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South African Recipes



Recipes on this page: Cream Cheese Hamwich Recipe , Herbed Cream Cheese Log

Read also more about cheese beneath the recipes.




· 14 slices of sandwich ham 
· 200g Cream Cheese 
· 1½ Tbls horseradish sauce
· 2 Tbls Lancewood Crème Fraîche (soured cream)
· ½ Tbls lemon juice


Mix Cream Cheese, horseradish, lemon juice and Crème Fraîche together in a bowl. Season with black pepper. Spread mixture evenly between the slices of ham. Finish with a slice of ham on the top. Place in freezer for ±2 hours until firm but not frozen. Cut the "hamwich" into squares with a sharp knife. Refrigerate until needed.



· 2 x 230g Cream Cheese, at room temperature
· 1 Tbls lemon juice
· 1 clove garlic, crushed
· 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
· 2 tsp. chopped fresh origanum
· 1 Tbls chopped fresh flat leafed parsley
· 1 cup chopped fresh chives 


Put the Cream Cheese in a large bowl and beat until soft and creamy. Mix in the lemon juice and garlic. Mix together the thyme, origanum and parsley. Line a 20 x 30-cm tin with foil. Spread the chives over the base, then spoon the Cream Cheese mixture over the chives. Using a palette knife gently spread the mixture into the tin, pushing it into any gaps. Sprinkle the combined herbs evenly over the cheese. Lift the foil from the tin and place onto a work surface. Roll into a log, starting from the longest edge, peeling back the foil as you go. Cover and place on a tray. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving. Serve with water crackers or fresh crusty bread.

Cheese adds an extra dimension to a meal.

Cheese is vulnerable to other strong flavours and smells. It will also dry out when exposed to very cold temperatures. Hard cheeses tend to benefit from being wrapped in a damp muslin cloth if they are kept for any period of time. Should mould appear on natural cheeses, other than those where mould is an integral part, this can be wiped off with a damp cloth with a little lemon juice or vinegar added to the water.

Ideal temperatures for storing cheese are approximately 4°C for soft cheeses and about 12°C to 15°C for harder styles. Cheese for cheese boards should be served at room temperature so it is advisable to let the cheese stand out of the fridge for about one hour before serving. When serving, accompany it with fresh fruit or preserved figs as a finishing touch.

Lastly, the timing of the cheese course.

Once the main course has been cleared, offer the cheese board to be enjoyed in the French way, where cheese is eaten before dessert and a dry white wine can be recommended depending on the type of cheese chosen, or the English way, after dessert with a sweet wine. Don't serve cheese too cold. This eliminates flavour. Most suppliers offer information about how to serve their specific brands. Find out from them what is the best way.

Legend has it that cheese was first 'discovered' by an Arabian merchant some 4 000 years ago. Apparently he poured his noon ration of milk into a bottle made from a sheep's stomach and plodded across the desert all morning, only to find, at lunchtime, that his liquid lunch had solidified.

Centuries later the Romans refined cheese-making techniques, adding herbs and spices, and went on to discover how to make smoked cheese. In addition to the rennet they extracted from the stomach of a weanling goat or sheep they also learned to use thistle flowers, safflower seeds, or fig bark, soaked in water, to make extracts that would set a curd. Baskets and nets and molds were devised to shape their cheeses.

In the fifteenth century the Swiss got into the art of cheesemaking, and built the first cheese factories where they created the famous and delicious Emmenthal cheese. The rest is pretty much cheese history

Eating cheese with crackers, fruit and a glass of wine is a gourmet experience all to itself. But cooking with cheese is quite another thing. Luckily for us South Africans, the cheese industry has enjoyed a wonderful revival over the last decade, and we finally have a wide selection of fromages to choose from. Broadly speaking, cheese can be divided into four groups: The fresh, unripened cheeses are your cottage and cream cheeses, feta, mascarpone and ricotta. Soft and semi-soft ripened cheeses are Brie, Camembert, Gorgonzola, mozzarella and Roquefort. The hard cheeses are Emmenthal, Edam, Cheddar, Gouda and Gruyere. Finally, there are the very had cheeses, Parmesan and Pecorino.

Cooking with cheese can be tricky. If it's prepared properly, melted cheese can be creamy, smooth and well combined with the other ingredients in the dish. If it's not done correctly, cheese can turn into a curdled, stringy and oily mess. Cheese contains a substantial amount of protein. When it's overheated or cooked for too long, these proteins curdle and separate from the fat and other components in the cheese. This is why the mixture will go lumpy and oily.

Luckily there are ways to prevent overheating, as follows:

·  Always cook a dish with cheese over gentle heat and for as short a time as possible.

·  Grate the cheese before you add it to your other ingredients.

·  Add cheese right at the end of the cooking time. Cook over low heat or remove it from the heat. Usually the heat of the food will be enough to melt the cheese. If the sauce is very hot, remove it from the heat and allow to cool before adding the cheese.

·  Never add cheese to a boiling liquid or casserole.

·  Add flour or cornflour to cheese dishes that require longer heating, such as baked casseroles.

·  Alcohol or lemon juice helps prevent cheese from going stringy. This is why traditional cheese fondues are made with white wine.

·  Cheese dishes should be baked at 180 degrees C or lower.

·  Never boil cheese or reheat once it has been cooked.

·  If cooking a dish containing cheese in the microwave, cook on 30% power or on low to prevent the cheese from becoming tough.

·  Low-fat cheese does not melt as easily as full-fat cheese. Rather use full-fat cheese for cooking.

·  Hard, well-aged cheeses such as Parmesan handle heat the best.

Cheese has four basic uses in cooking: flavouring, topping, filling and the as basis of some desserts. Here's when to use what:

Parmesan is one of the most popular cheeses to use as a flavouring because of its concentrated, nutty flavour. Gruyere or mature Cheddar are also strongly flavoured and melt more easily than Parmesan. They are popular in many sauces and pastries. Blue cheese is delicious in sauces or dressings.

Choose a cheese that will melt easily and turn a golden colour. Mozzarella, Gruyere and Cheddar work well.

Almost any cheese can be used as a filling. Soft cheeses can be used as fillings for pastries, or layered with vegetables. Ricotta or combinations of cheeses like ricotta, Parmesan and Gorgonzola work well. Gruyere and Cheddar are favourite basics for quiches.

A cheese for a dessert should have a mild flavour. The fresh cheeses like ricotta, cream cheese or mascarpone are normally used for this purpose.

And now for the good news: we have over 2 000 tried and tested recipes on food24 that are made using cheese. All you need to do is type the word in the search box.

Say cheese!