The birds outside my bedroom window have been rather vocal of late – particularly in the early hours of the morning. I’m one of those people who, once woken, cannot get back to sleep – but I’ve been enjoying just lying there and simply listening to them sing. I actually finished off this particular poem this morning, with the birds outside my only company.
Late June morning and the dawn chorus
Dip their pinions in the lucent flow of air.
The zephyr entwining skies of myrtle green
Carries their song through to greet the dawn.
The Goldfinch, Song Thrush and Tawny Owl
Render their melodious score, pouring over a
Sleeping city of human hearts. An airy coterie,
Pervading the azure with their native tongue.
I am not vegan. Nor do I have an intolerance to dairy. I do not dislike drinking animal milk – although I’m a firm believer that milk should always be free range and organic. So why, you may wonder, am I writing a post on dairy-free milk? Why is there always, without fail, a carton of almond milk in my fridge?
The truth is that I can’t get enough of nut-milk and other dairy-free milks usually consumed by those with allergies or dietary restrictions. Almond milk with my granola, hazelnut milk in hot chocolates… The nutty flavour pleases my taste-buds and leaves me feeling light and satisfied. Soya milk is not to my tastes (eurgh) and I’m yet to try hemp and oat milk. But, seeing as almond milk is a regular purchase in my weekly shop, I thought I’d invest in a nut-milk bag to make my own. You can get creative and use whatever nuts or seeds you have on hand. You can flavour your milk with vanilla or another natural extract and sweeten with honey, agave or medjool dates.
- 100g almonds
- 500ml filtered water
- 1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
- 5 medjool dates
- Soak your nuts (don’t giggle) overnight in a bowl of filtered water.
- Strain and rinse the soaked nuts and blend with the water and any extra add ins. Here I used 5 medjool dates, just for a little sweetness.
- Place the nut-milk bag (or muslin cloth, any type of mesh – even an old (clean!) cotton t-shirt will work) in a bowl or large jug and empty the blender into the bag.
- Squeeze the milk through the bag into a bowl or jug. There you have it. Milk.
You’ll be left over with delicious pulp. DO NOT throw this away! You can dry the pulp out in the oven on a low heat for around 40 minutes and use it in baking, over porridge or stirred into granola.
ESPRESSO MAPLE BANANA GRANOLA
- 2 tbsp cooled, strong espresso (OR 1 tbsp instant coffee mixed with 1 tablespoon hot water)
- 2 tbsp melted extra virgin coconut oil
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp water
- 50g banana chips (I love this brand)
- 300g rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 180C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
- In a bowl, stir together the espresso, coconut oil, maple syrup, water and oats until fully combined and all oats are coated.
- Spread across the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Stir, then cook for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before adding the banana chips, and transferring to an airtight jar for storing.