Recipes come and go. Some stay with you for a while and are then forgotten. Others come back at different times or sometimes new variations of the same recipe, but these trusty recipes are always with you year after year.
My latest conquest is almond milk: a faithful friend at any time of year.
It was a challenge to get the right balance of water, sweetness and texture. I know I’m a bit of a perfectionist. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes not. But when I first thought of what recipes I would put on the blog, I knew this would be one of them. Making it, has become a routine, but I’ve never tired of doing it. I usually make it a couple of times a week, sometimes just once because I increase the ingredients by half and then freeze two small bottles that I can take out any time I need to. I appreciate that if I had a bigger family where each person guzzled half a litre a day I wouldn’t make it……or perhaps I would just save it for a treat at the weekends.
We have it for breakfast with granola, porridge or for soaking muesli and in a few pastry recipes. In winter it perks up your afternoons when you use it to make a rooibos chai and in summer with a touch of lemon peel you have amazing orgeat milk.
And yes it’s perfect for dunking biscuits in……sometimes when I have a bit of a sweet tooth a few nibbles sorts me out.
As always, and in line with my philosophy, it’s something that I make myself and I know exactly what’s in it. Clearly not everything can be homemade. It’s more about choosing what you want to make because you enjoy it or because it’s really difficult to find a quality product on the market. If I had to give up making almond milk because I didn’t have the time, I wouldn’t go and buy cartons of dairy free alternatives, which for me are processed products often containing sugar and really seem unnatural. Instead I would buy organic, fresh, goats milk. My motto would always be to look for a product that is as close to its natural state as possible and as unprocessed as possible. Also, everything in moderation. Just because non-dairy milk is apparently better for you than cow’s milk, you don’t need to drink a litre of it everyday, and this is as true for children as it is for adults. In other words, just as people were brainwashed before to believe that you had to drink cow’s milk to have strong bones, we don’t now have to go the other way and believe that non lactose alternatives in carton are super healthy and spend a lot of money every week on them. And always read the label!
Going back to the recipe, I’m offering you here two versions: the original and another one I jokingly call the ‘calcium version’ because it contains sesame. As you know, whilst almonds already contain lots of calcium, sesame is like a kind of calcium nuclear bomb and both contain a good amount of phosphorus, magnesium and potassium.
You will need a blender and a nut milk bag (which you can buy in health food shops or on amazon) or a fine cloth. The reason we leave the almonds to soak is two fold: firstly the almonds expand with the water and get softer which makes blending easier and secondly they become more easy to digest.
I recommend that if you use dates, choose the medjool type which although more expensive, are much softer and sweeter. At least choose dates that are fresh and not pasteurised. They were used in ancient times to cure sore throats and chests and, as I like to tell my son, they are ‘real sweets’. If you have a sweet tooth, eat one or two and you will see what a sweet hit you get and maybe you won’t need to go and eat half a jar of nutella……
I really recommend trying this recipe even just once and seeing the difference between carton versions. Enjoy it like it’s liquid gold!
PS. I have to admit that last summer this recipe had a little competition from hazelnut, cacao and vanilla milk which tastes similar but better than chocolate milk and with only four simple ingredients……aahhhh this kind of thing really fills me with satisfaction. I promise to put up the recipe soon!
1 cup of almonds
4 dates (or honey to your taste)
4 cups of water (1 litre)
½ tsp. of cinnamon
1/8 de tsp. of salt
Sesame and Almond Version
1 cup of almonds
4 tbs (40 gr) of sesame
4 cups of water
a pinch of salt
1 tsp. of lemon peel
3 tbs of honey
¼ tsp. of toasted sesame oil
- Leave the almonds to soak in water over night. They should be well covered. I recommend putting a pinch of salt in the water to help activate the enzymes that neutralise the other enzymes (present in all seeds) that interfere with the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
- In the morning sieve and rinse the almonds and put them in the blender with 3 cups of water. Blend for 1 minute. Sieve with the bag or fabric over a bowl. Now imagine you had to milk a cow until you see that you only have the pulp left.
- Whilst you are doing this blend the dates, salt, cinnamon and last cup of water for 1 minute.
- Mix in the liquid from the bowl, blend it just a moment so it mixes together, pour it into a glass bottle and put it in the fridge. And voila! You can also do it without dates or you can put in a different flavour such as almond, ginger, lemon peel or orange. When it settles it will separate. You just need to give it a shake before you use it.
- The pulp you have left can be used in pastry (biscuits), hummous or you can dry it out in the oven at 50 degrees, blend it and use it as flour. I admit though that I haven’t yet found any good recipes to use it in. Alternatively you could give the pulp to someone who has chickens….
- Almond and Sesame Milk Version
- 1. Follow the above recipe, soaking the almonds with the sesame and a pinch of salt.
- 2. Blend with the water.
- 3. Sieve it. Put the milk back in the blender and blend it again with the peel, honey, oil and salt.
- 4. Enjoy!