I love eating cheese at Christmas and nut cheese is a really delicious vegan alternative. This is a really simple recipe and you can make it using a standard blender. You make the base for all three cheeses and then divide it up and add different flavourings. These are optional as it's delicious without. You can also keep it all as one big cheese if you wish. Why not try different varieties – rosemary, chopped, dried apricots, or chives and sesame seeds.
- 200 g ground almonds
- 170 ml water
- 55 ml olive oil
- zest of half a lemon
- juice of 1 ½ lemons
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- a generous grinding of black pepper
- ½ tsp chilli powder
- 1 handful fresh coriander leaves
- 3 drops liquid smoke
Here’s how you make it
- Add the ground almonds, water, oil, salt and pepper into a blender, or container if you are using a stick blender.
- Zest half a lemon and put aside – this is for the lemon and coriander cheese. It’s good to do this before you juice the lemons, because otherwise it becomes more difficult. Then you can juice the lemons and add the juice to the mix.
- Blend until everything is mixed properly and then blend a bit more. I usually go for around 30 seconds. It doesn’t need to be completely smooth, as it will be slightly crumbly when it’s ready.
- Divide the mixture into three and place in separate bowls. In one add the chilli powder or chilli flakes. Add the lemon zest and chopped coriander leaves to the other, and the liquid smoke to the third.
- Place baking paper on a sheet and grease it with a few drops of olive oil, or use an oil spray.
- Place a cloth or a tea towel in a bowl and scoop the mixture for one of the cheeses into the middle. Gather the edges together and twist until the mixture is tightly packed in the centre. If you have time, you can leave this on a seive in a bowel to drain for a little while, but you can also unwrap the cloth straight away and gently tip it onto the greased sheet. Repeat for the other cheeses. If the shape isn’t good, you can use your fingers to smooth it.
- Bake at a 140C or Gas Mark 1 for 40 minutes.
- Allow to cool before eating, otherwise you won’t be able to cut the nut cheese.
- Enjoy sliced in sandwiches, on crackers, on its own or crumbled on top of a dish like risotto.