Almond Milk

Almond Milk

I hadn’t thought about making my own almond milk and I didn’t know what, other than almonds, it was made out of. I was interested in it because I was wondering if it could be a milk substitute in recipes. In the supermarket I checked various brands of almond milk and found that they contained certain ingredients I was uncertain about (if I don’t understand the ingredients in a product I generally don’t buy it). Mentioning this casually to an Australian friend of mine, she said I could make it myself from ground almonds and water – what could be easier than that.

Almond milk has been around for centuries, though I thought it was a new creation. It is both gluten and lactose free and is packed with vitamins and minerals.  I don’t often find pre-ground almonds but I know they are out there, which would make the recipe even easier. It looks like milk and it doesn’t taste of almonds, it tastes quite like milk, only not as sweet as today’s milk – could be a winner. Will try it in my coffee tomorrow. Just tried it – it’s great in coffee. First time I have had anything other than black coffee in over a year. Yeah!

 

1 cup almond slivers

2 cups boiling water

 

Grind almonds in food processor until they are finely ground.

Pour water into food processor and process until frothy.

Leave for 10 minutes and process again until frothy

Sieve.

Let cool, then refrigerate.

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Strawberries, Blueberries and Mango with a Raspberry Coulis (serves 4)

Strawberries, Blueberries and Mango with a Raspberry Coulis (serves 4)

There are fruit salads and fruit salads. The basic store bought, pre-cut fruit variety is great for convenience but a standard mixture of melon, pineapple, strawberries and maybe some blueberries, all very healthy but not exciting. The fruit salads I grew up with were actually all from tinned fruit, which back in the day was quite exotic! Then they progressed to freshly cut up apples, pears, grapes and orange segments (often tough). I love combining different fruits into a more interesting combination. I was in a restaurant once and ordered fruit salad as it came drizzled with raspberry and mango coulis. The salad itself was OK but it was transformed by having the fruit sauces on top of it. It is as easy as taking a packet of frozen raspberries, de-frosting them and pureeing them with a little agave syrup/nectar in the food processor. I push the raspberry puree through a sieve to get rid of the pips.

 

10 oz frozen raspberries – defrosted

1 teasp. agave syrup/nectar (add more if needed, depending on your sweet tooth)

16 oz ripe strawberries – cut into small pieces

6 oz blueberries

16 0z frozen mango – defrosted

 

Puree defrosted raspberries and agave syrup/nectar in food processor and push resulting puree through a sieve then place in a bowl.

Combine rest of ingredients in a serving dish.

Serve on plates with raspberry spooned on top.

Avocado, cucumber, celery and scallion salad (serves 4)

Avocado, cucumber, celery and scallion salad (serves 4)

A great combination with some crunch, a nice balance of flavors and pretty to look at, being all green. You could also add chicken or tuna into the mix. For a dressing I use a basic vinaigrette – red wine vinegar, olive oil and Dijon mustard – 1 tbsp. vinegar, 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 teasp mustard. Put the mustard in first, add vinegar and stir till mixed, then add oil (best done in a jar with a lid on it so you can give it a good shake and it will emulsify). I learned this from a French friend when I lived in France – so simple and tasty and sometimes I add garlic too.

 

1 avocado – diced

1/2 an English cucumber – diced

2 sticks celery – diced

1 x bunch of scallions/spring onions – finely sliced

 

Only dice avocado just before you are going to serve the salad or it will turn brown, unless you are serving the salad with a lemon dressing. The lemon juice will prevent the avocado from discoloring.

Place all ingredients in a salad bowl and toss with dressing.

Deviled Eggs

Deviled Eggs

There are so many deviled eggs recipes out there, many with other ingredients added in – bacon, olives, you name it. I love deviled eggs – the traditional kind – and this is what I am taking as my contribution to a friend’s house tonight. They are easy to prepare and easy to eat.  I used Colman’s mustard which is much stronger than Dijon mustard – it is somewhat of an acquired taste unless you grew up in England. Deviled eggs are good as hors d’oeuvres (or try deviled quail’s eggs), they are also good for a picnic and cater to vegetarians. These eggs were a big success and I was asked for my recipe. Extra ingredient – a sprinkling of celery salt.

 

6 eggs – hard boiled

2 tbsp. mayonnaise

1/2 teasp. Colman’s mustard (this has mustard flour in it but it didn’t upset me)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Celery salt

 

Boil eggs until hard boiled

When cool, peel and cut in half

Mix mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper together, then add yolks and mash.

Put this mixture back into the egg and sprinkle with celery salt.

Pommes Boulangeres (serves 4)

Pommes Boulangeres (serves 4)

Goes particularly well with lamb.. Back in the good old days, people would line up outside their local bakery in France with dishes that needed cooking and the obliging baker would pop them in his oven and that is where the name of the dish came from.

Olive oil for greasing ovenproof dish and for brushing top layer of potatoes

3 large baking potatoes – peeled and sliced on a mandolin

2 onions – sliced into rings

1 cup veg. broth

Grease ovenproof dish.

Place a layer of onion on the bottom of the dish and season with salt and pepper.

Next place a layer of potatoes on top of the onion and season.

Continue layering and seasoning finishing up with a layer of potatoes.

Brush with olive oil.

Pour over the broth.

Cook for some 30 minutes or until potatoes are soft when pricked with a fork – but not too soft else bottom layer will be soggy.

Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary Smeared All Over It

Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary Smeared All Over It

For me, Easter isn’t Easter without roast lamb (and mint sauce and redcurrant jelly). I smear a rosemary and garlic mixture all over the leg of  lamb, pop it in oven, basting once in a while.

Place 3 tbsp. of rosemary leaves, 2 large cloves of garlic (chopped) and 2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil in food processor. Smear over lamb (you may not need all of the mixture depending on the size of your leg of lamb). Pour another tbsp. of olive oil over lamb and place in oven.

Spanish Omelette Muffins (makes 6)

Spanish Omelette Muffins (makes 6)

Finally, finally I have made a Spanish omelette that somewhat resembles the piece I ate outside in a lovely square in Madrid. I have made various attempts over the years and have always produced a bland version with no real taste. I was a little stuck for things to make as there was not much in my fridge. I mixed eggs, scallions/spring onions, garlic and cooked new potatoes together and poured 2 tbsp. of the mixture into each of the 6 muffin molds in my fantastically non-stick muffin tray (made from silicone – a brilliant investment). If you have a mini-muffin mold, the mixture will stretch to 12 muffins. The lovely thing about these little omelette muffins is that they are perfect for a picnic/lunchbox/hors d’oeuvres (especially the mini-muffins) and perfect for all ages. You can switch around the ingredients – spinach, tomato or whatever springs to mind. I made them for my book club and they were clamoring for the recipe and they are still unusual enough that people are intrigued.

 

Extra Virgin olive oil – for greasing muffin molds

4 x new potatoes   – cut into small chunks

4 eggs – cracked and whisked

1 x bunch of scallions – finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground pepper

 

Grease the muffin molds with olive oil.

Cook new potatoes until just tender – about 10 minutes.

Crack eggs and whisk with a fork.

Add finely chopped scallions, salt and pepper and cooked potatoes.

Pour 2 tbsp. mixture into each muffin mold and cook in oven at 350 degrees for around 15 minutes (until top is firm).