Cashew Presse.

Yes that’s right I’m still banging on about mock cheeses …Because  I have exciting discoveries to share with you!

After feeling pretty pleased with myself after my “Moquetta” creation I decided to try something similar with cashews. I simply blended cashews with a little olive oil, nutrional yeast and paprika and pressed it into a little pot with a weight on top and popped it in the fridge over night.  And here it is, the paprika combined with the nutritional yeast gave a nice rich taste and it had a nice smooth buttery consistency, good for spreading on crackers and toast.

img_0210-2And then I discovered Cooking With Plants this recipe is simply amazing and it’s so ingenious because it uses sweet potatoes and sweet marinated peppers! By adding Agar Agar, a Japanese algae that acts like gelatine this clever mixture sets so it will slice and gave the same consistency as cheese! I served mine with walnuts and my aramanth crackers.

And then I got really carried away and coated it with my roast piri-piri spiced peanut crumb which gave a  lovely spicy crunch against the rich velvety potato and pepper mix.

But if experimenting with nuts and sweet potatoes doesn’t float your boat all is not lost, because there is a delicious substitute vegan cheese out there which goes by the name of  Violife. It’s made predominantly from coconut oil and starch and is gluten and soya free. They have a whole host of flavours and even do a mozzarella and Parmesan style which melt and crumble just like the real thing. I get mine from Holland and Barrett


I also must mention this incredible book by Miyoko Schinner who makes artisan vegan cheeses, this book is packed full of incredible recipes, mozzarella, Camembert, I haven’t tried any yet but watch this space….

Green goes the curry though…


I rustled this up last night and it was soooo easy! Now the weather has got a bit warmer again (hooray!) I really fancied eating something a bit lighter than the more hearty aubergine based dishes I have been cooking lately. The fresh ginger zings through the coconut milk in this and the coriander gives it a lovely clean sort of taste. ( is that because coriander has a somewhat soapy flavour I wonder ? )

My recipe

Amounts aren’t precise as I made this up as I went along.

I can of coconut milk

I pack button mushrooms approx 500gm

About 3 cups of cubed potatoes

I pack of baby sweet corn approx 250gm

I pack fine green beans approx 259gm

1 red onion

3 cloves of garlic

I ginger root

1 bunch of coriander

Dried red crushed chilli flakes

Whole red dried chilli

White pepper

Slice the potatoes and par boil them both for about 5-6 minutes or until a knife slides in easily, whilst they are boiling trim the beans and steam them in a seive over the potatoes. Drain them and blanch the beans in cold water so they stay nice and green and set them aside.

Now get chopping! All the ginger,garlic,onion mushrooms and coriander. You could chuck it all in a food processor if you fancy but I find the chop chop chopping very therapeutic. Start by gently frying the onion and garlic in some olive oil add in the ginger and the mushrooms and cover with a lid until the onion has softened down.

Cube the potatoes, quarter the baby corn and fling them in the pan with mushrooms garlic and onion, pop in the beans and now add the coconut milk. I put about two handfuls of roughly chopped coriander and a hearty helping of dried red crushed chilli.

Let it hubble  bubble on a gentle simmer for about 12 minutes and there you go, lovely light aromatic coconut curry, serve it garnished with a whole dried red chilli and rough chopped fresh coriander.

Enjoy it with rice or even just a big bowl on its on.

 

Did someone say say cheese?

There are lots of mock cheeses out there, some of them are delicious and frankly some of them are just plain nasty. (Sorry but it’s true) This was my very first ever attempt about two and a half years ago at trying to formulate a ricotta-esque type vegan cheese to crumble on to salads. 

I present to you Moquetta (see what I did there?)

I had been hearing about all these amazing about nut cheeses and decided to try using almonds as that was all I had to hand. 

I simply soaked about 250gm skinned almonds in water for about four hours, then I blitzed them in my food processor. I added a tbsp of nutrional yeast and a teaspoon of garlic powder. I popped the resulting gloop onto some muslin and then then drew the muslin up around the gloop so it formed I little bag which I twisted and twisted to squeeze all the excess moisture out. Into the ‘fridge over night et voila! 

It adds a nice bit of crumbly creaminess to a dish and lends a subtle cheesish flavour, thanks to the nutrional yeast. Here it is on a jaunty salad of beetroot, broccoli and lentils with pine nuts.

Tofurky Tuesday.

Sometimes I get a bit of flak as a vegan, eating something that’s still called a “sausage” or a “burger” or “cheese” I get it. Why are vegan replacement foods still given names that have connotations with meat,fish, or dairy?
(But who knows, what if say back in 1545 some one muddled together some pearl barley and bread type slop, fashioned it into a tube and still decided to call it a sausage?)

Anyway more of that discussion later, this post is all about these delicious Tofurky Sausages I rarely use replacement vegan foods as they often aren’t so great, either for you, or taste wise. But if it means favourite man isn’t eating actual meat etc etc and it can can guide him even more down my jazzy vegan path, well so be it.

Anyway work with me, he is my harshest critic, I have had plates silently and politely pushed away. The worst supper episode so far was the disgusted face and the “it just doesn’t taste nice…at all” comment about my vegan cashew cream…(which was delicious by the way)

I figure if I can get the omnivore seal of approval then we are good to go. Which brings me to Tofurky sausages which are predominantly made from vital wheat gluten and soya with herbs and canola oil.

These little babies get the thumbs up every time and they are delicious, I get mine from Holland and Barrett
Tonight we had Italian style (sausages that is) and here is my recipe

1 pack of Tofurky Italian style sausages

My tomato piquante sauce recipe

6 ripe vine tomatoes chopped

3 cloves of garlic roughly chopped

3 tbsp capers

A squirt of Tomato Ketchup (yes ketchup!)

Olive Oil

2 bay leaves

Balsamic vinegar

Oregano

Red wine

A little water

Chop the tomatoes and garlic and put in them in a pan, add a hearty glug of oil, the bay leaves, chilli, oregano and capers and sauté them for about five minutes. Chop up the tofurky sausages and add them to the pan along with a sploosh of red wine and about 2tbsp of balsamic vinegar along with about 1tbsp of ketchup and a little water.Cover and let it simmer on a low heat for about 15 minutes, adding a little water if it looks like it’s drying out.

Serve with your favourite pasta, it would be great with rice or just some lovely fresh crusty bread and a salad.

Roast Apricot Bruschetta.

Last week I kept reading about grilled peaches and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Unable to get my hands on any at our local Tesco’s (I guess everybody read the same articles as me and got to the peaches first!) I decided to try doing something similar with apricots. Favourite man looked nervous and said it probably wouldn’t work…well BOOM! I present delicious roast apricots on bruschetta with rocket, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

This is really easy, I used some leftover focaccia which was lovely and crunchy already but you could toast any left over bread knocking around in the kitchen.

My recipe

Preheat the oven to 180C

Halve and stone the apricots then cut each half into quarters.

Pop the apricots in a shallow baking dish and liberally splash with olive oil, a glug of balsamic vinegar and some ground black pepper.

Roast the apricots for about 35-40 minutes, you want the apricots to be really soft but still hold their shape

Toast your bread of choice and slather with oil and add a little sea salt.

When the apricots are ready line up your toasts and layer  on the rocket and apricots then drizzle with some more oil and balsamic vinegar and there you are!

Who needs peaches anyway?