Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm officially in with the in-crowd. Come and visit me and my cool friends.

I'm also a food geek. I've been experimenting with non-cheese cheese and have attempted to make raw flapjacks this week. I've been thinking about the food writing that I want to do (and who I want my food writing to be read by) and have decided that the only way to develop the way I want to develop is to try as many different things as possible and broaden my repertoire of recipes and basically challenge myself more.

So this week, I bought a small block of vegan cheese. And I regretted it.
It is vile but strangely compelling. One of the main ingredients is potato starch. It's like a block of compressed instant mash flavoured with the "parmesan flavoured" powder that cheap pizza parlours put out on tables. I am convinced the stuff is evaporating in my fridge. The ingredients are:

Water, potato starch, non-hygrogenated vegetable fats & oils, soya protein, yeast extract, thickener: carrageenan; salt, flavouring, emulsifying salts: tricalcium phosphate, colour: carotene

What the fuck is carrageenan?

I'm a big cheese fan - I'm happiest with the bluest, softest, ripest and most pungent, full fat and perhaps unpasteurised stuff that is available (but never goat's cheese. Oh, god, how I hate goat's cheese). I feel like I have betrayed some sort of community by bringing this vegan atrocity into my house and onto my cheeseboard. Mea culpa.
Munda cor meum ac labia mea. I can't even cook with it because it doesn't melt the same way real cheese would. I haven't even considered grating it; when cut into very small pieces it has a tendency to crumble then reform into what looks and feels like nearly dried toothpaste.

However, my raw flapjacks are a success. Raw food diets are so odd and against everything I have been brought up to believe about food (salad isn't food, it's just a pile of *ingredients* on a plate according to my dad, the Chinese chef) that I had to investigate.

A raw flapjack is basically a handful of dried figs soaked in warm water so they're soft and moist then put in a blender for a short while so they form a sticky paste. Into the paste, I pressed an equal amount of muesli, seeds and some chopped dried apricots, then wrapped it all in clingfilm and chilled it in the fridge. Not bad, a good breakfast snack that doesn't crumble too much and is not only completely raw but vegan too.

Next week: I'm going to be entirely kosher. Oy vey!

1 comment:

Dave said...

Ooh - a friend of mine bought me this for my birthday. And ever since I have been obsessed with the idea of making home-made bacon, salt cod, preserved lemons and the like. So far my efforts have extended to two lots of rather lovely kimchi (one with cabbage and the other with carrot/turnip!). Fortunately another friend also gave me some kilner jars as a present, so I'm all set to go! Roll on the Peckham smokehouse...