Say Cheeze!

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One of the reasons it took me so long to become vegan, was cheese. I am not too proud to admit it but I was a cheese addict. It is apparently a thing, being addicted to cheese. Even though I knew it wasn’t doing me any nutritional or health favours whatsoever, I still ate fairly large quantities of it.

Strangely, when I did eventually stop eating it, I didn’t miss it at all and on the odd occasions where I have had a crumb of it (because the rest of the family still eat it sometimes), I found I no longer had a taste for it.

Nutritionally, cheese is not the ultimate source of calcium and other nutrients that the dairy industry would have us believe, and for this reason, whilst I have not forbidden it in the kitchen, I have reduced the amount of cheese (and other dairy), I feed my family. I have had to find some sort of convincing replacements though to make favourite meals like pizza, lasagne and the like. Enter nuts and nutritional yeast and a host of other tricks I have in my pantry…..it was hard to hide the smile the time I made “macaroni cheese” for the kids using gluten free rice pasta with a butter bean based sauce with tapioca for stretch, when it was proclaimed by them to be the “best cheesy pasta ever”….even better than their favourite restaurant version….

But I digress. A while ago I read a book called Artisan vegan cheese and whilst the recipes were mostly a bit time consuming for me, it gave me some inspiration to play around with the concepts.

Recently I threw together some ingredients including some almond pulp (from almond milk making) I wanted to use and cooked up some little cheese rounds. I took one for a friend to try and he fed back that he really enjoyed it and would I mind sharing the recipe. Ummm…..I hadn’t actually written down what I had done so I asked him to take a rain check while I made it again and documented as I went. So, today with my 4.75 year old assistant (who enjoyed clean the food processor after and has been begging to try the finished products since they came out the oven…..I guess that means it tasted ok!!), that is what I did.

And for my friend who wanted the recipe before….here it is….and don’t worry…..a sample will be coming your way soon also. 🙂 You’re welcome.

INGREDIENTS

(makes 2 larger and 4 smaller round cheeses, about 12 cm and 6 cm diameter respectively)

  • 1 cup oats
  • 3 cups almond pulp (ie pulp from almond milk making using 2 cups soaked almonds)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon miso paste
  • juice of 2 lemons and a small lime
  • 1 cup almond or other non dairy milk

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (fan forced).
  2. Line 2x 12cm and 4x 6cm diameter ramekins with baking paper.
  3. Put oats in food processor and blitz to fine meal.
  4. Add all other ingredients and blend to a thick paste.
  5. Spoon mixture into line ramekins and press down / smooth tops.
  6. Place ramekins on tray.
  7. Bake 30 minutes and then remove from ramekins and bake another 15 minutes on tray (you can leave baking paper on – less mess). Should be crusty on the outside and a little soft in the middle (will firm up a bit).
  8. Cool on wire rack.
  9. Store in foil or baking paper in fridge for about a week or so (if it last that long) or freeze and defrost in fridge when you would like to use it.
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