Our August calendar recipe for goat's cheese fritters perplexingly did not include ingredient quantities. Lucky for me, a brief google search revealed that Robyn had sourced the recipe from Taste.com.au. With that, it was easy to draw up a shopping list and schedule them for dinner. There was a lot more mixture than the recipe hinted at (I made far more than just '12 walnut-sized balls' from the dough) but otherwise it came together without too much fuss - mash together the ingredients until smooth, coat them (messily) in breadcrumbs, and give them some time in the fridge to firm up before frying. The frying got a little ugly, what with the cheese wanting to melt'n'all, but most of my fritters remained intact. They were quite a treat with a little tomato chutney and a lot of green salad.
For the first week or so of this recipe decorating our wall, it seemed clear that I could deglutenise it without too much effort (some gluten-free flour and rice crumbs would do it)... but veganising a recipe consisting primarily of cheese and egg? This seemed like lunacy. Then, on that tenth day of August, an idea struck me that seemed as brilliant as it did bloomin' obvious.
Tofu, with the right seasoning, might do a perfectly good job of standing in for all the cheese and egg. I thought back to Isa's fantastic vegan omelettes and decided that my gluten-free flour substitute should be besan (chickpea flour). A little 'chicken' stock powder and savoury yeast flakes and I thought I might just be able to concoct a decent little fritter.
We bought silken tofu for the task and this proved to be a little too watery; I ended up with a pancake-like batter that could not be crumbed. But it fried up quite easily anyway, and I was thrilled to present Michael with hot golden fritters that looked astoundingly like fried cheese.
And the taste? They had the velvety texture of ricotta and a subtle salty savouryness that fits the cheese niche, even if it doesn't taste exactly like cheese. They were some fine fritters, and I was inordinately proud of them.
Goat's cheese fritters
(based on a recipe from Taste.com.au)
200g goat's cheese
1 1/2 tablespoons plain flour
2 teaspoons thyme leaves, chopped
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
sunflower oil, to shallow fry
In a bowl, use a fork to mash together the ricotta, goat's cheese, flour and thyme. Add in the egg and stir the mixture until it's all smooth. Gently roll the cheese mixture into walnut-sized balls and coat them in breadcrumbs, flattening the balls slightly with your hand. Refrigerate the cheese balls for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
Heat the oil in a fry pan and shallow-fry the cheese fritters until they are crisp and golden on both sides. Allow them to drain on absorbent paper before serving.
Cheesy tofu fritters
300g silken firm tofu
1/2 cup besan (chickpea flour)
2 tablespoons savoury yeast flakes
2 teaspoons 'chicken' stock powder
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
pinch of nutmeg
sunflower oil, for shallow frying
Thoroughly mix together all of the ingredients, except for the oil, in a bowl. Taste the batter and adjust the flavourings to your preference.
Heat the oil in a fry pan and drop generous tablespoons of the batter into the oil. Shallow-fry the fritters until they are crisp and golden on both sides. Allow them to drain on absorbent paper before serving.