The last two week’s I’ve been feeling inventive. I’ve been craving something new and feeling like delving in – up to my elbows – and challenging the boundaries of my cooking skills.
So – I decided to make two things; my own vegan cheese and my first seitan.
Lets be upfront, neither of them were a raving success. Neither of them were so wondrously impressive that I’d invite anyone over to dinner to sample them. They both need practice, refinement and creativity with the flavours. However, both were tasty, edible and have been / are being consumed happily by me in a variety of meals.
First up – the vegan cheese. I am – just quietly – proud of myself for attempting this. I have fallen hard in love with cashew cheese and rather than spend my life savings on purchasing it regularly – I’d like to try it myself. I think that would be a huge achievement and one I’d be proud of if I could nail it.
I searched around for interesting looking recipes and found this one:
Straight away – I was intrigued. It involved ingredients I’d never heard of, let alone cooked with, and I love smoked cheeses.
So I gave it a whirl….
It was really easy – simply steps – good easy recipe to follow.
However, if you are going to try it – a few things to note:
1) Mine took ages longer than the recipe to get to the stage of being ready to pour – about 10 – 12 minutes of stirring on a medium heat
2) I didn’t leave it long enough – I stirred until it was a thick paste – but I still didn’t take it far enough and needed to keep the faith and keep stirring – as a result my cheese was more like a Philadelphia texture and great for putting on bread / in sarnies. However – I think if I had kept going longer it would have been more cheese like in terms of being slice-able or melt-able.
3) This recipe is great but you really have to like smoky flavours. The recipe says 1.5 tablespoons of the liquid smoke – I used only 1 and still found it really potent – and I love smoked stuff. So be aware if you aren’t that into smoky flavours – you might want to tone it down a little.
I loved this little experiment and think next time I might try it with sun-dried tomatoes and paprika and less smoke. Thanks so much to the creator of the recipe! What a great little share / find.
So…next up…the seitan/ wheat gluten. Eek. Firstly, what a hideous name. It sounds like something from hell. There is nothing tempting about the name of this food stuff. I didn’t even really know what to expect. I knew it was like a sort of tofu / tempeh thing – but really that was it. I’d never eaten it, tried it or even heard of it until recently.
The creator of this recipe shared it on a vegan Facebook page I follow. I found the quantities a little out – and had to reduce the liquid and up the flour slightly – however it was super yummy and it made two loaves which have lasted me two weeks and I’ve had in everything; homemade pasta sauce, in a sarnie with onion relish and salad, with sweet potato mash and broccoli and a home made gravy…its really versatile and actually nothing like tofu or tempeh.
Its more like what your standard vego sausage tastes like and has the texture of. I actually think it would be awesome if you could somehow shape it into sausage like shapes / burger pattie shapes and cook it up that way as it could totally replace the requirement for vego replacements at home. I loved this stuff and will be playing with this recipe. I think the addition of porcini mushrooms would be amazing as well as semi-dried tomatoes / chives etc.
Don’t be put off by how it looks – you will enjoy the flavour and its totally worth the effort. Shame about the bloody awful name. I am going to personally rename it I think. I can’t believe anyone would be tempted by the name seitan. Terrible.
So – overall – feeling pretty proud of myself for experimenting and trying something new. And the exciting thing – for me – is that I really enjoyed them both and am definitely going to cook them both again with a little twist of my own.