Fresh Cheese Spread with Radish and Chives

Simple combinations and cheap, basic products sometimes give amazing results and fresh cheese with chives is one of the best examples I know. Fresh cheese can be mixed with any herb you want, but in my opinion only chives make the combination perfect. Fresh Cheese and Chives Spread (I have written about it here) is one of my most distinct childhood food memories. I had it for breakfast, as a snack, as a light supper and my appetite for it has never decreased. In fact, even now this spread is my staple all year round. When spring vegetables appear, I do just like my mum and enrich it with chopped pink radishes. The crisp radish adds a strong peppery taste, makes the texture more interesting and embellishes the colour palette.

The fresh cheese I have in mind is called “curd cheese” and sometimes “farm” or “farmers cheese”, available in Polish/Russian/ Hungarian grocery shops all around the world. Curd cheese is widely used in Central and Eastern Europe (Russian творог, Polish twaróg or biały ser, Hungarian túró or Austrian Topfen are only some examples in both savoury and sweet dishes and is my absolute favourite in Baked Cheesecake (while its smooth, mixed version is ideal in Unbaked Cheesecake). Its texture might be described as something halfway between ricotta and feta, but its slightly tangy taste differs from both. Since it is produced by straining soured milk, curd cheese is a natural product and if low or medium-fat variety is used, it makes relatively healthy meals and desserts. (It shouldn’t be mixed up with the Canadian and US “cheese curds”!). This is how curd cheese, crushed with fork, looks like:

This spread is not only fresh, low-fat, quick and an excellent appetite suppressant, but it is one of the rare things which taste much better on wholemeal, black, crunchy bread or pumpernickel rather than white bread. The spread keeps for a couple of days in the fridge, in a closed container and tastes even better the following day, when the chives’ and radishes’ flavours are stronger. I always make a big batch to have it ready for breakfast or as a healthy snack.

TIP: If you cannot get curd/farmers cheese, you can use drained cottage cheese, but add some sour milk or sour cream or kefir (not yogurt) in order to make it tangy.

Other recipes calling for curd cheese:

-Potato and Curd Cheese Dumplings

-Pear and Curd/Cottage Cheese Pie

-Light and Moist Baked Cheesecake

-Fresh Cheese Spread with Chives

Preparation: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

150 g curd/farmers cheese (or drained cottage cheese)

4-6 tablespoons yogurt, kefir, sour milk or sour cream (or more if the cheese is dry)

salt

about 10 flat tablespoons chopped chives

7 -8 pink radishes, roughly chopped

Crush the curd cheese with a fork, add the yogurt, kefir or cream gradually, stirring until you obtain the desired consistency (this depends not only on the cheese brand, but also on your preferences).

If you use cottage cheese, crush the big grains with a fork before adding the yogurt.

Add the chives, the salt, the radishes, give it a good stir and taste if it’s salty enough.

 

 

 

 

34 thoughts on “Fresh Cheese Spread with Radish and Chives

  1. Kelly @ Inspired Edibles

    It’s interesting, I usually opt for ricotta or yogurt in dip but don’t generally mix the two – I think this could be a good experiment for me to try. Your radishes make me smile; my husband loves fresh radish (and they look so darn pretty).

    The curd cheese we have here is nothing like the kind you describe (though it is very much like cottage cheese as you point out). Our curd cheese is almost comical – its like clumps of hard, squeaky cheese and very rubbery tasting (our kids adore it). It is the type of cheese used on the famed Quebec dish “poutine” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poutine – it does come farm fresh though. For your lovely dish, I would use ricotta or cottage cheese – it looks great Sissi ~ pretty photo.

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Kelly. I hope you can try it once with sour milk or kefir to see if you like it tangier. (Personally I love the tanginess of this fresh cheese!). So in Canada cheese curds are the same I mention above! I thought it was only in the US. I will update the post adding Canada. Thank you for the link.
      Did you know that in the South of France “poutine” means very tiny fish (the one which doesn’t even have bones yet). It is delicious deep fried…

  2. Mr. Three-Cookies

    This reminds me of the sour cream and chives combination. I never thought of chives and cheese, though these two words seem to go well together (and the flavours too!).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. Personally I love this combination and yes it’s quite close to sour cream (this fresh cheese is slightly sour).

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Maureen! I am ashamed to say I make fresh cheese very rarely, but the home made tastes always better.

  3. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb

    ah you added radishes, thats making it all a bit zesty. Have to agree too chives is a must, otherwise it doesnt taste that good. I had posted recently an Austrian/Hungarian Liptauer recipe. As kid those spreads were not my taste, since I am in India I am obsessed with them. I ll enjoy your recipe Sissi!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you, Helene. Yes, I remember your Liptauer recipe! I still keep in my mind testing it, but I always end up with chives or chives+radish 😉 I also have some food items I hated as a child and now I love, but this spread has always been a favourite.

  4. Eva kitcheninspirations.com

    I will attest that home made fresh cheese is amazing. I made John Bartolini’s ricotta and it turned out incredibly well. I will certainly do it again and again. I am wondering if you can make fresh cheese with buttermilk?

    1. Sissi Post author

      Hi, Eva. I totally agree. I do it sometimes, but I’m used to the one made with raw milk, which is heavens better than with pasteurised milk. Since I have to go quite far away to buy raw milk, I make my fresh cheese rarely…
      The fresh cheese I buy in a nearby shop (imported from Poland) is moist and fantastic, so I am quite happy with it too.
      I have seen a blogger making it with buttermilk… but I don’t remember who.

  5. A_Boleyn

    Like Eva, I make a fresh ‘farmer’s type’ cheese called paneer. Unfortunately, it’s illegal to buy/sell raw milk in Ontario, Canada so I can’t enjoy the full flavour of the cheese you’re talking about. Looks quite tasty.

    1. Sissi Post author

      I remember your fantastic paneer very well! I am sure the cheese I buy is from pasteurised milk, but when I make fresh cheese on my own at home the pasteurised milk gives worse results than the cheese I buy, so I either buy it or (rarely) make a long trip to buy the raw milk. Then the home-made version tastes better.
      I suppose even though it’s factory made, they have tricks to make it taste excellent in spite of pasteurised milk…

  6. Martyna @ Wholesome Cook

    My Mum (Polish) has this for breakfast every day with the addition of fresh or dried herbs as well. Sooo good! As it is hard to find farm cheese here and I don’t make it as often as I should I use creamed cottage cheese in my version. YUM!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Haha! Usually I hate women/men generalisations (especially in food or wine preferences where I am not a typical “female” wines’ fan), but I have observed that men often hate tofu and cottage (fresh) cheese (in Japan men like tofu I suppose, but in Western countries they are a tiny minority compared to women…). I think I don’t know a single man who would say he likes fresh cheese 😉

  7. shuhan

    yum sissi! for a similar spread, I’ve made “yogurt cheese” simply by straining yogurt to get a cheese, then I add chives just like you, but also some garlic. garlic and chives and creamy light cheese, it’s like boursin but homemade (:

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thank you so much, Shuhan. What an incredible way to use yogurt! (By the way, I have heard there are lots of Polish grocers in Britain. You can buy this cheese there if one day you are curious.)

        1. Sissi Post author

          Thanks, Charles. When I couldn’t get the Polish fresh cheese, I used to make my own from milk, but now it’s rare (only when I have the courage to go and buy raw milk which is distributed in a very unpractical place, because the raw-milk bas home-made cheese is fantastic!). I must try this yogurt method one day too (of course I suppose the result is smooth, not grainy).

  8. Charles

    This looks great – fresh and light flavours… I love radish too, although they never seem to sell the round, red variety here… only the elongated half-white, half-red ones which aren’t so pretty to use.

    Do you know if I can find this sort of cheese in a store… or what it might be called in French? I guess I’d probably need to go to Polish / Russian / Hungarian store for it perhaps? There’s always hope though… I even found a place nearby my home today selling Halloumi! I’m so happy!

    1. Sissi Post author

      Thanks a lot, Charles. I love it, but if you don’t like tangy, sour-cream like taste, you might not like it. It is always slightly tangy (it is made from soured milk). I would say simply fromage blanc (just like the mixed, very smooth fresh cheese sold in supermarkets). You can buy it in the Polish shop (métro République if I remember), here is the address, opening hours, etc.: http://www.lapetite-pologne.com/ (but they don’t sell online even half of what is sold in their real shop). If the packages are not transparent, you should explain that you don’t want the smooth mixed fresh cheese (they also sell mixed version ready-to-use in cheesecakes); but that you want it as bread spread with chives.
      It’s funny because I think I saw the all-red radish first time in my life only a couple of years ago. I am used to the pink and white (round or long) variety too.

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