Make your own almond milk

Making Fresh Almond Milk

Image by QuintanaRoo via Flickr

I’m no health nut, and I’m definitely not a vegan, but I love soya, almond, coconut and rice milk. I recently bought Jillian Michaels’ excellent Master Your Metabolism Cookbook, and she asks you to replace your diary with other products – specifically not soy, for various reasons. So, I purchased a litre of coconut milk and one of almond milk (and then had to carry them home four miles from the shop, but that’s a whole other story!) and discovered how delicious almond milk was in porridge and banana smoothies. I’d never had it before, and realised precisely why this was when I got to the health food shop – firstly, it’s quite hard to find (only in health food shops and Waitrose, it seems!) and secondly, it’s a whopping £3.00 a litre… Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s quite a lot for me, so I was pretty pleased to discover that it’s really easy to make your own almond milk at home! I’m not saying it tastes better than shop bought – I think the shop bought stuff is sweeter, but at home it gets a bit worrying to continually add honey to your mix, so I stopped after three teaspoons! However, it’s definitely cheaper, as once you’ve bought yourself a nut milk bag, you end up paying about £1.60 or so for every litre – basically, the cost of your almonds.

So, the recipe!

EQUIPMENT

  • Blender
  • Nut milk bag (buy these on eBay if you find them hard to track down)
  • Bowl
  • Jug

INGREDIENTS

  • 220g almonds
  • Water, to cover
  • 1 litre water, to make milk (4 cups)
  • Vanilla extract, optional
  • Honey or other natural sweetner, optional

METHOD

  • Cover your almonds with water (I like to rinse mine first as well) and leave to stand overnight, for at least 8 hours, and up to 12.
  • Drain away the soaking water (I rinse here again) and add the nuts to a blender.
  • Pour in your four cups / 1 litre water, then blend well. Add in the vanilla extract and sweetner to taste, if using.
  • Pour the mixture into a nut bag over a bowl or wide jug, and strain. You’ll have to help the process along by squeezing the bag to get the excess moisture out.
  • Your nut milk is ready! Keep in the fridge, covered, for up to four days.

The leftover almond meal is great for adding fibre to porridge, cereal, etc!

Fishy snack or sweet treat? Make your own taiyaki!

Quick, look at this and tell me what you think of:

Taiyaki on a plate

I expect you didn’t think ‘ah, it’s a delicious, sweet Japanese street food’, did you? If you did, congratulations! Read on for a recipe to make your very own at home! If you didn’t, then let me educate you – read on for a recipe to make your very own at home! (See what I did there?)

The best way to describe taiyaki is as waffle-type confections which are usually filled with a Japanese sweet called ‘anko’. Anko, or an, is made from aduki beans, which you can purchase in most major supermarkets, as they’re actually a health food. Not when you cook them Japanese style, of course, which basically means stewing them with plenty of sugar.

DSC_0268

In Japan, these are cooked in dedicated stalls, and although an is the most common filling, you can even get savoury versions with things like cheese inside. At home, in a western kitchen, your biggest hurdle to making these yourself will be buying a proper taiyaki press.

Taiyaki step 1

I got mine from J-List, and if you look on the left hand side of this site and scroll down, you can find my affiliate link to J-List which means you can support Distracted Gourmet at the same time as making yummy treats. You might also be able to find these in Oriental or Japanese supermarkets.

Taiyaki ingredients

Apart from the an, the ingredients for taiyaki are very easy to find, and you probably have most of them already.You simply mix your batter together (recipe below), and then grease up your taiyaki press. Then, ladle in your batter, and spoon in some an, and place on your hob.

Taiyaki step 2

Then, you cover the an with a bit more batter, so that you create a nice, sealed pocket for your filling.

Taiyaki step 3

Once you’ve done that, you close the press and turn it over the heat, keeping it firmly closed, until the batter is cooked and your fish takes on a lovely golden colour.

Then, you simply have to trim the excess batter from your fish, and serve it piping hot!

Taiyaki step 4

Try your own taiyaki today!

INGREDIENTS

  • 125g plain flour
  • ½ tbsp baking powder
  • ½ tbsp caster sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 225ml milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 6 tbsp anko paste

METHOD

  • Begin by oiling your taiyaki press thoroughly – you don’t want anything to stick.
  • Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Add the sugar and mix.
  • Beat the egg in a jug, and then add in the milk and oil.
  • Add the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix until combined.
  • Put the taiyaki pan over the heat and allow to get as hot as possible for a couple of minutes. Once the pan is hot, recheck that it’s well oiled, and then spoon in some of the batter. Allow to set for a few seconds, and then add a small spoonful of the anko paste (or other filling) in the main body section of the fish. Pour on a little more batter over the top of the anko paste to cover, and close down the press immediately and allow to cook. Turn over the heat and cook until the taiyaki is golden brown on both sides. You may need to hold the handles together to ensure the taiyaki pan doesn’t open, as the batter will expand as it cooks.
  • Once it’s cooked, eat it hot!

Also, try other fillings – sweet cream, Nutella, Smudge, peanut butter, cheese or even stir-fried vegetables!

If you want to try before you purchase pricey specialist equipment, I’ve seen these on sale in The Japan Centre in London – their supermarket is well worth a visit, whether you’re there to nosh taiyaki or not!
Taiyaki