One of my favourite things to eat, definitely has to be snacks! Especially savoury snacks. I just loooove snacks! Cheese, dips, crackers, olives. Give me that any day over sweet food and chocolate, and I'll be perfectly happy.
Since transitioning to plant based food, I've really missed eating cheese. It was one of my all time favourite foods. So coming up with a vegan alternative has been high on my To-Do list. I had a look at Google and there was a million recipes for vegan cheese, so I realised that maybe it was achievable after all. But it still seemed like a daunting recipe to make. Thank goodness for all the tips and tricks I learned from Marc in my raw workshop at Back2Earth for giving me the confidence to make the perfect vegan cheese myself at home. Watching him do it so easily, inspired me to give it a go, and I'm so glad I did.
Two of my favourite cheese flavours that you could buy in the shops for get togethers, was Cheese and Chives, and Apricot and Almond, so I had to have a go at recreating those for my Christmas platter this year.
I'll give the recipe for the basic cheese below, but you just need to add some fresh chopped chives - maybe 1 Tablespoon to get the Cheese & Chives flavour, and some finely chopped dried apricots and slivered almonds, again 1-2 Tbsp. I sprinkled some chives on the bottom of the ramekin, added some of the cheese mixture, sprinkled on some more chives and repeat, topping with fresh chives to finish. The same process applies for the Almond and Apricot flavour.
To get the fermented cheese taste I used Probiotic tablets. You can find vegan versions of these usually in the fridge section of your local health food shop.
A couple of days in a dark, warm cupboard, and the magic happens, then you just store your cheese in the fridge as normal, where it continues to ferment more slowly.
Your cheeses are then perfect to add to your favourite cheese and fruit platter, to bring along to get togethers, or just to eat by yourself!
This recipe is super simple to make, so I hope you give it a try. Once you're comfortable with the basic cheese, you can test out different flavours
(Makes 2 small ramekin cheeses)
2 cups cashews - soaked overnight in water, then drained well
1 tsp pink himalayan salt
4 probiotic tablets
1 tsp water if required
Add ingredients to a high powered blended, I used a Vitamix.
Open the probiotic capsules and empty the powder into the blender, discarding the cases
Blend, increasing speed to high, and using the tamper to push the ingredients into the blades for about 2 mins until nice and smooth.
Line two small ramekins with a square of non stick baking paper. Leaving enough to overhang.
Place half the cheese mix in each ramekin, pressing down until filled.
Fold the extra baking paper over the top of the cheese until covered.
Place ramekins in a dark, warm place for 2 days to ferment.
After two days, place the cheeses in the fridge for another 1-2 days or more to chill and harden further.
They can be eaten immediately, but do improve further if you leave them the extra few days.
Enjoy your cheeses as normal.
For flavoured cheeses, prepare cheese as normal, but layer the bottom middle and top layer with your flavourings when placing in the ramekin. 1-2 Tablespoons should do the trick!
*The recipe above is for two cheeses to help with blending. If you use less ingredients, you will have difficulty blending. So two cheeses is always better than one! For three cheeses for this picture, I used 3 cups of cashews, and 6 probiotic tablets.