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.
Vegan Toasted Cheese and Chorizo Sandwich
Recipe Type: Sandwich
Author: Cathy @ Planet Veggie
2 slices of bread
Violife cheese, sliced from the block
3 slices of vegan chorizo
A few leaves of baby spinach
1 tomato, sliced
Vegan salad cream (Asda’s own brand light salad cream is vegan)
Dairy-free spread (I used Pure)
Spread the bread with the dairy-free spread
Add the spinach leaves on to one of the slices of bread
Add the Violife
Add the chorizo
Add the sliced tomato
Squeeze the salad cream on
Top with the remaining slice of bread
Grill in a George Foreman grill or sandwich toaster for about 10 minutes
Despite this soup being the easiest soup in the world to make, it wasn’t the easiest soup to guess in my Guess The Soup game. I didn’t think it would be so difficult; it’s just one vegetable, after all, and a seasonal vegetable at that (I’m assuming it’s seasonal – it came in last week’s veg box, anyway).
Maybe the stock discoloured it. I don’t know what goes into most ready-made stock powder and cubes (I should probably be ashamed of this) but this stock was a home-made one, made from The Gentle Chef’s Instant Chicken’less Bouillon Powder, which is easy to make and much nicer than anything you’ll find in the shops. Just make a batch up and store it in a jar until you need it.
Recipe: Soup Maker Cauliflower Soup
Author: Planet Veggie
These instructions are for a Von Chef Soup Maker. Your settings might be different. If you want to make it on the hob, just simmer all ingredients for about 20 minutes then blend at the end and add the soya milk.
1 cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 red onion, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp home made or store bought bouillon powder
3 cups water
salt and pepper
50ml soya milk (optional)
Put all ingredients except the soya milk into the soup machine
I have no idea if this is just like ‘real’ havarti, as I’ve never had it. What I can tell you though is that it’s creamy and spicy and gorgeous in sandwiches with mayo and salad. Unfortunately, I can’t share the recipe with you – you’ll have to buy The Gentle Chef Cookbook (the hard copy is available on Amazon (which doesn’t have photos but there is an image gallery on the website), or you can buy a pdf version with photos from The Gentle Chef website) if you want to know how to make it. I just wanted to show you how pretty it is.
After seeing someone posting this on one of the vegan Facebook groups I’m a member of, I really wanted to make them. There’s quite a lot to it – it’s not something you’re going to whip up in a couple of minutes – but it’s mostly seasonings and the method isn’t difficult at all.
I don’t think we can get Old Bay Seasoning here in the UK, so I found this recipe on the internet which can be made up and used in its place:
I’d spent a long time pondering over whether to buy The Gentle Chef Cookbook, mostly because it’s self-published and I’m a still a bit snobby in that respect. I needn’t have worried though as the book is amazing. It’s beautifully laid out and produced and just as professional as any traditionally published cookbook. There aren’t any photographs but (and this is what swung it for me in the end) you can see plenty of photographs of the recipes on The Gentle Chef website. For even greater flexibility, if you do want the photos and the recipes combined, there’s a pdf version available to purchase.
The 235 pages are split into chapters:
Seitan, with information on preparing it and recipes for lots of different types, e.g. meatballs, pepperoni, corned beaf, chick’n, bacun, roasts, ribz, etc., along with recipes in which to use them.
Salads and Dressings (including vegan mayonnaise and mock tuna salad)
Soups, Broths and Stews
Entrees and Accompaniments
South of the Border Cuisine
Japanese and Pacific Cuisine
Sauces and Gravies
Sweets and Treats
Doesn’t this book sound amazing?
The extensive number of seitan recipes was another factor in my decision to buy the book and the day it arrived in the post, I flicked through it and decided to make the pepperoni. Unfortunately, in my eagerness, I forgot about my over-zealous fan oven and slightly overcooked the pepperoni, as the outside was a bit tough and chewy. This hasn’t stopped me snacking on it all morning though, as it’s deliciously warm and spicy, containing chilli flakes, paprika and fennel seeds, along with other herbs and spices. I can’t share the recipe with you here as – quite rightly – Skye Michael Conroy (The Gentle Chef) doesn’t like his recipes being shared and would prefer you to buy the book and find the recipes for yourselves.