I love halloumi. I love the saltiness, the squeakiness and the oh-my-god-it’s-just-so-fucking-delicious-ness of it. In the fridge languished half a block that needed to be used up and instead of stuffing it in the portobella mushrooms that are also languishing in the fridge needing to be used up, I decided to batter the halloumi, like they do in my local chippy.
I’ve made Yorkshire Puddings and battered tofu before, but I’ve never made a chip shop type batter. I whisked up the flour, milk and baking powder and seasoned it with salt and pepper but I felt it was missing something. The Meat Eater said it wasn’t and said that was how batter is made so I took his word for it, even though he couldn’t tell me how he knew how to make batter. He also assured me that it’s supposed to be the texture of wallpaper paste.
This battered halloumi was so, so good. It was even better than the chip shop’s. The halloumi had softened and lost its squeak and weirdly developed the texture of fish.
I don’t have a deep fat fryer, so I used the Tefal wok-type pan I use for almost everything. I’ve had it over ten years and I still think it’s brilliant and you can buy one here. (This post isn’t sponsored by Tefal, I just wanted to tell you how much I love my wok.)
I blogged about Violife vegan cheese a couple of years ago and, at the time, I was kind of, ‘Well, Violife’s okay, I suppose, but nothing special’. Since then, I’ve changed my mind and, while I’m not saying it’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten, it’s definitely the best vegan cheese I’ve ever eaten.
Today I used some in a toasted vegan cheese and chorizo sandwich. As you can see in the above photo, Violife melts beautifully and it went really well with the vegan chorizo I made from The Gentle Chef‘s new book – Seitan and Beyond.
This chorizo is fab; juicy, spicy, delicious, easy to make and contains easy-to-find ingredients (the only ingredients you’re probably not going to find in the supermarket – at least not here in the UK – are vital wheat gluten and liquid smoke, but these are easy enough and cheap enough to buy online). I can’t share the recipe with you as The Gentle Chef doesn’t allow his recipes to be shared but if you love your mock meat products I recommend you buy Seitan and Beyond, either as a pdf (with photos) from his website, or as a hard copy (without photos) from Amazon.
I know you don’t need a recipe for how to make a sandwich, but here it is anyway.
I’m sorry, I really am going to stop gushing about the What Fat Vegans Eat Facebook page soon but here’s another recipe I was inspired to make after seeing everyone’s home-made vegan cheese on there. Some looked a bit complicated for a noob like me, so I scouted around for some other recipes until I found a simple one with easy-to-source ingredients.
Despite the recipe I found being simple, it does take three days to make, simply because there’s a lot of sitting about (the ingredients, not you, although you are of course perfectly welcome to put your feet up and watch repeats of Eastenders while you wait for it). I also ended up blending the cashews with my hand blender because my cheapy blender wasn’t up to the job and didn’t get the nuts smooth enough.
From what I’ve read on other blogs, you can skip the last ‘place in the fridge overnight bit’ if you want to, but from what I can gather, if you do leave it to drain for longer, the cheese will be firmer. Saying that though, no more liquid drained out after leaving it to sit overnight.
I’m not going to lie – this isn’t going to make you think you’re eating vintage mature Cheddar; it’s not even going to make you think you’re eating Philadelphia (other cream cheeses are available) but it’s nice for what it is. It’s smooth and creamy with a bit of a tang. The supermarket had run out of chives so I had to leave those out but next time I’ll definitely make it herbier and maybe add some chilli flakes.
I spread it thickly on rice cakes and ground black pepper over it.
1 1/2 cups raw cashews
4 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp water, plus water to soak the cashews
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tbsp chopped chives
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
A pinch of sea salt
A pinch of ground black peppepr
Soak the cashews in the fridge overnight, or up to 24 hours.
Drain and rinse the cashews and add to a blender/food processor with the cider vinegar, lemon juice and water.
Blend until smooth as possible, adding up to another 2 tbsp of water if necessary.
Transfer the cashew puree to a mixing bowl and fold in the remaining ingredients.
Line a sieve with cheese cloth and place the sieve over a bowl.
Add the cashew mixture, smooth out the top and carefully fold over the sides of the cheese cloth.
Leave on the side for about 2 hours and discard the liquid that has drained out into the bowl.
Place in the fridge overnight to allow even more water to drain and the cream cheese to firm up.
After allowing it to sit overnight, carefully unfold the cheese cloth and turn the cashew cream cheese out onto a plate.