Tangy sun dried tomato macadamia spread
Ok, admittedly, this spread or ‘cheeze’ is a bit of a niche product. But it is delicious and totally worth trying! Being fermented, and packed full of probiotics, it is super good for you. And if you’re dairy free or vegan and missing the taste of cheese, this could really hit the mark nicely. It’s certainly healthier than all those weird cheese substitute products that you can buy – folks, that’s not real food!
- 2 cups macadamia nuts
- 1 teaspoon of probiotic powder. I use Solgar ABC Dophilus powder, because it’s 100% dairy free and suitable for vegans.
- 3 tablespoons of sun-dried tomato puree. I used Gia brand as there’s no weird crap in it and it tastes delicious.
- A good handful of freshly chopped basil. Once you’ve chopped it all down, this is probably about 3 – 4 tablespoons.
- Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste.
If you’re not used to fermenting foods, trust me, it’s a whole world of fun. This spread takes 2 days to make but it is worth it, I promise! And learning how to ferment foods will enrich your life and bring happy living joy to your kitchen
- Soak the macadamias in water for a couple of hours. Drain and rinse well.
- Put in a high-speed blender with 1 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of pro-biotic powder, and blend until you get a smooth mousse like texture with no lumps.
- You now need to drain it of liquid and allow it to ferment. There’s probably fancy ways to do this, but mine is very basic. Pour the mixture into a muslin cloth or nut mylk bag (or a pair of thin nylon tights or something similar). You’ll probably want to place the cloth in a sieve (plastic please) or some sort of other holding receptacle. Tie the muslin so the mixture is fully contained within it. You can press a weight on top to squeeze some of the liquid out – I use a big bottle of water. Another method is to tie the muslin round chopsticks or the handle of a wooden spoon and leave it to drain like that.
- Leave it to drain and ferment for 24 hours or longer. The longer you leave it, the tangier it gets.
- Once it’s drained, unwrap it from the muslin and place into a bowl. It might smell quite strong – hard to describe what of – I guess like a strong cheese. This is OK!
- Add the other ingredients and mix well. If you’re not using the sun-dried tomato paste, you could use sun-dried tomatoes – soak them first to soften them, then blend or chop into tiny bits.
- Spoon the mixture into a cheese mould, or a glass ramekin will do if you don’t have one.
- You could eat it like this. But, to increase the solidity and cheese-like texture of it, I now dehydrate mine for 24 hours or longer. This also ferments it a bit further and really allows the tomato and basil flavours to concentrate. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can sometimes use your oven on the lowest possible temperature and with the door open – but I’d do some research on this first if I were you! If you’re using a glass ramekin, or something else that doesn’t have holes in it like a cheese mould, once it’s firm enough, tip it out the container so that it can dehydrate a bit faster and more evenly.
It looks like this when it’s done.
This sun-dried tomato recipe is my current favourite, but you can add any flavours that you like. In terms of flavours, the Gia puree that I use contains olive oil, vinegar, salt, chillies, oregano, garlic and capers.
Another scrummy one is roasted garlic and black pepper. Or any sort of fresh green herb that you like eg chives.