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CHEESE

It’s easy cheesy to turn nuts and seeds into tasty, tangy cheeses for dipping, melting and slicing

Fresh ricotta

By Claudia Lucero

Makes about 400g | Prep 10 mins plus soaking and chilling | Cook none | Calories 431 (per 100g)

300g (2 cups) cashews, soaked for 8-12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes and drained, or your substitution of choice

½ tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste

½ tsp lactic acid or 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

230ml (1 cup) water

SUBSTITUTIONS (CHOOSE ONE)

250g (2 cups) raw macadamia nuts, soaked for 8-12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes, drained

280g (2 cups) blanched almonds, soaked for

8-12 hours or boiled for

20 minutes, drained

260g (2 cups) raw sunflower seeds, soaked for 8-12 hours or boiled for 20 minutes, drained

340g (2 cups) cooked, drained white beans (cannellini, navy, or Great Northern), no water at all, plus 1 tbsp tapioca powder and 1 tbsp nutritional yeast – not as dense and rich, but still very tasty

1 Combine the cashews, salt, lactic acid and 115ml (½ cup) water in a blender.

2 Pulse a few times in the blender, stopping to scrape down the side of the container to make sure all of the cashews are incorporated. (Note: If you accidentally overblend, you will make cashew cream, also delicious! Simply drain it in cheesecloth and use it as you would sour cream.)

3 If necessary, add more of the remaining 115ml (½ cup) water, 1 tbsp at a time, until the blender can run smoothly.

4 Stop blending when the mix looks like wet oatmeal. If you are happy with the texture, you do not need to drain it (it will also thicken a little in the refrigerator). It’s ready to eat; or to drain, you can proceed to step 5.

5 If you need to drain the ricotta, place a cheesecloth in a colander and the colander in a small bowl to catch the liquid. Pour the ricotta blend into the cloth-lined colander.

6 Lift and twist the cheesecloth into a bundle. Squeeze until you see liquid (cashew milk) drip out. Use the cashew milk or ‘whey’ that drains out within 3 days in smoothies, biscuit recipes and creamy soups.

7 Use right away or store in the fridge in a dry, covered container. Enjoy within 1 week.

TIP For lemon ricotta, in step 1, add 2 tbsp lemon juice and 2 tsp lemon zest to the blender. For vanilla ricotta instead, at the same stage, add 2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp maple syrup, plus more to taste.

This recipe is taken from One-Hour Dairy-Free Cheese by Claudia Lucero, photography by Matthew Benson, published by Workman Publishing. (RRP £13.99.)

Super stretchy mozzarella

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About Vegan Food & Living Magazine

Vegan cheese is the one thing that still divides opinions in the vegan community, so if you can't find one you like, try making your own! We've got plenty of delicious vegan cheese recipes to inspire you this issue, from authentic blue cheese to melting mozzarella sticks and smoked Cheddar. You have to try them! Also this issue, we reveal how to take the classic Mac n Cheese to the next level, share posh takes on potatoes and reveal how to cook some of high street chain Wagamama's best vegan dishes. If that's not enough, we share top tips for starting off on a zero waste journey, show how to use up your food waste and reveal easy ways to better self-care. Plus we have part 2 in our Remarkable Women on the Frontline for Animals series.