The ever-popular Nutty balls have been re-invented! Originally made with (otherwise inedible) cashew nut roast mix, when that became unavailable I could no longer make them. A new recipe from first principles is now created, however, it does require access to a coffee-grinder or other method for pulverising nuts to powder – as this ingredient is not available in the shops.
Please note: I am incapable of anything other than the roughest idea of measurements, I provide the concept, you make your own version.
• Nuts: I use cashews (whole) and chopped mixed nuts or chopped hazelnuts – I would use all cashews but that’s more expensive.
• Low fat cream cheese (ie own-brand low fat version of Philadelphia). I use about 1/3 of a packet.
• Some grated strong hard cheese. About 2oz.
• Oil. I used walnut oil, since I had some, but any is fine. About a tablespoon.
• Herbs. Mixed herbs or Italian herbs, and about equal quantity of sage – gives it a good savoury taste.
• Gram flour (chickpea flour). If you can’t get it, and you’re happy to use eggs then 1 egg for binding. Or some commercial egg-replacement stuff. But gram flour is the cheapest for this purpose. About 2 tablespoons.
• A little flour.
• A little water (about a tablespoon probably – you don’t want a sloshy mess). If you use egg instead of gram flour you may not need any water.
• Fresh-crumbed bread. I use about 1 crust and a slice of wholemeal bread going stale. Having a food-processor, I chuck it in there to crumb. I believe there are other methods.
• Nuts: if you have a grinder attachment to a blender or food-processor then it’s worth doing lots but the resulting powder is quite oily so any unused should be kept in the fridge as the oils will go rancid quite easily once the nuts are ground. If you don’t have one, I have seen coffee-beans ground by putting them in a heavy duty canvas bag and hit with hammer – seriously! Old fashioned hand-wound coffee grinder would work too. If previously used for coffee – make sure well cleaned first.
• Mix the low-fat cream cheese with the oil and water. Add the herbs, and perhaps a little salt?
• In a large mixing bowl, put the breadcrumbs, ground nuts, gram flour and mix them together.
• Add in the cream cheese mixture. And the grated cheese. Stir well together.
• At this point you should have a mixture that holds well together but is malleable. If too crumbly, add a little more water, if it doesn’t hold well together, add a little more gram flour.
• Get a plate and sprinkle a little flour on it.
• Take a spoonful of the mix, roll it into a ball or sausage shape (I use somewhere between the two), roll it lightly in the flour and then roll it in your hands again to firm it. Then do the next one until the mix is all used up.
I deep fry mine. If you lightly deep-fry them, then they can be frozen and re-heated in a conventional oven.
I like them with salad or with cauliflower cheese.