Monday, June 20, 2011

Cheese rolls

It is time.

The weather is miserable, the baby is on to finger food and it is time for some nice warm lunch food.

It can only be cheese roll time.  If you are from the South Island you will know what I mean.  If not, then the cheese roll is a delicacy awaiting your attention.  Most South Island tea rooms will serve a version of the cheese rolls, and hardly a month goes by in winter when a school promotes them as a fundraising opportunity.

Cheese rolls are usually some kind of mix of cheese and packaged onion soup.  A basic recipe is:

Cheese rolls

One tin evaporated milk
Heaps of Cheddar cheese (At least two cups of grated - you want strongly flavoured cheese)
A tsp mustard
A packet of onion soup
(optional) Tablespoon of finely diced onion.

You boil up the mixture until it is very thick and then spread on fresh bread, roll and then toast in the oven to serve.  Turn once.  You want the outside all yummy and crisp, and inside soft with delicious superheated cheese.

The absolute brilliance with this recipe is that they just freeze so very well.  Last winter when I was pregnant I made up a big batch, rolled them and then froze them in snaplock bags in batches of four or five. I would grill them for lunch, and do a couple extra for the four year old's dinner.  I found it easiest to have a large oven tray to rest the cheese rolls on (join side down) while prepping them.  I would also just put a chopping board on top of them to help them stay rolled up.

These are classically made on white bread, I have always preferred them on grainy bread - I also find grainy bread easier to roll. You can roll over the bread with a glass or rolling pin before spreading with the cheese mixture to assist with rolling up.

It is mandatory for the crusts to stay on.  If you can't handle that, then don't make them.  Last year when I was looking up recipes for cheese rolls I learnt that they are one of only a few NZ foods that are specific to one island of the country.


  1. Oh, want. I have all but cheese... A trip to the supermarket looms in my future...

  2. Made some last night for freezing but let temptation get the better of me and toasted up an extra one for a snack. So good. Some like to butter the top and bottom for better colour. These are just delicious with some kind of chutney or relish.

  3. yum, thanks for the reminder, haven't made a batch this winter and love having a stash in the freezer! Becs@LWD

  4. Such a classic recipe, I can't believe that I only started making these for the first time last year. They are the first thing I go looking for each time we go South!

  5. ooOOOoooo I would make these up right now except Gluten Free bread doesn't really roll so much as crumble!

  6. Have just been informed of a variant. Tin of reduced cream, pack of onion soup, as much cheese as the mixture can take and no cooking. Will conduct extensive research into pros and cons of both versions.

  7. Hmm interesting , sure not descended from my mums cheese straws from the shack lock coal range(1938) ,They were layers of pastry & cheese...with cayenne pepper!, Oh yeah the cheese was strong enough to fight you too!