Firstly, I have to apologize for the slight delay in my usual monthly blog entry. It’s not that I haven’t been baking or cooking or photographing or things like that. It’s just that at this time of year the start of the gardening season is upon me and any spare moment I have seems to have been taken up with sowing, potting, re-potting, thinning out, watering and generally fussing over all the tiny little plants that I have now unwittingly busied myself with.
However, today there’s a little gap - every one has graduated to the back door step during the day - admittedly some slightly struggling a little with all the light and heat… but basically, all are on the way to their own, to coin a fashionable phrase. ‘True Norths’. In case you haven’t heard this phrase yet, just for your own education let me give you an example. The true north of a tomato plant is to produce, you know… tomatoes. :-)
Anyway - this all means I can now sit down and share with you my latest ‘thing’.
Yup… making my own milk!
What fun! What satisfaction… all that squeezing, all that pouring… all that lovely white frothy creamy liquid coming forth and making me feel truly in touch with my own inner milk maid.
But no… I haven’t bought a cow.
This milk is the full plant based vegan friendly kind…
Because the truth is - I never liked milk.
In fact, when I was a child in the days when every pupil was entitled to free milk at school, I would willfully avoid drinking it. Hiding instead in the library until the awful daily event was over.
It didn’t seem to do me any harm as I far as I know… and for sure, all that extra secret reading didn’t do me any harm either.
The origin of my dislike is not clear.
Perhaps it was the fact that the milk was served in wobbly plastic packets propped up in plastic tubs that smelt of rancid butter that put me off. It could also have been the fact that the milk was usually prepared in the early morning and left lying around in the sun so it was nicely lukewarm and slightly off by the time break time came. It could also have been because I once found a fly floating in mine…
But anyway, since that time, I’ve never been a milk fan though I continued to use it in tea, coffee etc just because there wasn’t really any alternative.
Over the years, I’ve also busiest myself trying to find a suitable plant based substitute for the foamy milk I enjoy in my daily cappuccino and have without exception always been disappointed.
However, a few months ago I met a good coffee drinking friend (Mr. McKenzie I'm looking at you) who tipped me off about a shop bought oat milk that froths amazingly, tastes of nothing and is such a good substitute that a certain person I know who would never ever - even if you gave him a million dollars - drink anything but milk, was fooled when it was served in his coffee. :-)
Having found the said milk, I thought all problems would thus cease.
However, perhaps this friend had also told everyone else in the radius of 50 km to my village.
Because whenever I visited any supermarket, corner shop or organic store in the vicinity, there would always be a gaping hole where this particular milk should have been. Someone was buying up all the stock as soon as it hit the shelves.
In these modern times of course, you can simply go the internet and order it there and this I’ve done. However, it’s expensive, not exactly environmentally friendly and I also feel very sorry for the poor delivery man who has to carry the heavy boxes up the stairs to our cottage.
Fast forward to last week when I decided to recreate the ingredients on the back of the packet and see if I could make my own.
It seemed simple enough - water, oats, salt, raps oil and a few chemically thingies…
I tried minus the chemical thingies… and while it all looked fine, the raps oil floated in nasty yellow gloops on the top of my milk and whizz as much as I could, there was not an inkling of foam…
…now… I’m aware, you guys are most likely hoping for a happy ending to this story…
…but you know - this is the age of ‘Game of Thrones’ where happy endings or the survival of main characters are not necessarily to be expected…
So just to cut short… erm, I’m still using the bought stuff in my morning coffee and have simply taken to rising really early and heading to the supermarket to selfishly buy it all up before anyone else gets there.
There is a silver lining because I discovered a really great mixture for making my own milk for everything else - from pouring on my morning muesli , to adding to my tea, to making pancakes…
It’s easy and quick - non of that boring over night soaking malarkey - and it whizzes up in a jiffy.
A combination of rolled oats, hulled hemp seeds and ice cold water does the trick.
Then all you need to do is squeeze it through a cloth ( that’s the milk maid bit)… and hey presto, you’ve got your own bottle of milk.
Here’s the instructions below - and I promise, if I ever come across a recipe for a foaming plant based milk that works, I’ll let you guys know!
- 3/4 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 1 liter cold water
- tiny pinch of salt ( but I also leave that out sometimes)
- a 1 litre glass milk bottle
- sterilize your glass bottle
- add all to your blender and whizz like crazy. I use the ‘smoothie function on mine and put it through 3 times.
- pour into a cloth
- help the liquid through with a spoon and collect your milk in a jug, bowl… or if you want to be really authentic, you could source yourself a metal milking pail…
- squeeze like mad to get the last drop of liquid out… not exactly like milking a cow… but as close as your going to get when drinking vegan milk
- pour into bottle.
- store in fridge for 3 days and enjoy!
Hoping you guys give this a try. It’s one of those simple little kitchen tasks that gives me a lot of joy - especially when I see my very own white bottle of fresh milk standing in the fridge.
It's also somehow nourishing to re-engage in the time tested and dare I say it slightly romantic art of 'milking'. It conjures up pictures of pretty flower filled meadows, happy contented cows and the cool of the dairy on a hot summers day.
Must dash now… there’s a baby pepper plant whose leaves are drooping and I need to go and see what he wants…
With love to you all,