Tag Archives: Gloucestershire Vegan Group Event

Devine ‘Cheese’ & Fine Wine

5 Aug

One of our ‘cheese’boards – clockwise from left: Sheese Cheese & Chives, Cheshire Sheese, Gouda Sheese, Blue Style Cheezly, Pepperjack Cheezly

On a stormy summer evening we gathered in a couple of vegan group members’ small but cosy living-room to sample a range of vegan cheeses and quaff vegan wines.

For those of you not au fait with the world of vegan cheeses, like most vegan ‘fake’ foods they come in an entertaining array of names resembling the items they are based on. There’s Cheezly, Sheese and Parmazano not to mention No-moo and Creamy-smooth. They are mostly made from a mixture of vegetable fats, potato starch, rice flour and natural flavourings such as yeast, nut butters and spices. Some barely resemble the cheese they are attempting to imitate, whilst others nicely fill the fatty-salty-savoury-creamy role a cheese alternative should.

You can buy many locally from shops such as Sunshine Health Food Shop in Stroud, Green Spirit in Market St, Nailsworth and the Natural Grocery Shop in Cheltenham.

We’d brought a selection of cheeses to try, with the idea that we would get to try each one and discover which we liked the taste of. Everyone brought something along to nibble with the cheeses and some vegan drinks. There was a great selection of home-made chutneys, pickles, freshly baked bread, crackers, scones, salads, and even a yummy chocolate cheesecake for pudding.

pickletastic! fabulous home-made chutneys and a selection of pickled vegetables

After comparing the many cheeses on offer, most of us decided the No-Moo cheeses, made by Swiss-based company Vegusto were some of the best. We were especially keen on the “mild aromatic” flavour, which some of us felt most resembled what we can remember cheese tasted like (some of us have been vegan too long to remember such things!)

A selection of Vegusto’s “No-Moo” cheeses, clockwise from top: Walnut, Mild Aromatic, Classic, Piquant

Some of us also like the Blue-style Cheezly made by vegan food company Redwood, as it had a delicious tangy flavour reminiscent of stilton.

As for drinks we had a range of vegan-friendly wines and other drinks. We also enjoyed local bottled beers, made by Stroud Brewery. (Only the botted beers are vegan, the draught beers available in local pubs contain fish swim-bladder clearing agents. Lets hope Stroud Brewery decide it’s worth the extra custom to also make their draught beer suitable for veggies and vegans soon!) As many of you will know finding vegan-friendly booze can be frustratingly difficult due to poor labelling of drinks and secretive brewing industry processes. A comprehensive list of vegan-friendly alcholic drinks is available on the website Barnivore.

Aside from the good taste, perhaps the best thing about both the drinks and the ‘cheeses’  we’ve recommend above is that they are free from the products of animal exploitation.

Recipes from the evening:

You don’t have to buy vegan cheese, it’s easy to make your own such as this Cashew Ricotta

Cashew Ricotta

(based on recipe from the excellent cook-book Veganoimcon by Isa Chandra & Terry Hope Romero)

Ingredients:

Half a cup raw Cashew nuts

Juice of 1 and a half lemon

3 tbsp Olive Oil

A block of firm tofu

1 clove garlic

1 and a half tsp of salt

6 leaves fresh basil or 1 tbsp dried basil

Method:

Blend the cashews, lemon juice and olive oil until a grainy paste forms. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until creamy.
Chill until use. Great in baked dishes, with pasta, or used as a dip.

Caramelised Onion Bread

Ingredients:

1 tsp dried yeast

2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

4 cups strong white bread flour

For the topping:

2 onions sliced into fine rings, or 8 shallots

3 tbsp Olive oil

Method:

Put 1tsp yeast in a large bowl, and add 2 cups of warm water.

Whisk until the yeast has dissolved.

Add 1 tsp salt and whisk.

Add half of the flour and mix well, then add the following 2 cups of flour.

Cover with a tea-towel and leave in a warm spot for at least 2 hours, until risen and doubled in size.

Then caramelise the onions: Soften in olive oil with a lid on the pan until the onions turn transparent, then remove the lid and up the heat, stirring regularly until the onions are a golden brown.

Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C.

Drizzle a little olive oil in a 9inch by 12 inch pan.

Turn the dough out into the pan, and spread it evenly

Drizzle the remaining oil on top of the dough of the and poke lots of holes in the dough with your fingers, then spread the caramelised onions on top

Bake for 25 mins or until risen and golden

(This dough is also great for pizza bases)

Chocolate Cheesecake

Ingredients:

8oz rich tea/digestive biscuits

4oz marg

I pack of silken tofu

8oz dark chocolate

Method:

Melt the marg and crush the biscuits. Mix them together and press down in a round cake tin to make the biscuit base, leave to cool.

Melt the chocolate. Whisk/blend the silken tofu and stir in the melted chocolate, leaving a little to put on the top. Smooth over the biscuit base, put rest of the melted chocolate on top and put in the fridge till you are ready to eat! Enjoy!

Olive Scones

Ingredients:

225g self raising flour

1/4 tsp  baking powder

50g ‘Pure’ or other vegan marg

pinch of salt

1 tsp dried oregano

about 8 olives, chopped

enough plain soya yoghurt to make a soft dough

Method:

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl

Add the marg and rub in until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs

Using a knife, stir in the olives and oregano

Gradually add the soya yoghurt, until you have a softish dough

Bring the dough together with your hands and knead lightly on the work surface.

Roll out on a floured surface to no less than 2cm deep.

Cut out your scones, re-rolling the mixture until you use it up

Bake on a baking tray in a preheated oven (200C/400F/Gas Mark6) for 12 – 15 mins until risen and sounding hollow when you tap one on the bottom!

Either serve straight away or cool on a wire cooling rack.

(If you want to make these in advance and freeze them, then you get a better result if you freeze before cooking, rather than after.)

Raw Food Feast

20 Jun

well-dined and happy vegans!

Gloucestershire Vegan Group’s latest get-together was a sumptuous raw-food feast cooked by vegan group members and raw-foodists; Nam, her daughter Sahaya and her husband Micheal. For many of us Gloucestershire Vegans it was an introduction to raw food cuisine, and what a delicious introduction it was.

For those of you who might think raw food simply consists of a load of old salad – think again! Nam and her family treated us to some gourmet cuisine. They “uncooked” raw lasagne, quiche, cauliflower tabbouleh, blueberry pie and mulberry biscuits – to name but a few of the many amazing dishes lovingly prepared for us.

gourmet raw food

Below are a few of the recipes for inspired Gloucestershire Vegans to try at home, Nam cooks by approximation so has not given quantities. More recipes from the day available here.

Lasagne

“Wheat” Layer Sheet: Peeled Cucumber or Courgette Slices (very thin with mandolin or potato peeler in strip/slice. Overlap narrow strips to form a square of the size you want)

First paste from the bottom: Nut Paste

• Suflower & Pumpkin seeds (soaked for an hour)
• Sun Dried Tomatoes (soaked an hour) or Red Pepper for Tomato-free
• Dates (1 or more to taste)
• Fresh/Dry Sage
• Dry Oregano
• Cayenne (optional)

Blend until crumbly

Second paste: Green Pesto

• Fresh Basil
• Fresh Parsley
• Almonds (soaked few hours & drained)
• Garlic clove (to taste)
• Courgettes (half piece)
• Lemon Juice (to taste)

Blend until smooth or chunky

Third paste: Tomato sauce

• Sun Dried Tomatoes (soaked an hour) or Red Pepper for Tomato-free
• Tomatoes or Red Paprika Powder
• Dates (4 or more as thickener, depending on quantity made)
• Dry Oregano
• Garlic clove (to taste)
• Lemon Juice (to taste)

Blend until smooth

 Fourth paste: Nut Cream Cheese
• Cashew (soaked 4 hours)
• Courgettes (for low-fat) or Macadamia nuts
• Yellow Pepper
• Fresh Parsley
• Fresh Thyme

• Lemon Juice (to taste)
• Water (as needed)
Blend until fluffy

1. On a  “Wheat” Layer Sheet put nut layer, green pesto, tomato sauce & nut cream cheese and repeat all the layers once. Then place wilted Spinach (destem & soak in Olive oil & Sea/Himalayan salt (optional).

2.Place final “Wheat” Layer Sheet and sprinkle some nut cheese, black pepper & Olive Oil over it.

Inspired by original recipe by Russell James

Blueberry pie

Blueberry Pie

 Filling:

• Blueberry Or Mix Frozen Berries (that has Blueberries)

• Ripe Banana

Blend until smooth
 Pie Base:
• Dates
• Dry Coconut
Blend until dough-like

1. Press the pie base dough on the cake tin into any thickness you want.

2. Pour the mousse on top of it. (Place a plate under the cake tin in case it leaks.)
Then place in the fridge overnight, or for at least 10 hours

3. Sprinkle Blueberries over the pie before removing the cake tin and freeze for an hour.

Nam recommends the following websites for more information and gourmet raw food recipes:

Ani Phyo: Eco Stylist and Organic Food Author

The Raw Food Coach

Sweetly Raw

delicious ‘date cups’ – these tasted like trifle!

raw courgette rolls, sushi, stuffed mushrooms and pizza

gingery-pecan sweets