(Makes about 2 cups)
*Raw cashews (not roasted or salted) x 200 grams
*Water x 1 cup
*Probiotic capsule x 1 (the cheapest I found was at Chemist Warehouse)
Flavouring to be added after cashews have cultured
*Olive oil x 1/4 cup
*Raw walnut pieces (not roasted or salted) x 1/2 cup
*Salt x 1/2 teaspoon
*Pepper to taste
*Juice from half a lemon
*French shallot x 1 or 1/4 of a small onion, finely chopped
*Garlic cloves x 1/2 or 1 full clove, finely minced (depending on if you like garlic or not)
*White truffle oil x 1/2 teaspoon
*Baking paper, large rubber bands (2), sticky tape
-Blend cashews and water until you have a very smooth paste, break open one probiotic capsule and add powder to mix, then blend a little more.
-Put cashew mixture into a clean glass bowl and cover with baking paper. Keep it secured with a large rubber band around the bowl and then follow-up with some tape around the rubber band. This is more fiddly than using plastic wrap, but baking paper allows the mixture to breathe a little without it being contaminated during the culturing process.
-Leave in the warmest part of your house (preferably a heated room if the weather is cold) for 24 hours. Warming your oven for a few minutes, then turning it off will create a ‘kick start’ to the fermenting process. Just place your bowl in the warm oven for about 5 minutes, then wrap a towel around it and allow it to rest somewhere warm.
-After 24 hours, check the cashew mix. It should have a sweet smell and be tangy to taste. If it’s not tangy, cover it again and repeat the resting process for another 7 to 12 hours. I usually have rest my cashew cheese a 2nd time.
-After the mixture has fermented long enough and is tangy to taste, it’s time to flavour it.
-In a food processor (or Bullet), add all flavouring ingredients and blend well to form a paste.
-Mix flavouring paste into cultured cashew cheese. The walnuts will add a slight mauve tinge to the dip. If you’re allergic to walnuts or don’t like them, you can skip them altogether and replace with more raw cashews. Truffle oil and garlic is also optional.
-Taste the dip and see if it needs any extra ingredients like salt, pepper or garlic. Consider adding chopped chives in at the end too or your favourite herb.
-Once the flavour is right, cover with plastic wrap (or put in a sealed container) and refrigerate at least 12 hours before serving.
-Serve on crackers, spread on toast or have it as a spread in a vegan sandwich. Consume within 2 weeks.