Vegan Cheese Showdown

The holiday season has all sorts of associations for different people.  Rather shallowly and greedily, one of the things I love about Christmas is the food, especially cheese.  I was really pleased to see some new (to me) vegan cheeses on the Veggie Stuff website.  So, without further ado, it’s a vegan cheese showdown <hum the Rocky theme tune here>.

The two cheeses are Jeezini Intens and Green Vie Smoked Gouda flavour.

Obviously, the most important criteria on this site is ingredients.  The Green Vie’s ingredients are “Water, Coconut Oil (Non-Hydrogenated) (24%), Modified starch, Sea Salt, Vegan Flavourings, Smoke Flavouring, Colour: Natural Beta Carotene, Preservative: Sorbic Acid, Vitamin B12”.  The Jeezini ‘s ingredients are “Water, Plant Based Fats (Shea Kernal Oil, Coconut Oil) (23%), Modified Starch, Starch, Sea Salt, Vegan Flavour (Contains Soya Bean Oil), Olive Extract, Colour: B-carotene.”  They are both free from dairy, gluten, lactose, and palm oil.  The Green Vie brand is also soya free, while the Jeezini includes soybean oil.

Round One to Green Vie on points

Now, price – the Green Vie was £2.85 for 180g and the Jeezini Intens was £3.50 for 200g.

Round Two to Green Vie on points

Finally, it’s the taste test.  Recklessly, and despite all my previous experience with vegan cheese, I decided to try a slice uncooked.  The Jeezini was not good; it had that weird soapy taste that vegan cheese often has.  The Green Vie tasted really good.  To be fair, the Veggie Stuff website had a tip about the Jeezini “Best served at room temperature, as the flavour and texture is improved when warmer. This cheese alternative melts very well, ideally under direct heat like grilling or also zapped in a microwave.”  I grilled the cheeses on a wrap.  The Green Vie was still really good.  I am afraid that the Veggie Stuff website and I will have to agree to disagree.  Heating the Jeezini just made it stinkier and soapier.  At this stage, I decided to take The Green Vie Smoked Gouda to the ultimate level – the mighty crisp sandwich.  Some of the cheese and crushed Pom Bears in a wrap turned out to be the crowning glory of this taste test.  The Jeezini was consigned to the rubbish bin, which as I am both frugal and greedy gives you an idea of how bad it really was.

Round Three – win by knock out to Green Vie.

 

Salted Chocolate Bubbly Caramels

Ingredients

Cooking oil or spray

125g liquid glucose*

360g caster sugar

3tbsp honey

15g bicarbonate of soda

250g dark chocolate

Salt

  1. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.  Lightly oil the baking parchment.
  2. Place the glucose, sugar, honey and 75ml water in a saucepan over a medium heat.  Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved then allow the mixture to boil until it is a dark caramel colour.20171212_124350
  3. Take the saucepan off the heat and leave it to stand for 2 mins.  Quickly whisk in the bicarbonate of soda.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tray.  Cool down the mixture; I used some convenient snow!20171212_124449
  5. When it has set, break the caramel into pieces.
  6. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Cover one side of the caramels with the chocolate .
  7. Sprinkle the chocolate with salt, and then allow that to set.20171211_100720
  8. Store the salted chocolate bubbly caramels in the freezer, and eat whenever you need a burst of energy to get you through the holiday season!20171211_133023

*Why is there liquid glucose in this recipe?  Liquid glucose controls the formation of sugar crystals so you get nice, smooth caramels.

Morrison’s Free From Mince Pies

Gluten free and very nearly vegan mince pies

Ingredients – Mincemeat (45%) (sugar, apple puree, raisins, sultana, glucose syrup, currants, vegetable oils (palm, sunflower), glucose-fructose syrup, orange peel, spices, rice flour, acidity regulators (acetic acid, citric acid), lemon peel, dill, treacle, orange oil, preservative (sulphur dioxide)), Brown rice flour, Tapioca starch, Sugar, Vegetable oils (palm, rapeseed), Water, Ground almonds, Dextrose, Salt, Thickener (xanthan gum), Cornflour, Colour (plain caramel), Emulsifier (mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids).

May contain egg, other nuts and peanuts.

This was a pretty good find for a supermarket own brand.  If it wasn’t for that pesky “may contain egg” then these would be vegan as well as wheat free, gluten free and milk free.  The pastry was crisp, and the filling was plentiful and full of flavour.  My only complaint was that these were a little dry, although that’s a problem with mince pies in general, so they benefitted from being accompanied with something moist.  I went with Alpro Soya single cream.

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Hadleigh Maid Dark Chocolate Walnut & Mallow Whirls

No dairy walnut whirls!

Ingredients: Cocoa Mass, Sugar, Cocoa Butter, Glucose Syrup, Invert Sugar Syrup, Walnut, Gelatine (Bovine), Water, Emulsifier (Soya Lecithin), Natural Vanilla Extract, Stabiliser (E452).

May contain Milk/Nut traces.

I like the Hadleigh Maid company.  They are based close to where we live, in the next county, Suffolk.  Unfortunately, the Allergy Brothers had never been able to try their products before.  Sadly, they couldn’t get past the shape of a walnut whirl!  They have never eaten shaped chocolate before, as they only eat bars of Kinnerton Free From chocolate.  Allergy Little would not believe me that it was edible, “but chocolate is square, that is too pyramidy!”

I took one for the team and tried them.  The dark chocolate was pretty good quality with a cocoa solids minimum of 56%.  The mallow was yummy, but it’s a shame it contains beef gelatine.  Maybe the Hadleigh Maid company could come up with a vegan version?

Veggie Stuff website

I needed to buy a couple of store cupboard staples (Orgran Apple and Cinnamon pancake mix, and Vegamigo pizza cheese).  It seemed sensible to look for one website that sold both these products, and so I came across the Veggie stuff website.  Really glad I did.  Fantastic website with a really wide range of vegan products.

I found some new Allergy Brother-friendly products: an omelette mix and a cream substitute.  Also, they have a really wide range of vegan cheeses.  I found two brands that I have never tried before so I will be testing those in a head-to-head comparison!  Looking forward to reviewing products from this extensive website.