Having lost over 5 stone with Slimming World in less than a year, I’ve changed my eating habits drastically and feel so much better for it. It has been a challenge to overcome the cravings I frequently used to have for butter, cream, chocolate, cakes, anything with salted caramel in it and salt and vinegar crisps (to name but a few things) but I’ve done it. What helped me to lose weight was creating healthier versions of certain dishes that I used to love even though they weren’t always good for me. I now spend a lot of time in the kitchen working on new recipes and ensuring they taste as good as the ‘full fat’ versions but are much better for you.
One thing I used to like quite a lot was rich, creamy (and calorie laden) garlic and herb soft cheese. And I ate quite substantial portions of it as I didn’t seem to have a full button. So, in order to have an occasional indulgent cheese fest, I needed to come up with a recipe that would satisfy my cheese-y tooth while adhering to the Slimming World guidelines.
So, here is my recipe for a FAT FREE (yup, you read that correctly) creamy tasting garlic and herb cheese that is good spread on bread, bagels and buns or dolloped on a jacket potato or chilli dish. The possibilities are endless. I’ve used chives but you could use any herbs you like. I like the cheese made with fresh garlic but when I don’t have any I use garlic granules. The small amount of sweetener counters the slightly sour taste of the quark but you can leave it out if you wish.
While you can play around with the added ingredients, the key thing in this recipe is that you have to strain the cheese for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight, in the fridge. This is what changes the consistency and fools you into thinking that a thicker cheese must mean a creamy cheese. Yes, it’s thicker but you can eat copious amounts of it with a clear conscience because it’s FAT FREE!
250g fat free quark (usually at the end of a supermarket cheese aisle)
1 ½ tablespoons of fresh or dried chives. If fresh, snip them into small pieces
½ teaspoon granulated sweetener
¼ teaspoon of garlic powder or 1 small/medium fresh garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
You’ll need a nut milk bag (Amazon or health food shop purchase) or a jam straining bag.
Place all of the ingredients in a small bowl and mix together with a spoon.
You should end up with a fairly sloppy textured mixture, like this:
Take a nut milk bag (pictured) or jam straining bag, and spoon the mixture into it.
You then need to suspend the filled bag over a bowl to catch the liquid that comes out of the cheese. I have to improvise with a silicone spatula (see photo) but I think that’s a sign of a creative cook!
Place the bowl and the suspended cheese filled bag in the fridge for 8 hours or overnight.
You can see how much liquid comes out of the cheese in this photo.
Once strained, tip the now firm cheese into a small bowl. If not eating immediately, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge.
Eat and enjoy!
For any Slimming World members reading this, as this creamy cheese is actually fat free quark it is a FREE FOOD and not a Healthy Extra A choice like many other cheeses. How brilliant is that?