Thursday, July 21, 2011

"The Cassie" - Caramelised Onion Mushroom MacnnotCheese

I had the request of both caramelised onions and mushrooms from my friend Cassie as dinner options.  I thought that it would be a great opportunity to branch out, macnnotcheese-wise.

Check it:


Caramelised Onion

650g brown onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Braggs
1 teaspoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 cups vegetable stock

White Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic, minced (about 3 medium cloves)
1/3 cup rice flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 to 3 cups vegetable stock
juice of one lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1/4 cup non dairy milk

Smoky Breadcrumbs

3 to 4 slices of bread, processed into 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil


350g mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil


1 can chickpeas, drained
400g macaroni/pasta elbows


Caramelised Onions

Peel the onions and slice into thin half moons.  Heat the olive oil in a deep sided frying pan over a medium heat.  Saute the onions until they are softened and beginning to colour.  Add the brown sugar and stir through to mix thoroughly.  Pour in the red wine vinegar, mix through and cook off.  Add the Braggs, vegan Worcestershire sauce and 2 cups vegetable stock.  Simmer until the liquid has cooked off and the onions are brown and gooey.  Set to one side.

White Sauce

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat.  Saute the garlic for a minute, and then add the rice flour and nutritional yeast.  Stir to combine and cook the flour and nutritional yeast for a couple of minutes.  Pour in some of the vegetable stock and whisk to form a smooth thick paste.  Pour in further stock and whisk to form a smooth sauce.  Continue adding a little stock at a time and whisking until the sauce is pourable but coats the back of a spoon.  Take off the heat and stir through the lemon juice and non dairy milk.  Set to one side.

Smoky Breadcrumbs

Combine all the ingredients well in a bowl or food processor.  Set to one side.


Cut the mushrooms into thick chunks.

Heat the olive oil in a deep sided frying pan over a medium heat and saute the mushrooms until slightly softened and beginning to colour.  Set to one side.

Putting it all together 

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

Cook the pasta as per the packet instructions.  Drain the chickpeas and pour into a large bowl.  Mash roughly.  Stir through the cooked mushrooms and half the white sauce.

When the pasta is cooked, drain and add to the chickpea/mushroom mixture and pour through another 1/4 of the white sauce. Mix well.

Pour half of the pasta mixture into a baking dish, approximately 25 to 30cm long by about 20cm wide and at least 10cm deep.

Spoon over 1/3 of the caramelised onion and sprinkle over 1/3 of the smoky breadcrumbs.

Pour over the rest of the pasta mixture and smooth down the top.  Pour over the remaining white sauce, pulling away at the sides of the pasta as needed to let the sauce run down through the whole dish.

Carefully top with the remaining caramelised onions and the breadcrumbs, pressing the breadcrumbs down carefully.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling, the edges are browned and breadcrumbs are golden, about 20 minutes.

Let rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Vegan Mac & Cheese at the Gasometer Hotel, Collingwood

I was very excited about going to the Gasometer Hotel, run by the ex-owners of the East Brunswick Club, with a seasonally changing menu and a great eye for managing vegan requirements.

The food for winter is Southern US style comfort food, which of course includes mac and cheese.

I'd heard some raves about the vegetarian mac and cheese so was interested to see what the vegan mac and cheese would be like.

This is the meal that I got - BBQ seitan ribs with sides of greens and vegan mac and cheese.  You can't really see it in the photo, but it was sprinkled with grated vegan cheese (Cheezly Cheddar, I think, though it was possibly the Mozzarella).  There wasn't much sauce - it mostly tasted like the macaroni had been tossed with Nuttelex and Cheezly and then served.  I was disappointed because I think it's really easy to make a good vegan mac and cheese without relying solely on vegan cheese - I also find that the vegan cheese has a chemical and sweet aftertaste that really overpowers the palate.

However, the three flavours - BBQ, lemony greens and sweet fatty mac and cheese - did go really well together when consumed as a single mouthful.

So, anyone gone to the Gasometer? What are your thoughts on their vegan mac and cheese? Leave 'em in the comments!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cauliflower MacnCheez

White creamy sauce wrapped around tender pasta, topped with zingy fresh tomato and smoky crunchy breadcrumbs.

Serves 4 to 6


Cauliflower White Sauce
  • 400g fresh cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 cups water
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons barley miso
  • 3 tablespoons rice flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
Smoky Breadcrumbs
  • 3 slices fresh bread processed into about 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 300g extra firm tofu
  • 1 packet (500g) macaroni or other small pasta
  • 1 medium fresh tomato, sliced thinly

Cauliflower Sauce

Steam the cauliflower until tender.  Whilst the cauliflower is steaming, saute the onion in the olive oil in a medium sized saucepan over a medium heat until the onion is translucent and soft.  Add the tender steamed cauliflower to to the onion and olive oil, and mash.  Pour in 1 cup of water (can use the steaming water for extra cauliflower flavour) and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add another 1/2 cup water and take the saucepan off the heat.

Carefully blend the cauliflower with a immersion blender or food processor until smooth and place back into the saucepan.  Place the saucepan over a low heat and whisk in the lemon juice, non dairy milk, barley miso, rice flour and white pepper.  Simmer, whisking constantly, for a minute to thicken slightly, and then take off the heat.

Smoky Breadcrumbs

Mix the breadcrumbs with the smoked paprika and olive oil.

Putting it all together

Cook the pasta as per the packet's instructions until tender.  Drain.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.

Crumble the extra firm tofu into the bottom of a baking dish, approximately 25 to 30 cm long by about 20cm wide and at least 10cm deep.

Mix in a third of the cauliflower sauce with the crumbled tofu.  Pour in half of the cooked pasta and mix thoroughly.  Pour in another third of the cauliflower sauce and the other half of the cooked pasta and mix thoroughly.  Press down the pasta to make a flat surface and pour on the remaining cauliflower sauce and smooth over the pasta.

Top with the thinly sliced fresh tomato.

Spoon on the smoky breadcrumbs and press them down firmly.

Bake for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the edges are browned and the breadcrumbs are crispy.

Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving.