This is a fantastic recipe 'basic' and lends itself to lots of dishes - as well as being very natural and unprocessed. Cashews aren't cheap but when used as part of a balanced diet as opposed to a snacky extra, they are worth it for their nutritional benefits and taste. It can be added to a dish, eg a soup or stew; served on the side, eg sour cream with chilli or sweet cream with a dessert... get creative!
You do need a farily powerful blender, food processor or wet/dry blender (eg Revel or a mini processor like Nutribullet - all of these will create a smooth mixture that is not grainy. However, soaking the cashews makes them softer and easier to blend. We also recommend using whole 'raw' (unsalted and unroasted) cashews - using pieces is cheaper but they tend to be dryer. And buying a larger bag, particularly ethnic brands (see World Food shelves in supermarkets) or good health food shops works out cheaper than tiddly little packets - check out the price per 100g on each product to see what we mean!
Variations: replace cashews with macadamias - these are rich, buttery nuts that are absolutely delicious. Their high fat content makes for a lovely rich cream. Almonds would also work well - whole, skinned and unsalted.
If you're nut allergic, try our soya-based Sour Cream recipe.