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:
Preparation: 10 minutes
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)
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.