Plant-based tasty cheeses

The Revive Cafe Cookbook 7, by Jeremy Dixon, Revive Concepts, RRP $30
The Revive Cafe Cookbook 7, by Jeremy Dixon, Revive Concepts, RRP $30
Auckland's Revive Cafes have recently moved to an entirely plant-based menu, so naturally Jeremy Dixon's latest cookbook reflects the move.

While the cafes have always been mostly plant-based (from before the term ''plant-based'' became part of popular vocabulary) there were a couple of ingredients and dishes that were not.

Part of that was cheese - ''the hardest part about giving up dairy'', says Dixon.

''Cheese tastes great and adds awesome flavour and texture.''

So his latest cookbook - The Revive Cafe Cookbook 7 - features a section of recipes for plant-based cheeses.

While there are commercially available cheeses in supermarkets, they are often ''insanely expensive'' and contain processed starches to hold them together, he says.

''We have spent many months trialling and researching different cheese recipes, adjusting and simplifying, adding flavours.''

He has come up with recipes for a cashew ''cheddar'' and ''gouda'', a ''haloumi'', ''mozarella'' balls, a ''feta'' from tofu, ''ricotta'', ''cream cheese'' and even a grateable cheese

While it is impossible to match dairy-based cheese exactly, Dixon reckons his recipes taste great and have realistic texture.

Dixon, who also created Frooze Balls and their nut butter amd Yumba siblings, includes notes on the best ingredients to use making the cheeses - agar agar powder, tapioca starch, cashews and almonds, nutritional yeast flakes and coconut oil.

The book also includes Revive's trademark salads, hotpots, main meals, sides and sweet treats, including its very popular pistachio and rose cacao slice, raw mocha slice and tiramisu.

Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied
Mozzarella balls with lemon and garlic

This is a lovely mozzarella cheese that is great in salads and on pizzas!

Makes 12-15

1 cup cashew nuts
1 cup boiling water (to soak)
1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)
3 Tbsp tapioca starch (flour)
1 Tbsp agar agar powder
¼ tsp citric acid
1 tsp salt
6 cups cold water
3 cups ice cubes

Marinade (optional)
1 Tbsp lemon zest
2 cloves garlic crushed or finely chopped
½ cup olive oil

1. Place cashew nuts into a bowl with the boiling water and leave for 10 minutes to soften. Drain.

2. Place soaked cashew nuts and all ingredients (except the ice cold water and ice cubes), into a blender and blend until smooth.

3. Pour blended mixture into a pot and slowly heat, stirring constantly until it bubbles. Keep stirring until mixture clumps together.

4. Cook for a further 2 minutes, while stirring, to ensure agar agar powder is activated. You should end up with a sticky bread dough-like texture.

5. Put the cold water and ice cubes into a bowl.

6. Scoop out balls (around 2 tablespoons in size) from the pot with a spoon and use another spoon to scrape balls off into the iced water.

7. Leave the balls to sit in the iced water for 10 minutes to firm up.

Tip: You can use immediately or marinate in a jar with the marinade ingredients. Leave in the refrigerator overnight.

Nacho cheese sauce

This is a lovely silky smooth and cheesy nacho sauce that you will not believe is made from potatoes and carrots.

Makes 4

2 cups diced potatoes (around 2 medium potatoes)
2 cups diced carrots (around 2 medium carrots)
½ cup onion finely diced (around ½ onion)
2 cloves garlic crushed or finely chopped
1½ cups cooking water from the vegetables
400g can butter (lima) beans drained (around 1½ cups)
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 Tbsp oil
¼ cup tapioca starch (flour)
2 Tbsp seeded (wholegrain) mustard
1 Tbsp lemon juice (around ½ lemon)
1½ tsp salt

1. Put the potatoes, carrots, onion and garlic into a pot and cover with boiling water. Cook for 15 minutes or until soft.

2. Drain and save the water.

3. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.

4. Pour mixture into a pot or pan and heat gently, stirring for 5 minutes or until it thickens. You may need to add a little more water to achieve a pourable yet thick consistency.

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