A few months ago, I shared some ramblings about my flexitarian attitude towards eating meat and fish.
Taking it one step further, I have also considered what it would mean for me if I were vegan.
We all know that dairy products are evil for your health, with symptoms ranging from allergic reactions to cancer. Not to mention the global environmental and economic consequences of the dairy industry, such as the European Unions Common Agricultural Policy that led to butter mountains and milk lakes. And let’s not forget animal rights either.
Fortunately, I never liked milk, butter and cream, so those products are off my list anyway. And instead of eating my morning cereals with yoghurt, which I do like, I now mix them with fresh fruits, chopped or juiced. Yummy and healthy. No problems there either.
But then there is cheese…
Old Dutch cheese, dripping French cheese, smelly Italian cheese, spicy blue cheese… I’m drooling all over my keyboard just visualising them.
So no, I don’t think I’ll ever give up cheese. I can be deprived of chocolate, easily. But not cheese. Who needs dessert when there is a cheese platter on the menu?
Unfortunately, I currently live in a country where good cheeses are not readily available and when they are, they are overpriced. Eating good cheese is therefore a rare luxury, which happens only when visitors from abroad bring us a piece of priceless dairy gold.
In fact, a couple of weeks ago, we had such an occasion when a good kilo of real parmesan cheese arrived from Italy. A few days later, I was reminded that I will indeed probably never become a full-fledged vegan.
I came home around lunch time and as I opened the front door, a delicious smell came towards me and made my mouth water instantly.
It was cheesy love drifting in the air. It was a savoury kiss, one of those that you want to taste on your lips, in your mouth, on your tongue, again and again and again. It was my husband’s latest culinary experiment. Fresh out of the oven. Orgasmic.
Frollini al Parmigiano
(How come it always sounds so much better in Italian?)
Without further ado, here’s the recipe.
Ingredients for approximately 50 frollini (but you will want to make double, I guarantee it):
- 125 grams of flour
- 80 grams of salted butter, cut in small cubes
- 100 grams of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 pinck of ground black pepper
- 1 egg + any spice of your choice to decorate: rosemary, flavoured salt, dried chilli peppers, extra grated cheese, etc…
In a bowl, mix the flour and the grated cheese. Add the butter, salt and pepper. Get your fingers dirty and knead the dough until all the ingredients are well mixed and you can roll it into a smooth ball. Add some extra butter if the dough is too dry.
To make the biscuits, you can roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it’s about 1 cm thick and cut out any shapes you like (you can use cookie shape cutters). You can also pinch off a small piece of the dough, roll it into a ball and then flatten it with the palm of your hand.
Cover an oven tray with baking paper and put all the biscuits on the tray. Using a pastry brush, gently spread some egg on top of each frollini.
Tip: if you like the cookies shiny, use only the egg white. If you prefer them dark gold, use only the yoke or the whole beaten egg.
Decorate the biscuits by sprinkling your spice of choice on top.
Bake the cookies for 10 minutes in a oven pre-heated at 180 degrees Celsius (350 degrees Fahrenheit).
Take the tray out of the oven, remove the whole piece of baking paper with the biscuits from the tray and place it on a grill for the frollini to cool down.
Smell the perfume. Eat a cookie. Lick your fingers. Ignore the little devil on your shoulder whispering “vegan.” Repeat. And repeat. And repeat…
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Author’s own.