I came across this genius book: The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, by Jo Stepaniak and I'm working my way through the awesome and hugely creative recipes. They basically use a really eclectic mix of ingredients including garlic and onion powders, cashew nuts and something I'd never heard of before called "nutritional yeast" to replicate the highly unique flavours in cheese. (Nutritional Yeast is nothing like brewers yeast, it has the tang of yeast extract in Marmite.) In the rather messy but fun mixing process, you also add boiled up Agar flakes to gel it all together and get it to set (as you'll see in the picture, it really looks quite pleasing). Admittedly, it's really almost impossible to imitate that particular rubbery texture because that would involve adding casein. I'm not sure where I can get my hands on some, but if I could I would put it in (although I rather enjoy my mostly vegan diet).
Anyway, so I've tried this cheese now, which in the book is listed as Colby Cheez, and it works for me. You can cut it, grill it, melt it, even. I like to eat it in a sandwich with cucumber and just pretend it's actually cheesy. It's close, but no cheese biscuit.
Give it a try!
1 1/2 cups of water
5 tbsps of agar flakes (or 1.5 tablespoons of agar powder)
0.5 cup of roasted red peppers
0.5 cup of chopped raw cashews
0.25 cup of nutritional yeast flakes
3 tbsps lemon juice
2 tbsps tahini
2 tsps onion powder
1 tsp salt
0.25 tsp of garlic powder
0.25 tsp dry mustard
Phew - little bit like a chemistry experiment, eh? It's verrry easy from hereon in...
So, you'll also need a 3 cup plastic storage container to set the cheese in.
1. In a small saucepan, mix the water and agar and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and stir constantly until the agar is dissolved - this will take up to ten minutes.
2. Pour into your food processor and add everything else!
3. Process it for maybe five minutes, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the mixer. Ensure it's really smooth.
4. Pour into the container and leave it to cool in the fridge, uncovered.
5. Once cooled, cover and leave overnight.
6. Eat! You can melt it, slice it, serve it with crackers and grapes!
Leftovers allegedly last up to five days. Yeah, like they have a chance....