Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Last week for Viva - The New Zealand Herald, I shared this fabulous recipe for home made creamy and tangy yoghurt cheese rolled in freshly chopped herbs and lemon zest. The balls are then layered in a glass jar and topped with extra virgin olive oil.  

Sometimes I like to add a little chopped chilli, and olives to the coating, which also tastes fantastic. This fresh cheese is truly wonderful for spreading on bread or crackers, and is incredibly easy to prepare.

2 cups of natural yoghurt
a large handful of fresh herbs, finely chopped*
zest of a lemon
sea salt
extra virgin olive oil

*Italian parsley, basil, mint, thyme and oregano all work well.

Place a large piece of cheesecloth or muslin in a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl. Add the yoghurt, and then twist together the corners of the cheesecloth like a moneybag.

Place a plate on top, and then weigh down with a can or something similar.

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours. The longer you leave the cheese, the more liquid will drip away and the drier the cheese will become. 4.

Combine the herbs, lemon zest, and a large pinch of sea salt and ground pepper in a shallow bowl.

Using your hands, roll the cheese in to small balls, and then roll in the herb mixture.

Layer the balls in clean glass jar, and then top with extra virgin olive oil.
Seal, and then refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Makes a medium sized jar full.

*gluten free


  1. Eleanor , just curious to whether your extra virgin olive oil ever sets a bit hard in the fridge. mine always seems to when I make this but I use great quality olive oil that is not mixed with any other oil, as are a lot of the commercial oils, as I buy it straight from the farm. It is a bit of a put off and I would love to know how to avoid it. I have researched it and true olive oils should set hard in the fridge compared to normal vegetable oils. Perhaps for a recipe like this a mixed oil works better? Any thoughts welcome!

  2. These look wonderful. What a great gift to give a special food friend.

  3. Extra virgin oil will always coaguilate or thicken up when chilled. You can just let it sit room temp for 30 minutes or add a splash of canola oil and it will stop the olive oil to thicken up

  4. Wow, these look amazing & I can't wait to try them out! I am just wondering if Rice Bran Oil would be suitable as this is the oil that we use the most. Many thanks : )