There are many reasons why almond milk is so popular right now:
it’s delicious and healthy (lots of vitamins and nutrients)
lasts much longer in the fridge than cow’s milk (no more dashing out to the shop for more supplies as you pour your coffee)
apparently it’s easier to digest
makes me feel like I’m making some sort of concession to New Year’s health resolutions..
Most importantly though, because it always comes back to this, it’s fantastic to make things with. You can make it yourself, it really isn’t difficult, or choose from a number of brands which are now jostling for competing space on the shelves. I am always careful to look at the ingredients list though as some contain added sugar and preservatives which don’t improve the taste. See below for almond milk brands and how to make your own almond milk.
Here are my three favourite ways to use it:
Breakfast smoothie with almond milk, dates and yoghurt
The dates provide the sweetness and the yoghurt gives the drink some body. Sometimes I add soaked porridge oats too to give me slow-release energy throughout the day. The pinch of salt brings out masses of flavour from the almonds and dates and balances the sweetness well.
3-4 large medjool dates, stones removed
200ml almond milk
1 heaped tbsp yoghurt (I use sheep’s yoghurt, just to be really Cow free..)
A large pinch of Himalayan pink salt (or any good quality sea salt)
Put all the ingredients into a liquidiser or hand blender and whizz until foamy and smooth.
Tea time hot almond milk Chai
This is what I drink if I have a mid-afternoon energy slump. I bought a wonderful spice mix from the market in Morocco (sweet spices like cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamon and coriander seeds). I add this to warmed almond milk with a spoonful of honey. It’s sweet and soothing and rich and fills me up until dinner time.
Heat 200ml of almond milk gently in a saucepan. Add a tablespoon of ground spices and a tablespoon of honey. When the milk is just below boiling point and the spices have infused, remove from the heat and strain into a mug.
Slices of (stale) baguette, soaked in almond milk and egg and sweetened with honey, cinnamon and cloves. If I have time (and leftover baguette), I make this in the morning to have with a coffee. (Which obviously I put almond milk in too, having now entirely neglected keeping my fridge stocked with fresh cow’s milk!).
200ml almond milk
1½ tbsp honey
Pinch ground cinnamon
2 eggs, whisked
1 baguette – even better if it’s slightly stale (for about 12 slices)
Sugar, to sprinkle
Put the milk in a pan with the honey, clove and cinnamon and bring to a simmer.
Cut the bread into slices on the diagonal.
Lay the slices into a flat dish so they form one layer and pour over the milk, turning them over a couple of times so they can soak on both sides.
As soon as the bread slices have absorbed the milk and the crusts feel soft (this can take between 30 seconds and 2 minutes depending on how stale they are),.
Pour the whisked egg over the bread and turn once to coat on both sides.
Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the soaked slices until brown on both sides.
Remove from the pan and sprinkle with sugar to serve.
For ready made almond milk, here are two of my favourite brands:
OR, to make your own almond milk: just cover 500g of whole almonds with water and soak overnight in the fridge. The following day, drain and rinse, then put in a food processor and blitz until they are finely chopped. Then add two cupfuls of filtered water and continue to blitz. Remove the almond pulp to a sieve lined with muslin (or a chinois) and strain. The first few drops will be rich and creamy, like the top of fresh full-fat cow’s milk. Press the pulp to remove all the liquid and taste your almond milk. If you would like it to go further and be thinner, return the pulp to the food processor and add more water to repeat the process.
This fresh milk will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.