You’ll be amazed at how much this nut “cheese” tastes just like a soft cheddar. Although it may seem like a bit of work to make the cheese, I have really come to appreciate the art of making nut cheeses, and I recommend giving it a go.
Serve this dish for a dinner party starter or as a simple weekday lunch. This soup is suitable for simplicity or celebration.
Heaped 3/4 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp vegan probiotic powder (you can use the powder from 2 to 3 probiotic capsules)
1 tsp white miso paste
3 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
Sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 tsp finely chopped chives
Chilled blackberry soup
3 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1/2 large cucumber
1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp roughly chopped basil
2 tsp balsamic glaze
2 tsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
A few pinches of store-bought dukkah
Crackers or crusty bread
Make the nut cheese: Place cashews, probiotic powder, miso paste and yeast flakes in food processor and blitz until very smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper.
Place fine sieve over large bowl and layer 2 to 3 pieces of paper towel in sieve (or use cheesecloth or muslin if you have either). Scoop cheese mixture onto paper towel or cheesecloth, then wrap it in tight bundle and tie with rubber band. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit in sieve at room temperature for 24 to 48 hours so cheese can ferment. After fermentation, place cheese (still in bundle) in fridge for at least 2 hours so it’s easier to work with.
Preheat oven to lowest setting (approximately 120 F). Remove cheese from bundle and transfer to bowl. Stir in chives. Spread cheese into molds of your choice, then turn out onto baking sheet. Remove molds and place cheese in oven to dehydrate for 3 to 6 hours, or until dry to the touch.
Make the blackberry soup: Meanwhile, combine blackberries, cucumber, thyme, basil, balsamic glaze and maple syrup in blender and blitz until smooth. Blend for a few more minutes on lower setting and drizzle in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour through sieve to remove blackberry seeds, then chill for at least 1 hour, ideally longer.
To serve, place a cheese round in middle of each of 2 shallow soup bowls. Pour soup around cheese. Serve with a sprinkle of dukkah over top and crackers or crusty bread on the side.