salmon tartare over the onion cream and mould it into a dome resembling a scoop of ice cream. Garnish with a chive tip.