One of the best dates I have ever been on…
Have you ever bought one of those log thingys that you have with cheese – you know the ones, with walnuts in it and all that.
Well I have, and as a lover of cheese those purchases have been quite frequent. But never have I thought I’ll have a go, until I was thumbing through a Donna Hay magazine and hey presto there was that very one with figs and walnuts. Can’t copy that, so what to do, what to do…
Righto – one day, not as Jay-Z would be in “An Empire State of Mind”, I was indeed in a “Cheese State of Mind” – I’m going to have a go at making my own one of these puppies. My own style, my own ingredients – with some little differences to Ms Hay and tradition of course!
To make a roll that will easily last one to two cheese sittings for a group of 4-6 (and boy this stuff lasts forever) you’ll need;
- 20 dates with the pip removed and the end bit taken off;
- 2 tablespoons of sugar (finer the better as it dissolves quicker);
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice;
- 3 tablespoons of honey;
- 1 finely chopped chili padi; and
- half a cup of roughly chopped, or whole pistachio nuts.
Quite easy this really, but make it at least 2-3 hours minimum before you want to tuck in. You need this bad boy to sit in the fridge almost setting hard for that time. Too soon and it will still be soft and sticky, you won’t be able to cut it properly and so on. Patience Skywalker!!!
OK in to a pan add the dates, sugar, lemon juice, honey and chili pad and sort of stew for 5 minutes of so on a fairly high heat. It should all sort of congeal together, with the dates almost melting and absorbing the juices.
When you get to that, out she comes and in to a blender and whizz until smooth. Out of the blender and in to a bowl. Stir in the pistachios and that’s the cooking bit over and done with.
Take some baking paper, you know the greaseproof stuff and spoon the mix from the bowl on trying to form a rough sausage shape. When it’s all on there you need to start to roll it to literally form a big sausage and then roll the paper tight to keep the shape. Roll the ends like a Christmas Cracker and pop it in the fridge for the much needed 2-3 hours to chill, set and harden.
When done you simply load your plate with cheese and plonk this on as a bloody nice alternative to biscuits. Its sweet, savoury, zingy and spicy all in one. Imagine that with a big lump of strong blue – yep it’s heavenly. Just carve a slice off and munch away – plus look real nice when you see the pistachios nestled in there.