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Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Vegan caviar and caramel

Another wondrous post dedicated to all the weird shit that lives at the back of your cupboard. Brace yourselves - oddments incoming!

As a vegan, do you tend to pick up weird and wonderful things on your travels that are so rare and magical you squirrel them away, waiting for the perfect recipe to use them in?

A lovely friend in Australia sent me a jar of this - vegan salted caramel sauce. I'd had this with me for months, waiting for the right moment to break the seal and dive into a pool of what I hoped would be caramel loveliness.

Alas, I didn't find the perfect opportunity, and the sell-by date crept up on me. So, with days to go til its end of life, I decided to get stuck in. The first thing I made was a dish I'd been wanting for ages - an ice cream sundae. I cracked open some vanilla Swedish Glace, added some bananas, some vegan squirty cream, and even the proverbial (and in this case literal) cherry on top.

I'd love to show you a picture, but it looked like a car crash of a dessert. Nonetheless, it was such a tasty car crash it didn't last long enough to photograph. It was just me and a spoon, unable to stop shovelling sweet, sweet glory down my cake hole.

For a second go at using up the caramel sauce, I revisited an old favourite - millionaire shortbread. Who doesn't like millionaire shortbread? If it's you, I just don't want to know you. I thought better of you than that.

Normally if I want a millionaire shortbread, I just crack open a box of Lazy Day's finest, but with the salt caramel sauce at hand, I decided to make my own.


I just used this old shortbread recipe with the fat dialled down and the result pressed into a tart pan and baked til crisp. While it was still warm, I poured on the caramel sauce, left it for a bit, then topped it with vegan dark chocolate melted in a bain marie (or double boiler to you New World folks).

Looks OK, huh? It tasted phenomenal - sweet and salt in a beautiful crispy union.



The other jar of wow-they-make-that-vegan-too? that I put to work recently was jar of plant-based caviar. The Caviart caviar is (I think) based on seaweed and agar, and has been in my cupboard for a million years.

Alas, dear readers, the caviar was not as successful as the caramel. I tried it a few times, including with some sour cream on a bagel, and was a bit disappointed. The taste was sooooooo strong, it was like your favourite mushroom's evil twin. It's almost delicious, but goes right past fun and ends up in nasty.

So, while I was impressed that you get all sorts of unexpected stuff in vegan form, even caviar, I won't be buying it again.

As for the salted caramel sauce, I'll be buying that by the boat-load.

10 comments:

  1. That caramel sounds fantastic! I am always tempted by any kind of vegan caramel, because it's not easy to come by. The caviar, though, I could easily skip. Those fishy, seaweed flavors make my stomach flip-flop.

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  2. Wow that caviar looks...like caviar. Crazy! Your shortbread looks beautiful! I'm going to try to eat/use special things that I buy when traveling sooner. I end up with jars of this and that, amazing things, but I never open them. What am I saving them for! Life is short!

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  3. Millionaire shortbread? I don't know what that is, but I do know what weird jars in the cupboard are. I have to tell you that I'd trade my weird jars for your caramel sauce any day, but the caviar I'll leave at your house.

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  4. Yeah, I'll pass on the vegan caviar. But holy shortbread and caramel sauce! Sign me up!

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  5. The caviar sounds crazy! I'd probably like to try it despite all. The sour cream on a bagel is probably a good way to go, but as I recall you only need a little. This is the first I've heard of millionaire shortbread but that sounds like a safer and more delicious bet.

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  6. I've had both of these products and love each one! They're definitely rare treats considering the expense... But I guess you do need to have a taste of fishy/salty flavors to fully appreciate the caviart. That happens to suit my palate just fine, so if you should ever find yourself with a surplus, you know where to send it. ;)

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  7. I think I would prefer the caramel to the caviar too - never eaten real caviar so don't have any desire for it (I had thought you would be talking about an eggplant dip that I sometimes hear called vegetarian caviar but yours sounds too stinky). However I never met a caramel I didn't love - though I too will squirrel away food for that perfect moment and then scramble to use it up - the millionaire's shortbread is a brilliant idea for it

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  8. Is the caviar the stuff from Ikea? I got some in a vegan snack swap parcel and quite liked it. That sauce sounds excellent. I've only ever made Millionaires once and it was great but pretty time consuming. Being able to get the caramel in a jar would well speed it up! Very appealing.

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  9. "Another wondrous post dedicated to all the weird shit that lives at the back of your cupboard." TOO funny. I can totally relate. I'm constantly battling "use by" dates. The Caramel looks fab. We used to have a British shop here that sold Millionaire's Shortbread many years ago. I had forgotten about it. As for the caviar, it sounds like umami-a-rama!

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  10. I am so glad that the caramel & caviar did not go together at any point! Without having tried either, I wholeheartedly agree with your findings.

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