Macadamia 'Chèvre' Nut Cheese

Even if you haven't tried nut cheese, or love dairy cheese, trust me, you need to make this! It's creamy, easy to make and is so delicious!

This is a simple recipe for a nut cheese roll. Perfect to throw together for guests or for your own cheese board. I served this with other dairy cheeses to guests, just to see what would happen (sometimes the idea of eating non-dairy cheese outright causes some eyebrow raises). I didn't tell anyone. But people ate it and said "oh wow, this one is really good, so creamy!"

The reason? Macadamia nuts! These little babies are full of fatty acids, giving them a profile that is unparalleled. After coconut oil, macadamia nuts have the lowest amounts of omega-6 fatty acids of all nuts (this is good as we want to aim for higher omega-3 foods, and lower unadulterated omega-6 foods). They are also extremely high in monounsaturated fatty acids, and antioxidants. So, nutritional benefits are fab. Additionally, from a culinary perspective, the oily nature of macadamia nuts means that their oil, and blended nuts, gives off a creamy, buttery flavour in food, and is a bright white, perfect for making cheese.

By fermenting the blended nuts, we get a texture and flavour very similar to goats cheese (chèvre). You can flavour the cheese with a variety of herbs/spices, to go from savoury to sweet. The creamy nature also means you can make logs, balls, or shapes. Recipe below!

This is a dish made as part of the Matthew Kenney Cuisine Academy: Level II - Advanced Raw Cuisine. The basic recipe is the same anywhere, and I'm sharing my flavouring tips below.

INGREDIENTS & ASSEMBLY

BASIC MACADAMIA CHEESE

  • 2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked for 7 hours, or overnight, rinsed and drained well*
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 1 capsule probiotic powder (acidophilus)

*always soak your nuts! Click here for a good soaking guide

STANDARD FLAVORING

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

To make the basic cheese, blend the nuts with about 3 tablespoons of the water. Try to use as little water as possible as this is better for fermentation, but if the mixture won't blend, slowly add 1 tablespoon at a time and keep blending. You want the blended product to be quite dry. Then add the probiotic powder and pulse the blender to mix through, ensuring not to over-blend as heat can denature the probiotics.

Pour the cheese into a cheesecloth, nut milk bag, or even a pantyhose (obviously clean!) Place the bag into a strainer/colander over a bowl. Plate something heavy on top of the bag, to allow all the liquid to slowly drip out into the bowl below. Make sure it's not too heavy or the cheese will come out too!

Leave the cheese to ferment. You have two options here:

FERMENTATION OPTION 1: leave the bowl in a cool but warm spot for between 24 to 48 hours. You don't want black mould to grow on top, so watch it carefully. Check it after 24 hours - a light crust should have formed on top and you should be able to smell the slight fermentation. For me, about 35 hours was perfect (1.5 days);

FERMENTATION OPTION 2: put the cheese (with the colander/bowl) into a food dehydrator, set to 85°F (29°C), and leave for 24 hours.

After fermenting, scrape the cheese out of the cloth and put into a new bowl. You may notice the darker yellow crust on top - this is normal and can just be mixed into the cheese. Add the standard flavouring (see above), and mix well. Divide into two, as you can get two nice logs from one recipe, and flavour each differently!

You can also add other flavouring of your choice as this time, as the standard flavouring is really to give the cheese a savoury feel. Don't use fresh herbs as these can spoil the cheese - dried are best. I used lemon rind, thyme and pink peppercorns. You could also try orange, vanilla, floral flavours, rosemary, dill, paprika - the flavour combinations are up to your imagination. Don't cover the outside until serving!!

Roll the cheese into your desired shapes (two logs is nice). They can be wrapped in baking paper (parchment paper), twisting the ends to keep their shape. Store them in the fridge. They will get creamier and creamier over time - 2 weeks is best, but the cheese is still delicious the next day!

When ready to serve, unroll the cheese from the baking paper, and roll it in other desired flavourings. I used pink peppercorns for one, and black peppercorns for the other. But you can use chopped fresh herbs (parsley/dill/cilantro/mint), or many other combinations!



What to serve with macadamia cheese? Here is some inspiration. Links to recipes below.

Festive Superfood Salad

Creative Cheese Plates (incorporating fresh fruit, pickled items, sauces or berry purees, chia or flax crackers, etc).