The summer months are not too far away and I’m looking forward to lots of entertaining ahead, with friends and family by the pool. Homemade dips with crackers and chips always go down a treat. But not everyone expects a gluten and dairy free cheese to be laid on the table as well. So I’ve made some variations to the original recipe found here.
This cheese has a slight chilli bite, without being too overpowering. It has a lovely smooth texture with a slight salty taste and just enough warmth from the garlic and chilli for flavour. If you do like it hot and spicy like me, instead of using just olive oil to garnish I have mixed ½ a tablespoon of chilli oil to the 1 tablespoon of olive to give it a bit more of a kick!
I was originally inspired to create this cheese when I came upon a recipe for a savoury filled herb chilli ‘cheese’ crackers. I’ve been working on this recipe for quite some weeks now and I hope to be able to share it with you in the very near future.
The feta is delicious with crackers or thinly sliced as part of a sandwich filling. Stored in the refrigerator, the cheese keeps for a week.
160g (5.6 ounces or 1 cup) whole blanched almonds
125ml (½ cup) cold water
60ml (¼ cup) lemon juice
2 tablespoons (30ml) garlic oil (I use this brand)
2 tablespoons (30ml) chilli oil (I use this brand)
1½ teaspoons (7.5ml) salt
1½-2 tablespoons (22.5ml-30ml) olive oil
Fresh Chives, snipped with scissors and a small red chilli roughly chopped
Ideally, soak the almonds in a bowl of room temperature water for 24 hours and then drain and rinse. However, if you don’t have the time, you can soak the almonds for 3 hours in boiling water from the kettle. Each hour, drain the almonds and cover again with more boiling water. The end result will be very similar.
Add the rinsed and drained almonds to a powerful blender, along with the water, lemon juice, garlic oil, chilli oil and salt. Depending on your blender, it will take about 5-7 minutes for the mixture to become thick and creamy.
Line a strainer with 3 layers of muslin cloth/cheesecloth and then spoon in the thick cheese mixture. Now bring the ends up and twist the top of the cloth. The cheese should be tightly wrapped and will have a ball shape appearance.
Give it a very gentle squeeze to remove some of the excess liquid, before tying the top off with an elastic band and allowing the cheese to drain overnight in the refrigerator.
Preheat the oven to 93C and line a tray with baking paper/parchment.
Unwrap the cheese and place it on the prepared tray, then gently shape it into a 14-15cm round, approximately a 2cm thick disc.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until the top is slightly firm and dry. Cool on the tray and then transfer it to the refrigerator to chill. Once chilled, your cheese is ready to use.
To garnish, pour the olive oil evenly over the cheese and sprinkle over the finely diced chilli and thyme leaves. Serve with crackers of your choice.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
110C = 93C fac = 200F = Gas mark ½
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 320F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8