One of the hardest things to come to terms with was my intolerance to dairy…….milk, cheese, yoghurt. I was always taught from a young age that milk and dairy were needed for growing strong and healthy bones and teeth. It was drummed into us at school, at the dentist and even at the doctors. We had the milkman who in the early 70’s would come around in the early hours of the morning with his horse and cart. Our milk in it’s glass bottles with silver foil lids would sit on the edge of the porch ready for when we got up. And as kids we needed no excuse to indulge in our love of dairy. It wasn’t trendy in our day, but we loved feta and halloumi cheese and my parents would buy a large bucket of feta cheese. It was a dream come true. Mum would cook pasta with feta cheese and butter tossed through it, peppers stuffed with feta cheese and grilled and sometimes she would coat it in flour and fry it in the pan till it was crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. We would come home from school and drink glassfuls of milk with milo. Mum would buy us yoghurt or other dairy snacks like yogo.
Yet as time went on, the effects started to wreak havoc on my body. The options soy, rice or oat. Are they any better? Well no, not with me and probably not with a lot of other people. The stomach bloating, the skin flare up’s, the itching and pain and not to mention the running to the toilet. So what does one have? Almond milk.” Almond milk” you say, it tastes horrible, don’t know how you drink that stuff. Well not just any almond milk and definately not that long life stuff they label as almond milk. I’m talking about real almond milk, the stuff you make at home. This has been my savior. I’ve alternated it with coconut milk or hemp milk but I always keep going back to Almond milk. So almond milk, I love you. I love your simple, creamy taste, the way my tummy feels after I have a glassful.
But I don’t have time, I work all day you say. Let me tell you once your nuts have been soaked overnight, it takes about 5 minutes and I promise you, you won’t want to go back to that horrible stuff they label as almond milk in the stores. What have you got to lose? Try it and let me know what you think. I know you will love it. And once you are confident you can experiment with other nuts and seeds. But really, look how simple the ingredient list is – almonds, water and a date. I like to add a date for a little natural sweetness. And what’s better there are no oils, thickeners or other additives added to your milk it’s simply delicious and a great substitute to dairy. Use it in drinks,cakes, custards, for breakfast, its great with my granola, or most other ways you would use milk. Here’s the recipe I use, I’ve tried other versions but I like this one the best.
Cold water to soak nuts
1 Cup raw almonds
1 Medjool Date, pitted
4 cups filtered water
Put almonds Into a bowl or container. Cover nuts with cold water. Leave nuts to soak 12 hours or overnight.
Rinse and drain nuts well, discarding the soaking water from the almonds.
Put the almonds and date into a food processor and process for 10 to 15 seconds to break up the nuts.
Add two cups water and process until smooth . Add remaining two cups and process for 10 to 15 seconds.
Using a nut milk bag or a large piece of muslin, put inside a large jug folding top of bag over the jug.
Pour the pureed almond mixture into the nut milk bag. Twist the top of the bag and gently squeeze the pulp till no more liquid comes out.
Pour milk into glass bottles or containers and store in refrigerator. Milk will generally keep for 3 to 4 days. If milk separates separates then give it a shake to mix it back up.
Do not throw out the almond pulp. It can be dehydrated or frozen till needed. It will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
Makes 1 litre milk