Recipe: Raw Vegan Cream Cheese with Chives

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I haven’t posted a new recipe for ages and ages and ages! Not because I don’t have any – far from it – I am working away in the background creating lots of delicious dishes for my new menu for my Raw Food & Yoga Summer Retreats and Raw Juice Camp in Portugal. I’m ecstatic about these events and I am a complete addict about food when it comes to creating amazing new plates to share with our guests!

Also, I lost my mum this year and needed some time out – she passed away very recently – and that has meant lots of family time nursing our mother while she was very poorly, and spending our time saying our goodbyes. Every lady knows when it’s the right time to leave a party so I took my guidance from my mother to just take some time out and re-plug back in to work things when I felt ready.

So I really do feel that my ‘new year’ is starting now! I always say that ‘SPRING’ is THE time to emerge – so this late Spring 2017 is my new year and I am ready for sharing more of the good stuff with you! Now let’s get to the recipe!

Making cheese

Last year I was playing with some awesome new cheese recipes for my new book (news on that much later) and one day while I was literally drowning in the kitchen with 27 cheeses I realised that I love making creamy soft smooth cheese ‘spreads’ the most.

I don’t always use probiotics either! I don’t always do fancy things with cheese (although I should, more because it’s so worth it!) because, like most people, I don’t always have the time. There’s this one cheese though that I am getting addicted to – that I really want to share with you! I am not sure if this one is going to make it in to the book yet.

I have used this recipe as an ingredient in lots of dishes recently (which I will be sharing so keep a look out for new recipe posts!) so it’s a great time to share it with you as you will be seeing it a lot in my dishes coming soon!

Using Probiotics

I attended a great seminar, hosted by a high profile brand of probiotics, recently and asked the question: what impact does using different strains of probiotic have on the flavour or maturity or nutrition of a raw vegan fermented cheese? I must admit I got the blank stare in response. ‘You use probiotics for making cheese out of nuts and seeds?’ Well, yes I do. It was a new one on the team. There was no answer. So I took it upon myself to explore. Nil results so far in forming any conclusive opinion – with lots of trials I am really not sure that I know the answer myself! I have used a variety of strains that don’t seem to impact flavour or the finish of the cheese – so I would say use a probiotic of your choice – it doesn’t seem to affect things too much. But – USE a probiotic with this cheese – without it it’s just a pretty tasty nut paste.

I made a few tweaks to my process after attending a lovely class at one of the satellite kitchens I use at Cookery School – Made in Hackney – it was brill. Go check them out!

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups raw unroasted cashew nuts – soaked in filtered water for at least 4 hours – best overnight
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp or 2 capsules of probiotic (acidophilus or similar is fine) or rejuvelac but using less water
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes (milled to a fine flour)
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped chives
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped salad onion
  • 1 pinch quality salt – I love flor de sal
  • pepper to taste
  • chopped chives & mint to serve
  • lime juice to serve

Method

First we need to make the cheese base: discard the cashew soak water and place nuts in the blender with the filtered water. Blend so you have a very liquidy cheese, but not a runny sauce. Then add the probiotic (if using capsules pour the probiotic out of the capsule – don’t add the whole plastic bit of the capsule) and give it another quick blend. Pour into a muslin bag or nut bag and hang (uncovered) over a bowl for 12 hours. I hang it from my kitchen cupboard door-handle over a bowl overnight. The bowl should fill with lots of liquid (wahoo use this to add to your smoothie, sauces or cheesecakes! its an awesome probiotic drink!). This step is important so the probiotic gets liquidy time literally hanging out with the nuts and doing it’s thing.

Then take the cheese (it should still be quite soft) from the muslin and add to a glass bowl. Cover the bowl with cling film and punch holes in the top. Allow the cling film to touch the cheese paste so there isn’ too much air in the bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature for another 12-24 hours.

Yeah, I know. It’s a practice of patience that is well worth the reward! The taste at this stage should be soured cream cheese.

When you are ready – add all the other ingredients by folding gently in to the mix. You should have a delicious creamy smooth gorgeous tasting cream cheese! Add salt and pepper to your taste and add more or less onions as you like it.

I like to serve this with freshly squeezed lime juice with all sorts of crackers and salads. It should last in the fridge for up to 10 days but if it’s still there after all the time I will assume that you went on holiday and forgot about it. This. Is. The. Stuff. That. Cheese. Dreams. Are. Made. Of.

A big shout out to my stunningly beautiful local flower store Love Flowers of Hertford for letting us hang out and turn their gorgeous flower shop into a photo studio for the day!

Enjoy! And let me know how you get on!

Keeping it juicy & raw

Big loves

 

 

 

 

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