Sunday, 1 February 2015

Ditching Dairy - I Can Have Pizza!!!

It was with great misery that I realised that one of my favourite foods in the whole world would be a thing of the past now we've gone dairy free, so much so that I admit to having a wibbly bottom lip. I started to make a list of all the things I couldn't have any more that I liked pizza, tart flambee which needs fromage frais and some form of cheese on the top, I could no longer have a cheese and pickle sandwich, no more cheese on pasta... You get the idea.

I remembered vegan cheese from the 80's when I was a vegetarian, rubberised odd tasting slabs of stuff that wouldn't melt, didn't taste very nice and made you decide that no cheese at all was better than soya cheese. My heart was heavy, sure I could get along without it, but I didn't want to. I did a little research and heard about a vegan cheese that has been formulated just for pizza?! Had I died and gone to heaven... So yesterday we embarked on a journey to find a health food shop that stocked what we were after and found it in Nottingham at a place called The Natural Food Company its a small little shop but we found an assortment of things we can't get locally and a fridge full of vegan cheese. I had seen this cheese on the Goodness direct website, but you have to buy a minimum of 6 items for chilled/frozen deliveries and they still charge you £9.00 for delivery which was a tad steep for me. If you buy non-chilled items postage is free over £35!

I bought several bags of the Veganic Pizza Cheese, its 100% Vegan, 100% Lactose Free, 100% GMO-Free, 100% Gluten Free and 100% Cholesterol Free, it smells like cheese, it tastes like a very mild cheddar and in its 'raw' state it has the texture of grated mild cheddar, a tad waxy but not unpleasant. So today it was game on for creating a dairy free and gluten free pizza, the pizza base was made using Doves Farm Gluten Free Bread Flour using their recipe for Tomato & Courgette Pizza. Although I always add garlic granules, basil and oregano to my pizza dough, I also make my own tomato sauce using passata, herbs, garlic granules, salt and pepper, its very tasty. Instead of the courgette I topped our pizza with finely chopped onion, smoked ham and pepperoni and of course the veganic pizza cheese.
The end result as you can see above was a pizza that was edible, however despite having a mildly cheesy taste, the cheese didn't melt very well, parts of it were crispy, so it loses points in the meltability stakes. It was still edible mind and went very well with a nice crisp green salad and a few homemade wedges. Until we can find something better it ticks the pizza box and I don't feel deprived! I also added it to the top of a veggie chilli topped baked potato on Saturday evening and it was rather nice.

I've heard about another cheese that has a better meltability so that will be the next vegan cheese to try, its called MozzaRisella and is made by an Italian company, its supposed to be according to the Veganoo website "an excellent pizza cheese, which melts and doesn't re-solidify too quickly. It isn't starchy or sticky or cloying, just creamy. It doesn't run, or split or burn, just melts." The Veganoo website recently did a 'Meltdown Taste Test' on vegan cheeses, which for someone new to dairy free cheese is really rather useful.

Our other cheesy triumph this weekend was Violife Cheese Slices which come in several flavours, we tried the 'Original' flavour first and in taste its very mild, creamy, it smells like cheese, the texture is like a cross between processed cheese slices and gouda cheese. It made a lovely dairy free cheese and pickle sandwich for supper :) Next time I'll try the 'cheddar' flavour and the 'with herbs', but it gets a thumbs up from me. I also found a website that sells nothing but vegan cheese and is funnily enough called Vegan Cheese, there have been some amazing developments in the vegan cheese market since the 80's when I last ate it, so I'm looking forward to trying more, and after this weekend I'm no longer troubled that cheesy delights are a thing of the past now we're going dairy free and it means I can still have pizza yippee!

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Thanks for your comments on my cards and posts, they are very much appreciated, I'll get back to you as soon as I can if a reply is required. Hugs - Debs x