24 September 2016

Ultimate Vegan Cheese Sauce


This next recipe has been a long time coming on the blog and I do not use the title of 'Ultimate Vegan Cheese Sauce' lightly. Earlier in the year I said on here that I would work on this recipe, after lots of different attempts and research I have come up with something worthy of the term 'ultimate'. Without going to much into the science of it, my degree has taught me a little something about the properties of different foods and what they can add to a recipe; aside from the taste, the second most important thing about a vegan cheese/cheese sauce is the texture...so this recipe is creamy, tangy, stretchy, gooey and of course, 100% Vegan. 


The recipe is comprised of simple, easily available ingredients, including two flavours of violife, to deliver that strong 'cheese' flavour. Throughout the recipe testing process I knew I wanted the base of this cheese sauce to be cashew nuts; they're so creamy and add a certain richness to the final taste of the product, that just can't be achieve with a roux base. I also added tapioca starch for a bit of stretch and another secret ingredient that the world has come to know as the secret to a great cheese sauce...nutmeg! Nutmeg takes this recipe to the next level and I'm not joking when I say this recipe tastes like a dairy cheese sauce. As I'm sure many of you were before your vegan days; I was a dairy cheese addict - no suprise when they've shown how addictive it really is - but this cheese sauce more than satisfies any lingering cravings and I'm not ashamed to say that I've been craving this sauce since I made it the other day!


I used my first batch of this sauce for a lasagne recipe, but I'm looking forward to trying it in other applications, such as mac 'n' cheese, cauliflower cheese, or even as a cheese fondue type dish! Obviously the word ultimate does not indicate every day food, so take it easy on this recipe, but most of all, just enjoy the cruelty free wonder that is this vegan cheese sauce! Best of all, it takes less than 15 minutes to prepare!


The sauce thickens up on cooling, but melts a bit when re-heated, for a thinner sauce, add 1/3-1/2 a cup more liquid before stirring in the vegan cheese. 


Ultimate Vegan Cheese Sauce | Yield: 2 Cups | Time: 15 mins

You'll Need

  • High powered blender
  • Measuring cups/spoons
  • Silicone spatula
  • Whisk
  • Fine grater
  • Large saucepan

Ingredients




*I used a nutribullet to make this recipe, but if you don't have a high-powered blender then I would recommend pre-soaking the cashew nuts for up to an hour prior to blending. 
**If you can't find tapioca starch, grind up tapioca pearls using a spice/coffee grinder and sieve to remove any un-blended pieces.


Method


  1. Add the cashew nuts, water, tapioca starch, mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper to the blender, blitz until completely smooth.
  2. Grate the cheese and place next to the cooker.
  3. Add the mixture to a saucepan on a medium heat and whisk until it thickens. Once thick, add the grated cheese and whisk until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and use for your desired application. Sauce will thicken on standing. Enjoy!
Cassidy xx


17 September 2016

Fig Chutney, Mozzarella & Watercress Panini


It's that time of year again, where the days are getting colder and everything is 'spice' flavoured; you find yourself caught between wanting to eat something warm and comforting and not wanting to admit to yourself that summer is officially over. This panini is so melty and delicious that it will effortlessly ease you into autumn food - a homemade, no added sugar fig chutney and Violife mozzarella with peppery watercress sandwiched between a toasted ciabatta roll, that's been rubbed with garlic. There's so much flavour in this one sandwich and it's comfort food, without compromising on health. Whilst most shop bought chutneys are laced with sugar, this recipe contains only naturally occurring sugars, without compromising on taste!


The wonderful people over at Violife have launched organic versions of their regular cheese and pizza cheese, so to celebrate, sent me a very generous sample of their cheeses to cook with and share the recipes with you all. My first recipe uses the mozzarella slices, I was researching different chutney and dairy cheese pairings to best decide which Violife flavour to use, a mild creamy cheese such as mozzarella was suggested for a fig chutney, so I went with this one first. The Violife mozzarella really captures the creamy, mildness of dairy mozzarella and worked so well in this recipe; I would happily feed this sandwich to anyone and wouldn't have a doubt to whether it was enjoyed or not, this panini truly is incredible!

12 September 2016

Asian Bean Burgers & Wasabi Slaw


Wasabi coleslaw was introduced to me by the wonderful Vegan Love burger restaurant in Budapest. I've never really liked wasabi and have always avoided it when it comes to sushi, so it really surprised me how much I enjoyed it - probably because it was just a bit of flavour, rather than neat wasabi. Anyway, I've been thinking about it since and I thought it was about time I shared with you all, the wonder that is wasabi slaw! I paired it with some Asian spiced mushroom and bean burgers and some alfalfa sprouts, the soft, almost melt-in-your mouth Asian burger perfectly compliments the crunchy, tangy coleslaw and the almost nutty bean sprouts, all sandwiched between a soft wholemeal bun. This burger is an experience and the flavours are simply incredible!



The patty consists of classic Asian flavours like sesame oil, 5 spice, soy sauce, garlic, ginger and the addition of vegan Worcester sauce (pronounced wuss-ta), which whilst is a British condiment, contains the tangy flavours of tamarind, so really heightens the taste of the burgers. Most Worcester sauce contains fish, but there are increasingly more veggie versions (usually gluten free too), so keep a look out for them! The patty itself contains onion, mushrooms, kidney beans and chickpea flour - so if served with a gf bun, these burgers are gluten free too! 

5 September 2016

Turmeric Sunrise Smoothie



If you follow me on twitter then you'd have heard that I gave up coffee about six weeks ago, there were a few reasons, the main one being that I felt too reliant on it to wake me up in the morning and get me through work/uni, so whilst it's the summer I thought it was the perfect time to try without it. I'll be honest, it wasn't easy and was about 8-9 days until the headaches stopped, even though I only had 1-2 cups each day. I'm not telling you to go and give up coffee, and I'm not saying that I'll never drink another cup again, but after I did I started looking for a new breakfast smoothie to have, to replace my coffee-laced banana milkshake each morning. 


I tried out a few different combinations and this one is by far my favourite, it's aptly named turmeric sunrise, as it actually changes colour after blending. The smoothie starts off a peachy-orange colour and within about 5 minutes becomes bright yellow in colour from the fresh turmeric, which is pretty cool to see. The smoothie itself is made up of banana, fresh mango, strawberries, flax seed, fresh turmeric and some ice. It's packed with nutritional benefits, delivering 3/5 a day, omega 3 fatty acids (the essential ones), blood sugar regulation and anti inflammatory properties. To get the maximum benefits out of the flaxseed, commonly called linseed it is important that it's ground, so if you don't have a high speed blender that will mill the flaxseed whilst blending your smoothie, make sure that you grind it first. Ground flaxseed must be kept in the fridge and also used up quite quickly, so, if you can, grind it when you need it!

30 August 2016

Spiced Bombay Yuca (Cassava)


Whilst working lots over the summer means that I've got some extra money, to pay fun things like bills etc, it means that I haven't been doing the things I love as much, like cooking, walks on the beach, yoga and taking lots of pictures. So I've definitely got to make more of an effort to do the things I love to and just try and relax! My beautiful laptop is also now back from repair and in fully working order, so hopefully I can blog a bit more now too!


I once tried Yuca at a South Indian Street Food Restaurant in Reading, it was prepped with the most wonderful cocktail of spices and lightly pan fried and it was so delicious, so when I saw the root in my local international store I just had to try it out. We asked the chef to describe it and he likened it to potato, I found it slightly more dense and slightly chewy, almost like a fluffy potato dumpling. This root is native to South America and is an essential part of Caribbean and other tropical diets; also known as cassava, yucca root, mandioca, casabe and when the starch is processed, tapioca. The root must not be eaten raw, it must also be peeled prior to cooking to ensure that it's safe to consume and is available for purchase in most Asian/International Supermarkets.