I was talking with my lovely wife the other day about all the foods we miss eating being vegan. Before I became vegan I was vegetarian for almost 10 years and was a massive cheese gobbler; any cheese, anytime, anywhere. I could destroy a Brie wheel or a wedge of Dolcelatte in moments whilst simultaneously inhaling a mighty chunk of mature vintage farmhouse cheddar, then immediately wonder where my next cheese fix would be coming from. But with great lactic pleasures come great lactic problems; not only does too much cheese give me a nice round belly of plumpness, it also gives me rather nasty eczema and the worst asthma attacks I have ever experienced. In fact the last cheese-related asthma incident I had lasted for 4 days; not a pleasant experience for anyone I can assure you. So for that reason, (amongst others,) I decided to give up cheese and dairy and see how I fared. Within a few days, my eczema started to clear up, my lungs felt fantastic and I lost weight (hooray!) You might think I would have been OK if I just reduced the amount of cheese I ate but to me, it was like asking a drug addict to cut down on the Crack a bit – not really considered the easiest thing in the world in to do. So it was cold turkey for me on the cheese and dairy front and do you know what?– it was easier than I thought. I thought I was going to have to reconstruct the scene from Trainspotting and lock myself in a room with various buckets until the cheese sweats and hallucinations passed from my system but to my surprise I was OK. I didn’t miss cheese as much as I thought I would and I still don’t, probably because I feel so much better without it. However, there is one thing my wife and I still miss terribly and were totally unprepared for when we took upon the diet on the Vegan:
Eggs – the versatile and tasty foodstuff. You can scramble, poach, fry, coddle, omelette, make sauces, bind other food with them, whack them in cakes, have them with toast, have them on their own, eat them raw; hell, have them any damn way you want, they’re so versatile! Sorry, got a bit carried away there… Right now where was I…? Oh yeah, eggs.
Seriously, even though I miss them I get by without them quite easily and food tastes just as great without them. My full English Breakfast is still delicious, my homemade burgers and falafels don’t need binding with them and my cakes taste great without a sniff of them in sight.
Now I’m not going to tell you there are great vegan versions of an omelette or give you a recipe for vegan fried eggs because that would be ridiculous but for recipes that include eggs as one of their components such as a chocolate mousse, there is usually a replacement. (I’ll give you a great chocolate mousse recipe very soon – it gorgeous!)
The recipe I’m giving you today is really simple and really delicious and is one of my favourite things of all time: Mayonnaise. Now I know one of the main components of Mayonnaise is egg yolks but it is possible to make a vegan version which is just as creamy and delicious. If you look on the ‘Free From’ shelves of almost any supermarket, you will probably find an egg-free mayonnaise product sitting there. There are in fact many different brands of egg-free mayo on the market but there are only a few that I like and even those ones aren’t a patch on a homemade version.
One of my favourite types of mayonnaise is Aioli; a garlic, lemon and sea salt mayo found in French Provencal Occitan and Spanish & Catalonian cuisine; all with their own regional variations. I add Rosemary to mine and even Lavender in the Summer and serve it with just about anything I can get away with. It’s perfect with lightly grilled vegetables, in a coleslaw or remoulade and of course it tastes absolutely wonderful with crispy golden brown hand cut rustic wedges or chips!
All you need is a blender, hand blender or food processor and you’re away. I hope you enjoy this recipe and realise that it’s not just egg-eaters who can enjoy a beautiful mayonnaise. (PS, feed it to non-vegans and see if they can tell the difference – I bet you they can’t!)
Aioli with Rosemary
You will need:
Preparation time: 10 minutes
150ml Unsweetened soya milk
250ml Olive oil
100ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 ½ Lemons (squeezed)
3 Cloves garlic (peeled & sliced)
1 Big handful rosemary (chopped)
½ tsp Salt
- Place the soya milk and lemon juice into the food processor and blitz together. The soya milk will have thickened.
- Turn on the processor and gradually drizzle in the Olive Oil. Make sure you do this slowly so the soya milk absorbs the oil completely
- Add the chopped rosemary and slowly drizzle in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Taste and serve.
- This Aioli will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for at least a week.
Don’t be scared, it’s only food!
The Caper Tree
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