I took a trip to the Carp Farmers Market this past weekend and came across a wonderful sheep cheese maker, right here in our own backyard. Back Forty Artisan Cheese in Lanark County. He makes four styles of cheese with sheep milk and I picked the one that mostly resembles feta cheese, Flower Station. And, of course, it's delicious.
I am more of a cow milk fan, but I do like firm sheep cheese and soft goat cheese, and neither should taste too "sheepy" or too "goaty", but have a tang and an earthiness and delicate floral flavours.
When it's too hot to cook, I love to eat something really simple and I find that tzatziki - made with yoghurt and cucumbers provides a cooling effect in the onslaught of hot summer days that have just passed. I'm not complaining, mind you, I love the heat!
My tzatziki is a little different from a traditional Greek yoghurt dip, I am sure. The flavours are similar, texture is similar, but it's just so much better than the dip you can buy in the store. I'll admit, you do need a little time, as the yoghurt has to sit in a strainer overnight to get the best texture, but make sure you do it, it's so unbelievably good, you won't even recognise the texture as the yoghurt as it presses itself into something so thick and creamy.
I like mine with grilled pita bread, warm off the grill. You could also serve with vegetables, or like my husband ate it tonight, scooped on top of his grilled chicken breast.
Makes about 2 cups
perfected over many many years, but now amazingly good with the addition of Flower Station
1 large container natural/plain yoghurt* (about 650g)
1/2 english cucumber, shredded on large holes of box grater
125g feta cheese (I used the wedge of Flower Station)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
salt & pepper
Scoop yoghurt into a paper towel lined fine sieve. Traditionalists would say to use cheesecloth, but as long as you have decent papertowels (not dollar store) you should be OK. It works for me. Place sieve over a deep bowl, cover entire thing and leave to drain in the refrigerator overnight. If you have never done this before, you will be amazed at how much liquid actually comes out.
The next day, shred the cucumber and place into a clean tea towel, and squeeze as hard as you can to remove all the liquid. When you think you've squeezed enough, just do one more squeeze to be sure.
Transfer yoghurt to a medium sized bowl, add squeezed cucumber and remaining ingredients. Mix well to combine and season generously. Serve chilled.
*I like to use the full fat versions, and to be honest I have never used a low fat yoghurt, but you could try it.