Cheeseboard, in my mind, is a dinner party savior. It requires minimal effort to put together and yet, there’s a certain grandeur about it that gives a wow factor. Rustic looking oak cheeseboard or a beautiful slap of marble, adorn with cheeses of various height, sizes and texture; condiments, nuts and fruits to complete the overall presentation. I mean, what’s not to like a party favourite that can stand the test of room temperature? Let’s not forget we need something to nibble on with drinks.
Cheese board is very much like, wine. It is very personal and there is 101 ways to go about it. It comes down to the type of cheese most people whom you’re inviting and you will like.
Even though the idea of serving a cheeseboard is to keep the cooking or preparation down to a minimum, I wanted to step outside the box and put a little work into my cheeseboard. I was planning a Mexican party and I basically wanted to slap a Mexican theme on everything. (Oh how original? ;)) Ideally, I’d love to source some Mexican cheeses like queso just to keep with the theme. Due to the limited cheese selection where I live, it’s time for me to improvise.
So here is what I came up with.
The make-up of Mexican Styled Cheeseboard
- Smoky Chipotle Whipped Feta (recipe bel0w)
- Smoked Cheddar
- Taco Cheese Log (recipe below)
- Plain crackers
- Fresh figs
Suggested Cheese & Filler Pairings:
- Chipotle Whipped Feta + Cucumber + Cracker
- Smoked Cheddar + Cucumber + Cracker
- Double Brie + Pecan + Cracker
- Taco Cream Cheese + Fig + Cracker
** Suggested Cheese & Wine Pairing:
- Chipotle Whipped Feta —– Pierre Naigeon Beaujolais
- Double Brie —- Phillip Shaw Chardonnay
- Smoked Cheddar —- Taylors Carbernet Sauvignon
- Taco Cheese Log —- Mc William’s Mount Pleasant Elizabeth Semillon
** Please note the wine selection was a join effort among my friends and the shop assistant.
Chipotle Whipped Feta
What you’ll need:-
- 200g (7 ounces) feta
- 1/2 tsp of chopped chipotle pepper (adjust to taste)
- Olive oil (approximately 1/8 cup); alternatively, you can add yoghurt
- 1/2 garlic, peeled & roughly cut into small pieces
- Juice from half a lime
- Paprika to garnish
and a small food processor
In a small food processor, combine feta, chipotle pepper, garlic and some olive oil and process until smooth and consistency resembling soft whipped cream cheese. I didn’t measure the amount of olive oil (which you can substitute with yoghurt). Basically I added the olive oil gradually and process it, check for consistency and add more olive oil and process it until the desired consistency was achieved. This is the case it is best to add the olive oil less than required rather than over done it as you cannot salvage the whipped feta when it is too liquidy.
Taco Cheese Log
(recipe from www.food.com, tweaked)
What you’ll need:-
- 250g (8.8 ounces) Philadelphia Cream Cheese Block, soften to room temperature
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar
- 1/2 spring onion, use the white and some of the green part, finely chopped
- Milk (I didn’t add any milk but should you find the consistency a bit too thick and unworkable, feel free to add some)
- 100g corn chips, crushed
- A handful of fresh coriander (cilantro), finely chopped – about 1 tbsp when it is finely chopped
And a handheld mixer, baking paper & cling wrap
In a large mixing bowl, add the soften cream cheese and shredded cheddar. Beat until light and fluffy (add a little milk to ease the mixing if you like). Stir in chopped spring onion and mix until well combined. Set aside. Scatter half of the crushed corn chips and chopped coriander on a large sheet of cling wrap. Use a spoon to transfer the cream cheese mixture on top of the corn-chips-and-coriander crumbs, roughly formed a log. Then scatter the remaining crumbs on top and the side of the cheese log. Roll up the cheese log to form a smooth cylinder. Roll the cheese log again with the baking paper. Make sure both ends are twisted tightly like wrapping a lolly. Place in the fridge until it is solid for at least an hour. Unwrap the cheese log when serving.