Just to clarify, I’m not actually vegan. I’ve been veggie for around seventeen years and thought seriously a few times about going full Moby.
My partner did Veganuary earlier this year, decided to stick with it and I felt now was a good time to incorporate more and more vegan food into my diet.
I love it. There’s so much more available now and we’ve come a long way from the dark days of beanfeast and sosmix, which was the culinary equivalent of a Nickelback album and could turn an ordinary digestive system into a weapons grade incendiary device.
Vegan food nowadays is generally inventive and fresh and we could all do with more of it.
There’s just been one thing missing from it for me. Halloumi.
I love halloumi more than anything. I make sex noises when I eat it. Eating it is more satisfying than watching the gif of Tommy Robinson tripping up backwards over a traffic bollard.
So when I discovered Violife had brought out a ‘Mediterranean Style’ vegan cheese, I was simultaneously excited and suspicious. Could this really work? My experiences of vegan cheese have been mixed to say the least.
I got some immediately and decided to make it on The Vegan’s birthday. I’d read other people’s experiences of cooking it first. General consensus was that it tends to crisp up on outside and goes a bit gooey in middle. Okay, I can deal with that. Not entirely dissimilar to how deep fried halloumi sounds. This could work.
I decided to pan fry mine. I don’t know if this is where I went horribly wrong. A lot of others seemed to barbecue or grill theirs. What I do know is that the minute it started to cook, despite plenty of oil, it clung to the bottom of my pan like a jealous lover.
No amount of coaxing, cooling or brute force was gonna make this fucker come off. The bit that is supposed to go crispy outside stuck like napalm while the rest came off looking like mayonnaise that had been left out overnight.
But how did it taste? I can deal with it not being pretty, as long as it delighted my tastebuds. Sadly no. If you are after the taste of halloumi, this isn’t it. It’s salty, sure, but is more like cheap cheddar than anything else.
Vegan halloumi destroyed my pan, my hopes and tasted like broken dreams. The outer layer lies in a landfill somewhere, still with the pan it took down with it and destined to be discovered by future archaeologists who will write entire theses about millennial vegan cheese.
I haven’t entirely given up hope though, and today’s musical pairing is ‘Slaughterhouse Rock’ by Dirt, to remind me of why I continue to try to find different ways of eating.