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Monthly Archives: November 2009

For the love of Cheese…Soy Cheese of course (Part 2)

Simply Better Foods: SoyCheese - Garden Herbs

As promised, as I try different cheeses out I am posting my thoughts and this one particularly disturbed me. I recently purchased Simply Better Foods SoyCheese – Garden Herb. And as I mentioned previously I thought it contained Casein. Turns out I was right. I should be in better habit of reading ingredients when I purchase products, but I was in a bit of a rush as all of us tend to be sometimes and I picked it up thinking “Great! A flavoured soy cheese let’s try it!” Bad move.

For those of you who don’t know, Casein is a protein predominantly found in cows milk, and hence is also found in cheese (the non-vegan kind). As it exists in milk, it is a salt of calcium. Casein is not coagulated by heat., but is precipitated by acids and by rennet enzymes, a proteolytic enzyme typically obtained from the stomachs of calves.

Casein is therefore not vegan, as it is derived from milk, but is vegetarian. But forgive my stupidity, why create a soy cheese if it’s not vegan? Entirely pointless.

I did end up trying this out anyway though, seeing as I bought it, a taster.

The Verdict: UGHHHHHHHH. It was NOT what I expected and will NOT be on the shopping list EVER again. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll eat the rest of it. What a waste.

So the lesson learnt here – ALWAYS read the ingredients, never shop in a rush unless you know EXACTLY what you’re buying.

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Posted by on November 25, 2009 in Food, Vegan, Weight Loss

 

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For the love of (Soy) Milk

I’ve always been mildly lactose intolerant, so the adjustment to soy milk for me was really none at all because for as long as I can remember I’ve been substituting regular milk for soy in everything from tea and coffee to cereal and in cooking and baking. I’ve even used soy cream in cooking – but lets leave that for another “For the love of…” entry.

Alpro Soya Milk

Alpro Soy products used to be my favourite when living in the UK, everything from their cream to yogurt to flavoured milks I used to absolutely love. Unfortunately I don’t seem to get the same selection here although if I did it would definately be on my permanent shopping list!! I used to love their soy chocolate milk too, full of chocolatey goodness!

So Good Soy Milk

With my limited selection however, So Good Soy Milk is amazing, they have a huge range of sweetened and unsweetend soy milks, with various flavours ranging from plain to vanilla.

The Verdict: This one is definately on my permanent shopping list. I do prefer the individual serving cartons though, as I find that I go through periods where I just don’t drink it fast enough before it goes off or don’t have enough cereal to go with it. So this way, I feel I can have what I want in moderate amounts with no pressure to finish the massive carton super fast. And since I’m the only one that drinks it in my house, it’s perfect!

 

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2009 in Breakfast, Food, Vegan, Weight Loss

 

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For the love of Pea Soup

I am forever looking for quick lunch ideas that get me through the working day. Something that I can either make at home and microwave at work or some kind of take-out. In this city however, take-out seems more difficult, everything has some kind of meat in it or made with chicken broth or has fish sauce in it. It’s insane really, and with the cold front upon us I am becoming more and more of a fan of soup.

So I did a little shopping and a little research and I found that most tinned soup has huge amounts of refined sugars and chicken broth in them – even those they claim are vegetarian. But I found one!

Suma Organic Pea Soup

Suma Organic Pea Soup – contains no refined sugars, wholely organic! And is fab! Paired with some organic whole wheat seeded bread makes a hearty filling lunch, or dinner for that matter for the perfect winter day!

The Verdict: Definately on the permanent shopping list for this winter.

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Food, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

 

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For the love of Cheese…Soy Cheese of course

Oh I do love cheese, I was an addict, and I have promised you a review on soy cheeses for such a long time I thought it was about time I delivered!

I have never been a fan of those fake “american” style cheeses that come in bottles or cans, unfortunately I have found that soy cheese tastes very similar to that. It is difficult to find a fab soy cheese on the market.

One that I did find however was not so bad, still a little bottled-up feeling but I generally would only recommend you buy it to make cheese on toast, it’s absolutely not recommended for use in anything else.

Tofutti

Tofutti is fab for exactly that, cheese on toast. Cures a craving, is a great hangover cure (yes, i’m still working on that cutting the alcohol out bit of my life. Moving on..) and all in all doesn’t taste one bit like tofu.

It probably would taste awesome on pizza too but I havent gotten around to trying that one yet. This particular Tofutti comes already sliced (giving it that completely processed cheese feeling i’ve always hated but I am growing to accept). I highly advise against eating this uncooked.

The Verdict: definately will purchase it again, but there are pleanty more soy cheeses on my list to try out, such as Simply Better Foods: SoyCheese with Garden Herbs.

I understand however that this is not completely vegan as it has casein in it. I’m still on the lookout, choices are limited on this end of the world – but I will definately keep you posted with my discoveries!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2009 in Breakfast, cheese, Food, Recipes, Vegan, Weight Loss

 

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For The Love Of…Nutritional Yeast?

So I’ve been doing some recipe research recently, trying to find new and innovative ideas for cooking, trying to make my food more exciting and everything that I seem to have come accross recently contains nutritional yeast. Now I’m still relatively new to the vegan world but every time I read it i found myself asking “what the…what is it?” I only ever new nutritional yeast to be included in the beer making process, so I thought it was about time to expand my knowledge base and I thought I would share my findings with you, hoping you are as much of a novice vegan as I am, and if not, then hopefully it would provide you with some inside knowledge you didn’t have before!

So here is what I found. I found that I was wrong about nutritional yeast being included in the beer making process, in fact it is very similar to that which is used, but nutritional yeast is made out of yeast which is cultured with sugar cane and beet molasses. This is then harvested, washed, dried and packaged.

Nutritional yeast is a protein, and a source of B vitamins. This doesn’t fill me with any kind of confidence whatsoever, I have memories of having to take multivitamins with added B12 in them – honestly it smelled revolting and tasted even worse.

I also know that nutritional yeast is used as a cheese substitute, but is it really worth it? And is it really better than the soy cheeses out on the market?

I’m really not convinced I want to try it, the thought of any of my food smelling anywhere near B12 does not exactly appeal to me. However I am eager to hear any comments you might have regarding nutritional yeast, so please feel free to comment!

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2009 in Food, Recipes, Vegan

 

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Chocolate Temptation

I am an avid reader of TheBittenWord.com. They have fabulous recipes and ideas which they pull from various magazines, try out, and write about. Fab really! Although they next to never post anything vegan, they appear to be avid carnivores! However, a super surprise entered my inbox this morning – Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake!

They have taken this from GourmetNovember 2009 and it looks so amazing I simply must try it out! Although you know me, my lack of time these days doesn’t usually allow for much baking, so as usual, I’m posting the recipe before trying it out for myself, let me know what you think if you try it before me!!

Note: I would substitute all sugars for organic raw cane sugar, and all my graham crackers are organic with no refined sugars, and my chocolate is soy, but it’s entirely up to you.

Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake - Gourmet

Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake - Gourmet

yield: Makes 12 servings
active time: 35 min
total time: 10 hr (includes chilling)

INGREDIENTS
For graham cracker crust:
1 1/4 cups chocolate or regular graham cracker crumbs (from nine 5-by 2 1/2-inch graham crackers)
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, melted and cooled, plus additional for greasing pan

For chocolate tofu filling:
2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/3 cup water
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), chopped
2 (1-pound packages silken tofu, drained
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
2 (8-ounces) containers soy cream cheese at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
Equipment: a 9-inch springform pan
PREPARATION
Make graham cracker crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in middle and lower third and put a baking sheet on lower rack. Flip bottom of springform pan so lip is facing down, then lock in place. Grease bottom and side of pan.
Stir together all crust ingredients, then press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes, then cool completely, about 45 minutes.
Make chocolate tofu filling:
Heat 1 cup sugar in a 1 1/2-to 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling pan occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber. Remove from heat and carefully stir in water (mixture will bubble up and steam and caramel will harden), then cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until caramel has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until smooth. Cool fudge sauce slightly.
Purée tofu and cocoa in a food processor until smooth.
Beat soy cream cheese and remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy. At low speed, beat in tofu purée, vanilla, salt, and fudge sauce until incorporated.
Pour filling into crust and bake on middle rack until top of cake is shiny but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven 1 hour more.
Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen, then cool completely in pan on rack (cake will continue to set as it cools). Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving if desired.

Cooks’s note: Cheesecake can be made 3 days ahead and chilled.

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2009 in Chocolate, Dessert, Food, Indulge, Recipes, Vegan

 

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MIA

I must sincerely apologise for being MIA for the last week or so, there most definately is good reason for this, and in the few sentences / paragraphs to follow, I will explain why, and hopefully you will find it in your heart to forgive me. I want to thank you for your continued support, for coming to check back during the week to see if I have posted, undoubtably leaving dissapointed to find out I haven’t.

I haven’t posted quite simply because I was a little ashamed to. I mentioned to you before, that a lot of my work revolved around events, and food, and as a result, the moment I feared most came upon me, I had to go to a tasting dinner, and I couldn’t be picky about what I ate. At these things, the menu is set for you, and you simply eat what comes to you. And so we began, with an amuse buche of Abalone and Tomato Salsa, followed by an appetiser of Lobster served with Cauliflower Cream, introducing scrambled quail eggs with quail breast and shaved white truffles followed by hand crafted angel hair pasta with red prawns. Main course was pan seared foie gras with duck breast, followed by dessert of chestnut cake served with white truffle ice cream, with shaved white truffle on top. Talk about rich and intense.

Needless to say I spent the night and the following few days feeling rather sick and very much like I had a hangover except in my tummy. Worse than eating too many chillies I tell you.

There is no doubt in my mind now, that vegan seems to be the way to go, granted I may have the odd banoffee pie, but you can be sure I will do my best to avoid as many tasting dinners as possible.

Rest assured. I am back!

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2009 in Food, Indulge, Vegan

 

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