In honour of the UK’s Great Vegan Challenge month, (see http://www.govegan.org.uk/) may I present for your enjoyment, vegan fondue.
One of the things I miss most since going lactose-free is cheese. I love cheese. I especially love the really stinky, runny, disgusting kind. The kind that makes guests think something must’ve crawled into your fridge and died sometime in 1992 and has stayed there ever since. I used to buy one particular brand that my husband claimed he could smell when he came in through the front door, even though it was wrapped up in tin foil and sealed in a Tupperware box safely in the fridge. Sigh…
These days I have to be content with getting my fix from the many brands of vegan cheese out there. I’m lucky in that my local wholefoods shop stocks a very wide range. I haven’t tried them all yet but the one I’ve found most useful for cooking purposes has been Violife. They do several different varieties all of which are very nice and haven’t got that chalky, mushy texture a lot of vegan cheese seems to have. Their original flavour is the best for eating just as it is. It comes in a blue packet and tastes pleasantly like Edam. The green packet however is the exciting one. It’s melty pizza cheese and I love it. I love it more than real cheese on pizza. I recommend it to so many people that they should probably give me job, or at least some free cheese. This is the one that I used for the fondue.
Vegan fondue is dead easy to make as you really just substitute the dairy ingredients for their vegan equivalents. There’s no tricky alteration required. Having said that, I did make some changes to the recipe I used to suit my own personal tastes. I adapted Nigella’s fondue recipe from her “Nigella Express” book (online version found here: https://www.nigella.com/recipes/cheese-fondue). I served this to guests on Halloween and it went down very well. (It’s even better with red food colouring in and served in a cauldron) This recipe does make a tonne though. We had enough to feed 7 people and then there was plenty left over so you might want to halve the quantities if you don’t want to find yourself swimming in molten cheese. Or maybe you do. In which case go for it.
- The original recipe includes a clove of garlic however as I can’t eat much garlic I left it out and just sprinkled in a small pinch of garlic powder instead. It tasted just fine.
- The wine really is necessary if you’re using vegan cheese. It gives it a tang that helps to mimic the taste of real cheese and stops it being too sweet or sickly.
- Traditionally a fondue should be made with kirsch as well as wine but I use gin as don’t want the expense of buying a whole bottle of kirsch for the sake of 3 tablespoons. The sharpness of the gin also helps to offset the mildness of the vegan cheese.
- I added a splash of soya cream to my fondue as I wanted it to be a little runnier and creamier, and also some salt as I find vegan cheese I use to be less salty than real cheese.
- 600g vegan “melty” cheese (grated)
- 300ml white wine
- 2 teaspoons cornflour
- 3 tablespoons kirsch or gin
- A pinch of garlic powder
- A splash of soya cream (optional)
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- Salt and pepper.
Put the cheese, wine, cream, nutmeg and garlic into a saucepan or a fondue bowl if you have one. Cook over a low heat for a few minutes until the cheese has melted. Mix the cornflour with the gin in a small glass and add to the cheese. Stir everything well and season it to taste.
Serve with accompaniments of your choice. We like a combination of the following:
- Toasted bread (gluten free)
- Bread sticks (gluten free)
- Vegetarian sausages cut up and skewered on cocktail sticks
- Carrot, cucumber and celery sticks
- Slices of sweet pepper