Mediterranean Dishes, Vegan, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Main Dishes, Vegan Snacks

Caprese Tart

If there’s one country that knows how to bring out the absolute best in tomatoes, it has to be Italy.

Salt.  Pepper.  Basil.  Garlic.  Olive oil.  And Cheese …… One of the best combinations on the planet!

And that’s what you need for this great  seasonal tart.

It’s fabulous hot or cold.  Picnics, lunch to go, a lovely supper with all the tastes of summer …… whichever way you want it!

I used cherry tomatoes (homegrown!), but sliced or quartered tomatoes will be just fine.

I used store-bought ready-made puff pastry, but shortcrust will be just fine … as will your favourite savoury gluten-free pastry too.

I made a simple vegan ricotta-style cheese, but store-bought vegan ricotta will be just fine.

You can find the recipe for soy curd/ricotta cheese (aka Crowdie) right here:

So everything is just fine.  And you get a delicious Italian Tart which has to be on my favourite recipes list! §

CAPRESE TART

Serves 6

Ingredients:   Continue reading “Caprese Tart”

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Celebration Dishes, Desserts, Vegan, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Treats

Cranachan (made with Crowdie – the old-fashioned way)

 

A creamy Scottish dessert; the perfect end to a vegan Burns’ Night supper.

In my brief series of Scottish delights here on the blog, Cranachan is another a simple dish, using thoroughly Scottish ingredients: oatmeal, raspberries and whisky.

In order to veganise it, I’ve diverged from tradition by using coconut cream and maple syrup (instead of double cream and honey).

It comes out just as light and tastes just as good.

Originally, Crowdie (a simple curd cheese) was used in this dessert, and I’ve noticed that a lot of Cranachan recipes bypass this, but it’s so easy to do, I thought I’d go back to the very beginning and make some, because it’s actually very easy.

Crowdie is made by curdling milk and separating the curds from the whey.  Incidentally, you end up with a lovely soft cheese that resembles Ricotta and can be flavoured with salt, pepper and herbs such as chives or basil.

The whey can be used in soups and stews, so there’s no waste!

PS. Cranachan recipe with or without Crowdie follows below!

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CROWDIE

makes between 220 – 275 gms.

Cook’s Note: a jam thermometer is useful here – but not absolutely essential.

Ingredients: Continue reading “Cranachan (made with Crowdie – the old-fashioned way)”

Vegan, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Snacks

Cashew and Tofu Cream Cheese

The vegan cheese thing is a thing.  It’s a big thing.  And there are many amazing artisan vegan cooks out there striving to make vegan cheese like cheese.    And I have huge respect for all of them!

I even came across a recipe for blue vegan cheese the other day …. it looked fabulous!

I missed cheese for a long, long time when I became vegan. I didn’t feel so bad when I read some of those articles about how cheese is highly addictive.  I just thought, OK, I have an addiction I need to kick.   It’s taking a while I have to say 🙂  And it’s still not done ! 😉

In the meantime, I’ve attempted various recipes I’ve come across, but sadly without much success, although I was inspired by many of the ideas.

I did once make a delicious Vegan Brie ….but can I find the recipe again?  Absolutely not 💚

If I could afford it, I’m sure I would be regularly buying artisan vegan cheeses from some of those amazing on-line suppliers.  Because so far, most store-bought vegan cheeses are mainly, truly, deeply mediocre.

Slowly, over time, I’ve forgotten about cheese. However, if there’s one thing that revives my desire to try again, it’s home-grown tomatoes.  There’s nothing quite so delicious as homegrown tomatoes.  And because I’ve got some, with more ripening as I write .. I suddenly want cheese….I want pizza…. I want feta salad… and all that kind of stuff… 💕💕

So in honour of my home-grown tomatoes, I’ve started by concocting this fairly simple recipe for a tofu and cashew cream cheese, which is light, creamy…and seems to hit the spot.  One of them anyway 🙂   It’s definitely inspired by Miyoko Schinner, but I’ve left out the thickeners, changed some of the ingredients, and gently baked it instead.

It works for me! 💚  That’s all I can say!

I’ve made three individual cheeses, and coated them with three different coatings: black pepper, paprika and herb.  The coatings make a wonderful difference, and if you can bear to leave the cheeses in the fridge for a day or two before sampling, the flavours really start to seep into the cheese.  And they’re good !

Hope you enjoy!

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TOFU AND CASHEW CREAM CHEESE

makes 3 individual ramekins approx. 8 cm. diameter

Ingredients: Continue reading “Cashew and Tofu Cream Cheese”

Bread, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Snacks

Rye Sourdough Loaf with vegan baked cashew cream cheese and pickles

rye bread+baked cashew cream cheese with pickled cucumber and fresh tomatoes

This platter makes me think of a New York Deli,  and with a jar of crunchy pickles from Poland.  Just a fantastic combination…..

First of all I made a rye and spelt (50/50) sourdough loaf.

round rye sourdough loaf

I used the same procedures as I’ve laid out in a previous post:

Adventures with Sourdough:

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Spelt Sourdough

(click on image for link)

 

Ingredients for a 50/50 rye/spelt loaf:   Continue reading “Rye Sourdough Loaf with vegan baked cashew cream cheese and pickles”

Vegan, Vegan Cheese, Vegan Snacks

Tomato Skins…lol… #wastenot

What to do with tomato skins and a simple recipe for tomato and peppercorn cashew cream cheese.

This is a slightly odd one so I’ll keep it short!  Ideally you need a dehydrator and a decent spice grinder, but you can try it on the lowest possible oven setting, and grind with a pestle and mortar.  You also need enough tomato skins to make it worth the faff!

I grow tomatoes.  If you want to grow one thing, make it tomatoes.  You don’t need much space, they will grow very happily in pots and hanging baskets on a sunny patio, and while they need reasonable and consistent attention, it isn’t rocket science.

You won’t regret growing tomatoes because they always taste so much better than any you buy in the supermarkets.  Always.

To grow them, you need to do two things, google ‘grow tomatoes’, and investigate varieties for taste and size. I’m still exploring varieties, this year I grew Marmande Beef Tomatoes, and Black Cherry tomatoes.  My salad tomatoes got the blight.  However, I have had baskets of tomatoes on the kitchen table for over three months, and everyone tends to pop the cherry tomatoes in their mouths like candy.

I make passata to freeze, which is where this blog post comes in.

I personally don’t happen to like tomato skins in my passata and asian tomato sauces, so to make Mediterranean style sauces I either roast the tomatoes in a big roasting pan covered in foil, and remove the skins when they’re soft, before whizzing the pulp in the blender, or I blanche them in boiling water for ten minutes, and skin them before chopping and freezing for Asian dishes.  I’ve probably got about a dozen packs of tomato based sauces in the freezer now that autumn’s here….

So.  Call me mad, but I collected the tomato skins all summer long, and added  them to a bag and froze them.

Now the tomatoes are all gone, (and dearly missed they are too), I have retrieved my collection of tomato skins, defrosted them, laid them out on a parchment sheet on a baking tray and put them in the oven on the lowest setting for an hour.  Once they were less soggy, I transferred them to my dehydrator, again on parchment-lined trays, and set the dehydrator temperature at 40C.

If you dry vegetables at too high a temperature, they are liable to lose flavour.

When the skins were completely dry, (36-48 hours), I ground them into a powder which will keep for a couple of months in an airtight storage jar.
Tip: Once ground, if the powder is still even a little bit moist, put it back in the dehydrator (spread out on the parchment-lined trays) and give it another
blast for a few hours at 40C.

The powder can be added to anything that requires a tomato hit: sauces, soups, veggie stock powder, vegan cashew cream cheese, pizza……or anything else you can think of.

And that’s what you can do with tomato skins! #wastenot

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A recipe for dreamy cashew cream cheese coated in tomato powder.   Continue reading “Tomato Skins…lol… #wastenot”