Friday, March 05, 2010

February 26, 2010: Gluten free picnic - Colby 'cheese' and sausages

When Kristy first scheduled this picnic potluck, the broad theme of the night was going to be 'cheese'. Between the idea and the event, however, she was diagnosed as coeliac, so the potluck theme broadened out to include anything and everything gluten-free. It was a fantastic picnic, with everything from potato cakes to icecream - you can see all the pictures here. I decided to try to cover both bases (and to produce something ridiculously camp) and made gluten-free sausage and cheese bites. These turned out pretty well - the sausages tasting not too different to the gluteny ones I've raved about before, while the cheese was a passable approximation of the real thing. The potluckers loved the stylish presentation, but Carla had it right when she suggested serving them stuck into an orange next time. I was kicking myself.

The cheese recipe was lifted straight from Tahn, and relies on cashews and agar for its textural weirdness. It's pretty simple to make and the result is convincing enough in texture if not quite taste - I think I can work on the flavour though, maybe upping the nooch or playing around with some spices. Still, offset by the spicy sausages, the little cheese cubes worked well.

The sausage recipe came from Cloth and Fodder, and uses basically the same approach as our previous sausages, but with TVP and chickpea flour taking the place of beans and gluten flour. It's another really simple recipe - just combine all the ingredients, wrap them up into little cylinders and steam them and you're done. And they're excellent - a tasty combination of herbs and spices, a nice hit from the chilli and an appropriately sausagey texture.

We served our little skewers with Chinese-style bbq sauce, which we discovered at the last minute was another gluten-free failure. Turns out Chinese five spice has some sort of wheat derived corn starch in it. Bizarre.

Colby Cheese (recipe from Vegan Family vs Omni World)

1.5 cups water
1.5 tablespoons agar powder
1/2 roasted red capsicum
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons tahini
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder

Soak the agar in the water for at least fifteen minutes and then bring the mix to the boil, simmering for about 10 minutes - until the agar is dissolved completely (you need to keep stirring).

Once the mix has cooled a little (not too much - it'll set!), pour it into a food processor and add the remaining ingredients. Whizz for a few minutes until everything is smooth. Pour into a lightly oiled tupperware container and cool, before covering and refrigerating to set.

Gluten-free sausages (recipe via Cloth an Fodder)

200 grams TVP (check to make sure it's gluten free!)
1.5 cups chickpea flour
1/4 cup Massel 'beef' stock
1 onion, sliced finely
2 tablespoons fennel seeds
2 teaspoons ground pepper
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (adjust to taste - ours seem to be crazy hot, so 1 tsp was enough)
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
8 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tamari

Prepare the TVP as directed (I just soaked mine in hot water for five-ten minutes), making sure any excess water is drained off.

Combine the TVP with all the other ingredients in a large bowl, adding more chickpea flour to dry out the mixture if necessary.

Lay out squares of aluminium foil and scoop little sausage-sized logs of the mixture onto the base of each square, before rolling the foil up and twisting the ends. Steam these little foil cylinders for about half an hour each and you've got yourself some sausages. You can fry or bbq the end result, but it's not crucial, we just used them as they came out of their little parcels for our toothpick snacks.

For all the potluck action, see Steph and Vicki (again)


  1. dooooooooooooooods these totally TOTALLY rocked my world :D :D

  2. These were amazing - I was amazed you could make gluten free veg sausages and the cheese was fantastic so it is on my list of things to try - and of course full marks for the retro cocktail sticks

  3. PS that is bizarre that the date on this post is 5 april - you are messing with my mine!

  4. The success here is all Michael's - though I will take credit for supplying the cocktail sticks. ;-)

  5. They both look great - where do you buy your agar-agar and nutritional yeast from? I'd like to try the cheese recipe but don't know where to buy these ingredients!

  6. Hi Anna! We usually buy agar powder from Asian supermarkets and Lotus brand nutritional yeast from health food shops. Good luck on your search!