Vegans rejoice, the search is over! Mimi Biggadike uncovers a baked almond feta recipe you can preserve with olive oil!
All thanks and praise go to the folk at Sister of Soul, St Kilda where we met with the owner Daniel Clerici to talk about this nuttiest of cheeses. Daniel saw a niche for a good, wholesome, clean-eating restaurant in St Kilda back in 2015 and has since proved his hunch with the uproariously busy Sister of Soul.
The establishment serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to hungry hoards seven days a week. With a totally vegetarian menu, strong ethical sourcing of ingredients and a policy of making as much as possible in-house, it’s not hard to see why the masses are
The restaurant also upholds principles about the ethical treatment of animals, as they explain in large capital letters on their outside wall: ‘Animals are my friends… And I don’t eat my friends’. Thankfully, you don’t have to kill a nut in order to eat it, all that’s necessary is a little soak overnight in a bath and you’re ready to
This almond feta ‘cheese’ is divine. The recipe has been researched, sampled and tried out with different blends and combinations before finally a recipe was found which recreated the taste and texture of dairy feta, only it’s sourced from entirely plant-based
The almond feta enjoys such popularity at Sister of Soul that Daniel ponders whether he’ll soon have to offer it for home sale. In the time leading up to this eventuality, we’ve got you covered with the following
A little bit about why it works
The lemon splits the fat in the milk in the same way that rennet does for traditional dairy cheeses. It’s a great little trick, adding half a squeezed lemon to 250ml of any nut milk (or indeed soya, rice etc) to give you instant ‘buttermilk’. It’s also quicker and cheaper than making
dairy cheese from scratch – with only a few hours’ work you can have this meal completed and on the table impressing your friends in no
Ingredients 150g raw almonds
50g raw cashews
60ml lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp savoury yeast flakes
60ml olive oil
Method 1. Line a 20x20cm tray neatly with baking parchment and pour in the mix
2. Cover the nuts with cold water and leave overnight to soak.
3.Drain and then pop them in the blender along with all the other ingredients. Blitz until silky smooth.
4. Pour out the mix into the tray making sure to level it out, bake at 180 for 35-40mins until firm and just starting to colour.
5. Once cool, you can begin to portion it out. If you’re able to not scoff the lot immediately, it preserves beautifully well in olive oil.
Find yourself a jar, cut the feta into chunks and cover in olive oil and maybe one of the following:
Simple and Delicious: Oregano, rosemary or chilli
Something Swankier: Lemon myrtle and garlic or bay leaves, mustard seeds and pink peppercorns.
Never waste the oil from these infusions. It can be used to flavour your dishes further, whether it be to sauté your gnocchi quickly after cooking or to fry off the onions and garlic for the risotto you’ll later be crumbling your feta over.
Making a Meal of it: Baked Almond Feta with Gnocchi and Napoli Sauce
(Generous portions for 2)
Ingredients 200g potatoes
140g plain or 00 flour
1tsp Dijon mustard
1tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp savoury yeast flakes
Method 1. Dry roast your potatoes whole for an hour at 180 degrees. Once cooked, leave to cool and then scoop out the insides, discard the skins.
2. Add the mustard, salt and yeast flakes and mash until smooth. Add 100g of your flour and start kneading in the bowl to combine. Tip the remaining flour on your worktop along with your dough and knead further until it’s smooth and malleable.
3. Pop a large pan of salted boiling water on the stove on a medium heat.
4. Cut into 8 portions and roll each out into a sausage about the thickness of your thumb. Cut each sausage into 2-3cm nuggets. Once you have all your potato nuggets cut, transfer them into your pan. They are cooked once they float to the top, scoop them out at this point with a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of ice water to stop them cooking and prevent them from going mushy.
Ingredients 2tbsp olive oil
1 x 400g can whole peeled tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp raw sugar
1/2 tsp dried basil
Fresh basil for garnish
Method 1. Blend your onion and garlic in a food processor until roughly chopped, add to a deep frying pan with the olive oil and sweat them for a couple of minutes without colouring them.
2. Simply add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and bring to simmer, leave for 5 minutes to quietly bubble.
3. Bend it all up into a smooth sauce. Transfer back into the pan on a very low heat (you can make your sauce whilst your potatoes are roasting in the oven. I leave it to bubble after blending to strengthen the flavours and then add the gnocchi straight into the sauce after they’ve boiled. If you do this, you can skip out the ice water stage).
4. Transfer into your favourite bowl, crumble 2 tablespoons of the feta over with a good glug of olive oil, some freshly ground black pepper and a slight handful of fresh basil.