Cheese crackers – perfect with goats’ cheese and apples


I’m a sucker for figures of speech – which is a good thing because the Afrikaans language (which is my mother tongue) is particularly richly endowed with them!  One figure of speech that we have in abundance is adjectives in their intensive form – English has a few (snow white, blood red), but Afrikaans has loads!  Stroopsoet (syrup-sweet).  Seepglad (soap-smooth). Spierwit (muscle-white). Peperduur (pepper-expensive). Splinternuut (splinter-new). Spekvet (bacon-fat). Just listing them makes me smile. I’m sad that way 😉

Then we have idioms that are almost exactly the same in English and Afrikaans:

  • Die doodskleed het geen sakke nie (the shroud has no pockets – i.e. you can’t take it with you!).
  • As die kat weg is, is die muis baas (when the cat’s away, the mice will play).
  • Die een se dood is die ander se brood (literally, the one’s death is the other’s bread, i.e. one man’s meat is another man’s poison).

And lastly we have uniquely Afrikaans idioms – or ones that express the same thing as an English proverb in an entirely different way:

  • Haastige hond verbrand sy mond (the impatient dog burns its mouth, i.e. if you are in a rush to eat your food, you’ll burn your tongue!)
  • Hy moet hare op sy tande he (literally, he must have hairs on his teeth, meaning he must have a lot of patience)
  • As die muis dik is, is die meel bitter (literally, when the mouse is full, the flour is bitter, meaning that when you are full, food is no longer tempting)

This last one was particularly apt on Christmas day, when I’d enthusiastically made canapés, a starter, a main course, a dessert, and a cheese course.  By the time we got to the cheese course, nobody had the faintest appetite left – these mice were full of paté, gammon and sprouts (not to mention quite a bit of wine…!).  So, needless to say, when the cheese course came out sometime during our charades game, not too many people even nibbled.  Their loss!  The bonus for me was that it meant I was able to have this delightful cheese lunch between Christmas and new year.

The recipe is one I bookmarked over at my friend Nina’s site ages ago, with very minor tweaks. I substituted shelled hemp seeds for the black sesame seeds; I used my beloved Tabasco salt for flavour; and she served hers with gorgeous caramelised orange slices as a dessert, but mine went down a treat with fresh goats’ cheese and crisp Granny Smith apples.  I also think that my old scale was giving up the ghost and weighed the flour out incorrectly as the mixture was way too dry and I had to add water a spoonful at a time to get it to come together (which may explain why the cheesy bits are so visible in my crackers…).  Ah well – they tasted fine and it’s a good excuse to get a new scale!

For more homemade cracker recipes, have a look at:





CHEESE CRACKERS (makes about 24)

For printable recipe, click here.


200g flour
150g mature cheddar, grated
pinch of salt
pinch of per-peri powder (I substituted a large pinch of Lawry’s Tabasco salt instead of this and the salt)
1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
125g butter, melted
dry seeds for rolling (I used shelled hemp seeds, but sesame or poppy seeds will work well too)


If you have a food processor, place all the ingredients into it and blitz until you have a dough that you can roll and handle.  If you don’t have a food processor, use the butter softened rather than melted and rub it into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture comes together to form a dough that you can handle.  If the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, you may need to add water, a teaspoonful at the time, and mix until the dough comes together.

Form the dough into a long, thick sausage about 25-30cm long and roll the sausage in some dry seeds of your choice. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate or freeze until needed.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Bake the crackers on a cookie sheet covered in baking parchment for about 10 minutes or until golden.  Serve warm with a cheese of your choice.  These crackers will keep for a week or so in an airtight container – if you can resist them for that long!

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  1. says

    Oh I LOVE the biscuits and you’re right it was definitely to your advantage that it was not eaten at Christmas. The fact that the other three courses must have been so good……is obvious!!
    Thanks for the mention, Jeanne and I will double check the flour measurements and let you know!!!

  2. says

    It’s so much better to make your own crackers than use store-bought… And this recipe looks WAY better than the one I normally use. Thanks!

  3. says

    Ah, the linguist in me rejoices!
    In German, we also have schneeweiß and blutrot (as well as pechschwarz = pitch black, or even jet black – once you start thinking about them, you find a few more than you thought existed…)
    Instead of syrup, we have sugar: zuckersüß (sugar sweet); instead of soap, we have an eel: aalglatt (smooth/slippery as an eel);instead of muscle white, we have leichenblass (pale as a corpse), when something is expensive it’s as dear as a pig: sauteuer; and the splinter is used with naked, not new:
    splitternackt (splinter naked; i.e. stark naked).
    Great post!

  4. says

    You would so get along with my husband, he’s the language freak and loves this kind of playing with expressions from one language to another. And he is also a cheese and fruit freak (well, he’s French) and this would be the perfect dessert or the perfect lunch for him. So when we come over we’ll play “compare the expressions” while nibbling these crackers with fruit and cheese. Perfect afternoon! We’ll bring the wine!
    These crackers are fantastic and I love this combo of these great crackers with goat cheese and cool, tart apples. Yum yum I love the cheddar/tabasco salt flavors!

  5. says

    i’m sorry but I think ‘spekvet’ is a totally cool word – which means i’ll be finding ways to turn it ‘cool’ and just dropping it in any convo or attempting to ghetto it up. Jokes! I won’t. Thanks for tall the idioms; it is really fun learning other languages and now I can show off some new African quotes. People shall think me a lot more knowledgeable. 😀 which is why foodblogs are so great. These crackers look very yum. Who doesn’t love cheese in their crackers or on their crackers?! Apples must go great with it. Don’t think i’ve paired apples with cheese ever but sounds like a very delicious pairing.
    And oh Jeanne, thanks again for the photo! It’s lovely! (your camera is wonderful) and also thanks for all your comments on The SB, i loved reading them all and feeling less wacky. You’re my partner in nutter crime! xxx

  6. says

    dit lyk heerlik! en dis wonderlik as daar kos oorbly na ‘n ete, veral aangesien ‘n mens gewoonlik so besig is met die kosmakery dat jy nie kans kry om self veel te eet nie.

  7. says

    Nina – I always love having food left over from a party – the gift that keeps on giving! And I’m pretty sure it was my wonky scale, not your flour quantities. Have now invested in a shiny new one!
    Koek – these are WAY better than what you can buy in the store, and freezing the dough rolls means you can have fresh crackers whenever you like :)
    Juno – do try them – the hint of spice and the strong cheese make for a fab combination.
    Gourmet Chick & Marisa – thanks! They are definitely worth making.
    Sarka – thanks! I snatched the 5 minutes of natural light available that day :o)
    Zabeena – glad somebody liked my liguistic meander :) The interesting thing is that although you say “spierwit” as the intensive form, you would not say “so wit soos spier” if you wanted to say “as white as…”. Love the “as expensive as a pig” expression!
    Val – How about I fly over and bring a batch? That way the crackers and I could BOTh grace your table :)
    Jamie – aaah, your husband is a cunning linguist, is he?? 😉 Seriously, I can see us having loads of fun when we finally get to meet up together with our other halves!
    Sarah – they are dead easy, and as I said you can make a big batch and freeze the dough.
    Soma – cheddar and green apples is one of my absolute favourite combos.
    Beth, Cynthia & Juliana – so glad you like them. These crackers have a very high “deliciousness to effort” ratio!
    Diva – LOL, wish I could be there when y casually slip it into conversation: “I ate sooooo much dinner, I just feel spekvet!” 😉 The pronounciation is speck-fett, btw :) And as for the photo – it was easy to take a good photo as I had great material to work with!
    Arcadia – dis waar. Ek proe gewoonlik net so half-half as daar gaste is, dus maak ek amper ALTYD seker daar is oorskiet!
    Erla – please do yourself a favour and try these. Sooooo good!

  8. says

    Oooooooh words, linguistics, quotes, idioms…you are a wnderful lady after my heart Jeanne! Add cheese crackers to the list, and I will even do the dishes! Savoury nirvana…yum!!

  9. says

    I’m sorry to be a pedantic French git here, but crackers and cheese is just a plainly silly idea. I can get by with the non-mixing water taps, the driving on the wrong side, I like port and stilton, bacon butties, summer puddings but minted lamb and cheese crackers just don’t do it for me.
    I’ve done a post in French ( explaining that they just break in your hand.
    So for me, it’ll be home made sourdough!