Well we survived Christmas! But in Australia we are only just beginning summer which means plenty more entertaining ahead, and let’s be honest, more cheese. You might be thinking that you will never eat cheese again after the 16 hour grazing platters of the last week or so, but trust me, this too shall pass. You are going to need this Cherry Cheese Log in your life soon enough.
I have never understood the cheese ball. Or if I have, it’s only when I’ve stumbled across the cheese platter at the exact moment the ball has made it’s entrance enrobed in nuts and begging to be eaten.
After 5 minutes all the good outer bits have been scraped away and the inner chunk of cream cheese (let’s face it, most of the ball) is left sitting on the table to wilt in the heat of the sun.
The cheese log however is something I can get around. Each slice has the perfect proportion of fruit, herbs and crunchy outer nuts. I challenge anyone to let this beauty wilt.
My version is filled with fresh cherries but isn’t sweet. I love playing with the sweet/savoury combination of adding fruit to salads and other dishes. The other delight here is that it is a super affordable addition to a cheese platter. The recipe makes a very long cheese log (about 30cm). I cut mine in half and took it to two events, so it’s perfect for the post Christmas budget blues too.
- 250g (8oz) cream cheese
- 200g (7oz) feta cheese
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, unpeeled
- 180g (6oz) fresh cherries, pitted and chopped (allow for about 200g unfitted cherries)
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped finely
- 1 Tbsp fresh chives, chopped finely
- 1 shallot, chopped finely
- Pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)
- 120g (4oz or 3/4 cups almonds
- 2 Tbsp desiccated coconut
- Plastic wrap
- Remove cheeses from fridge, roughly chop and allow them to soften at room temperature while you do the rest of the preparation.
- Place cherries on paper towel to absorb some of the juice.
- Preheat oven to 180C
- Place almonds and garlic on a tray in the oven and roast for 10 minutes.
- Check and toss the almonds and return the pan to the oven for another 5 minutes until almonds are lightly toasted.
- Remove almonds from the tray and allow to cool, return garlic to the oven for another 10 minutes.
- Allow to cool, then chop finely
- Beat cheeses in a large bowl until smooth.
- Add lemon juice and zest, garlic, herbs, shallot and chilli flakes (if using) and mix well.
- Gently fold through cherries being careful not to crush them.
- Spread out a large sheet of plastic wrap on the bench.
- Spoon mixture into a long sausage shape.
- Wrap up tightly like a salami.
- Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Roughly chop almonds and spread over a large board.
- Carefully unwrap the cheese log and roll in the almonds until coated.
- Sprinkle over the coconut.
- Store in the refrigerator
- This makes a large (about 30cm long) cheese roll. I cut mine in half and took it to two different events. If you wish to do this, it is best to coat with the nuts on the day of serving.
- The uncoated cheese roll with keep in the fridge for about 3 days.