Mini Cheese Balls

These are individual bite-sized versions of the classic retro cheese ball and are the perfect finger food for a party or buffet. Skewered with a salted pretzel stick, the whole thing is edible and delicious too.

Bitesized cheeseballs

I used Five Counties cheese for mine, so there is a real mixture of cheese going on, but any sharp tasting cheese combination works well if it has good flavour.

5 counties cheese

This is a really quick recipe to knock up and just the thing to serve with drinks. The cheese balls are coated in pistachios and dried cranberries for a festive touch, so they would be perfect for a Christmas party.

If you do use use pretzel sticks, just make sure you spear the cheese balls just before serving as the ends will get soft if you leave them. Alternatively, a pretty toothpick or cocktail fork would work well here, or you could just serve the sticks separately for people to spear their own.

Bitesized cheeseball

Ingredients:
1 x 280g pack of cream cheese – at room temperature (but not essential if in a hurry)
280g of grated cheese – I used Five Counties – a cheese made up of layers of Cheddar, Derby, Double Gloucester, Cheshire and Red Leicester
1 roasted red pepper – I used some ready roasted from a jar for quickness
0.5tsp salt
0.5tsp black pepper
100g shelled pistachios
50g dried cranberries (craisins)
Extra black pepper for the coating
Salted pretzel sticks for serving

Method:
Very simply, mix together the cream cheese, grated cheese, chopped roasted red peppers and seasoning. I did this by hand with a fork, but if you are making a large batch, a mixer would make things much quicker. It is easier if the cream cheese is room temperature, but I have made this with fridge cold cream cheese and it worked just fine.

Chill for 30 minutes so that the mixture firms up and then roll into bite-sized balls.

Bitesized cheeseball1

Finely chop the pistachios and cranberries and spread over a board or large plate. Sprinkle over freshly ground black pepper and roll each ball in the mixture until coated.

Bitesized cheeseball2

Refrigerate the cheese balls until you want to serve and skewer each one with a pretzel stick just before serving.

Just the thing for a last minute Christmas drinks party.

You can make mini versions of my goats cheese ball and my smoky and spicy cheese ball too, check them out.

Goats Cheese, Spinach and Bacon Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

I saw these mini peppers at the market and thought they are just asking to be stuffed with something delicious!

I love goats cheese and knew I had some spinach in the freezer, so decided to make a creamy goats cheese and spinach filling and add in some smoked bacon too. The end result was super delicious and just the thing to eat with drinks as it was SO hot over the weekend.

Stuffed peppers

Ingredients:
1 punnet (around 300g) of mini mixed peppers
1 100g pack of French Chevre, or any other goats cheese
100g of full fat cream cheese
100g of frozen spinach, thawed and all the water squeezed out
200g of smoked streaky bacon
Freshly ground black pepper

Method:
Pre heat the oven to 200°C/400°F

Place the bacon on a foil lined backing tray and cook in the oven until cooked through and crisp, leave to cool before snipping into small pieces.

While the bacon is cooking, slice the peppers lengthways, remove any seeds and membranes and place in a oven proof dish.

Mix together the cheeses and spinach with a few grinds of black pepper. Stir in the bacon. I don’t add any extra salt as the cheese and bacon both contain salt.

Using a spoon, fill the pepper halves with the cheese mixture and bake for around 20 minutes until the tops are just staring to catch.

These are delicious served at room temperature with drinks on a hot day, but equally as enjoyable, served warm with red wine on a cold day.

Pepper closeup