As a family, we always strive to consume less and to mindfully buy our food. So for us is never only about vegan but also about the sustainable options we can use.
Said that I have a well known soft spot for cheese. And as I remember making cheese in my grandma kitchen, with the smell of the burning wood I admit the whole process has always captured my interest. The wait, the curing. Seeing my grandma cooking always felt really like an act of love. But also the art that humans developed over the centuries to preserve food and create something completely new for raw ingredients always passionated me.
To discover New Roots and the possibility of making vegan cheeses the former way has been a story changing! The food art and the compassion of the awareness, fused together is a dream come true for me and I believe for many people out there that had chosen not to eat or limit the animal products in their lives.
Also, sustainability-wise, it blew my mind is the simple fact that 1 kilo of cashew produces over 1 kilo of cheese, while to make 1 kilo of dairy cheese we need several litres of milk! Anyway if you would like to know more please please please read the brief interview before tackling in the delicious recipe!
I decided to keep the interview short and sweet, and leave you to eat the cheeses and free Alice to go back making more!
- Which one is the book that changed your view or inspired you in a way, that you would or suggest reading the most to the audience?
My all-time favourite book is Sula, by Toni Morrison. To me, it pinpoints a rich range of human emotions, from anger, to fear, to love, to resentment and forgiveness. It depicts relationships (from friendship to family and love) in the rawest manner and with great talent.
- Can you tell us the most crucial event that made you decide to become vegan and/or open "New Roots?
Social justice was always a big part of my life. Early on, I recognised that treating someone differently because of their gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, etc was wrong. So when I came across the vegan message, I realised that nothing gave humans the right to treat other species as resources for food, clothing or entertainment. I believe that justice is opposing the idea that someone else (human or nonhuman) is of lesser value, thus justifying a difference in treatment. To me, veganism is accepting that everyone should be granted the birthright to live a life free of exploitation and oppression.
- I was blown away by discovering that cashews are still more sustainable then milk even in Switzerland where dairy is definitely a 0 km product. Can you tell us more?
One could indeed argue that making cheese using Swiss cow's milk makes more sense ecologically than importing cashews from Asia. But that's forgetting that - all ethical concerns put aside - in order to use cows as resources, they need to be given an enormous amount of food and water for the duration of their life. It's a huge waste in terms of resources, but also in terms of land use. And raising animals for human use has been proved to be responsible for a significant part of global greenhouse emissions, along with tons of excrements produced by these animals every minute of each day. On the other hand, we import enough cashews for a year from Vietnam at once, so that our carbon footprint is reduced as much as possible. The organic cashews we use grow wildly, they require no extra water or care. Once we make milk out of these nuts, there is no waste at all. It's a very effective system.
Baking times 20+15+15 min
Work time 15-20 min
For this recipe, you need a rectangular tart tray of 30 cm length or equal in proportions round tin. A blender, baking tray and 2 mixing bowls.
250 gr unbleached white flour for pastry
50 gr buckwheat flour
2 tsp unrefined salt
1/2 tsp coconut sugar
1 Tbsp psyllium husk powder (not mandatory but helps to obtain a flaky consistency)
1 Tbsp black sesame seeds
3 Tbsp flax seeds powder (meal)
3 Tbsp vegan butter* or coconut oil softened but not liquid
100 ml ice cold water
More vegan butter or oil to grease the quiche tin.
2 New Roots Free The Goat Ch**ze nature or thyme and lavender
1 New Root Free The Cow Herbs the Provence
180 gr sweet potatoes ( in this case I used purple potatoes)
4-6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
1/2 to 1 tsp of salt
1 large courgette sliced in ribbons with a peeler
100 gr asparagus, the soft part only.
a fresh salad of choice
pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease well the oven tin.
Wash the vegetables. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into very small chunks. Rub with the with salt and 2-3 Tbsp olive oil and bake for 20 min.
While the potatoes cook.
Add all the crust dry ingredient to a mixing bowl, give it a stir and add the vegan butter/coconut oil. Work with a fork until the vegan butter is incorporated flour has a coarse consistency.
Then add little by little the ice-cold water. Keep working with the fork or with the tips of your finger, RUBBING not kneading. Add enough water until you have soft crumbles that will be then pressed into a crust.
Oil well the tart tray and start pressing your crumbles together into a 5 mm thick crust.
Cook on the lower rack at 180° C, for 10- 15minor until the edges are golden brown.
While your crust cooks.
Blend the sweet potatoes, add the New Root cheeses in crumbles and mix thoroughly. Season more salt if needed and spread it flat into the crust. With a peeler make the courgette in ribbons and distribute over the crust ( it may feel a lot of courgettes but they will significantly shrink). Clean the asparagus from the hard ends and distribute as well over the length of the tart. Oil the top of the quiche and the vegetables with 2-3 Tbsp of oil. Sprinkle some salt flakes on top too.
Cook for 10 min at 180°C and grill for 3-5 min at the max temperature. Serve warm or tepid with a fresh salad of choice.
*vegan butter is different from margarine as it is not chemically modified oil, the process of making the butter is solenly mecanical with addition of strches.