How many times have you read another recipe promising the “Best Mac Cheese Ever!”, rushed to make it and ended up with another disappointment?
I have, countless times. I’ve tried them all, nutritional yeast, carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, cauliflower. All of them either wrong or awful. Most of them I tried giving as leftovers to my dog Jess, but she sensibly rejected them.
I used to make dairy macaroni cheese using a variation of a recipe by Heston Blumenthal, that used no milk just a mixture of cheese in a wine reduction and stock. It was great then, not at all gluggy, sharp and adult in flavour. I think of it as macaroni and cheese for grown ups.
So I gave it another go recently using a mixture of vegusto piquant, daiya cheddar and tofutti cream cheese. I’ve tinkered with it, veganising it obviously, but also simplifying it a bit and using less wine as the original is pretty sharp.
I think it is a winner. Jess isn’t getting any leftovers from this one, even though she’d probably love it.
It also works wonderfully as a cheese sauce for cauliflower and broccoli.
best macaroni cheese ever - really! 🙂
author: quincesandkale based on Heston Blumenthal
- 200 g macaroni
- ½ tsp salt
- 200 ml dry white wine
- 300 ml hot vegetable stock (I used Massel)
- 60 g vegan melting style grated cheese (I've used both Daiya Cheddar and Mozzarella successfully)
- 20 g vegan hard parmesan style cheese ( I use Vegusto Piquant)
- 10 g cornflour
- 80 g Tofutti cream cheese
- black pepper
- 1 tsp truffle oil (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200 C.
- Cook the pasta in salted water until done. Drain.
- Mix in the truffle oil.
- In a saucepan, reduce the white wine over a high heat to 30 ml.
- Add the hot stock to the reduced wine.
- Mix the grated cheeses with the cornflour and add to the saucepan.
- Stir until the cheese has been melted and incorporated into the sauce, then stir through the pasta.
- Cook over a medium heat until the pasta is warmed through.
- Stir in the cream cheese.
- Season with freshly ground black pepper.
- Place into an ovenproof dish and bake in the oven until nice brown spots start to appear.
One of the cheeses I miss is haloumi, that dense, fried, salty, cheese hit eaten with lemon.
I need to state up front that I am not a huge fan of nutritional yeast as a cheese substitute. I know people say that it tastes like cheese, but really, for me, it tastes like yeast that’s reminiscent of cheese. So I approached this recipe with some skepticism. No it isn’t exactly haloumi, but yes it is good.
It is made from frozen tofu, that is thawed, pressed and marinated before frying. I found the recipe at Cooking with Plants. I’ve tweaked it a bit to use less nutritional yeast, but otherwise it is the same.
The texture is reminiscent of haloumi, chewy and dense, but without the squeak (lovers of haloumi will know what I mean). The flavour, though very yummy, is not exactly like haloumi, but it does pack a great salty, crispy, chewy punch which fits the bill nicely in a salad.
I ate mine with a green salad with some fresh tomatoes from the garden. I also ate the remainder on sandwiches over the next few days. It makes a good burger, with its firm texture, so I think I’ll experiment with the thickness and some other flavourings as well next time.
author: quincesandkale based on cooking with plants
recipe type: cheese
- 1 350 gram block of firm tofu
- ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ¼ cup boiling water
- 1 tbs oil for frying (I used olive oil)
- Freeze the tofu overnight then thaw it the next day. This freezing process changes the texture of the tofu, making it chewier.
- Press the water out of the tofu by placing it on a tea towel with a chopping board on top. Place a heavy weight on top of the board. (I used my mortar which weighs a ton!)
- Slice the tofu into ½ cm slices.
- Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl except the oil and water. Add enough of the water to make a paste.
- Brush the paste on both sides of the tofu slices and leave to marinate for a few hours (if you can wait)
- Heat the oil in a non stick frying pan and fry the slices over medium heat for 2-3 minutes each side. They will crisp up.
Break out the quince paste! Yes! That is a vegan cheese plate. 🙂
I crossed town to the Prahran Convenience Store last week, to pick up some of the new Miyoko’s Creamery cheeses. In breaking news, these cheeses are now also available at Mad Cowgirls Vegan Grocery on my side of town.
There are three currently available at both stores – although there are a tantalisingly large number of them listed on the Miyoko’s Creamery website, including a truffled one!
I bought all three that were available, the Rustic Alpine, the Sundried Tomato, and the Fresh Chive.
The cheeses are all soft, not slicing or melting types, and have that proper cultured flavour that I miss most about cheese.
The Sundried Tomato is probably my least favourite, sundried tomatoes are a bit eighties for me. The Rustic Alpine is a slightly offputting strange brown colour, but it is nice, with a sweetish, slightly smoky flavour which went nicely with some tart apple. But the Chive is absolutely the pick of the bunch. It is TOTALLY delicious.
The cheeses are not cheap at $16.50 for 185 grams, so I won’t be buying a lot, but I think the chive one is worth it. People obviously agree, because I got the last chive one while there were still piles of the other two flavours available.
It is good time for vegan cheese lovers. The available cheeses just keep getting better.