Back in the day, working in the coffee shop here in Dublin, I experimented with making my own “milk”. I’m not lactose-intolerant. In fact, I love milk and cream and all things dairy, provided they’re full fat, none of that low fat nonsense.
You will need:
2 cups raw hazelnuts*
Generous pinch of sea salt, optional
- Lightly roast the hazelnuts at 180C for about 5 minutes, removing halfway through to shake them about. Or you can leave them raw. For goodness sake, just don’t burn them (stay close by and always use a timer!)
- If you wish to take the extra step of removing much of the skins, throw the hazelnuts in a big jar and shake them around. The worst of the skins will flake to the bottom and you can use a large wire sieve to filter them out. Or you could try faffing around by rubbing and rolling the hazelnuts in a teatowel.
- Put the hazelnuts in a medium-sized bowl. Cover with warm water. Add the sea salt and stir. Cover and leave to soak overnight.
- Lightly rinse the hazelnuts in clean water. Throw them into a blender and add approximately two cups of water, depending on the consistency you would like. For best results, add a little water at a time**.
*You’ll be left with a bowl full of spent hazelnut meal so I strongly recommend you make this cake, the recipe for which I swiped from David at Souvlaki for the Soul. Even if you never make the cake, I think the photography is just beautiful.
*Erin Boyle at Reading My Tealeaves suggests a water to nut ratio of 3:1.
I have a little soft spot for unsweetened soy milk – there’s something about the taste I like. I often enjoy a splash of it in my chai tea, in homage to the lovely complimentary chai I sampled at the Graze Cafe @ the Elbow Room in January while waiting for my mindfulness class to begin. By the way, if you have a chance to pop into Graze any time soon could you please find out if they’re still making those a-mazing chia, cashew, coconut bar things? F*&%ing savage.
In some coffee shops one can choose from a bewildering array of “milks”, almost to the point of madness – madness for the person behind you in the queue who has to wait for you to make up your mind. At the Happy Pear in Greystones, one can choose from almond, oat or rice milk, for example. And I had a bit of a dither at the Cracked Nut too long ago – I had a terrible hankering for a matcha latte after yoga at the Ranelagh branch of YogaDublin. I could have had my latte with almond milk or coconut milk or regular milk, choosing unsweetened versions of the former two. That was tough. The girl serving me was very patient.
Making the milk was fun, although it can be quite a strain on the hands and wrists as you must wring the blended, soaked nuts through muslin – I wanted to get every.last.ounce.of liquid.outta.them nuts!! But I must say it came out delicious. I had to ration myself and not gulp it all down in one go – this stuff isn’t cheap! Also, I wanted to save some for Faye at work who actually is lactose-intolerant (ironic that her boyfriend’s family are dairy farmers?). I envisaged using it in the coffee shop although I was a little wary of the fact that the milk separates so easily. Never did get an opportunity to put it to the steam test though, shame…
I had actually taken loads of photos but I can’t seem to find them now – turns out, pictures of homemade “milk” are not that interesting. They mustn’t have been that good. However, my efforts are somewhat reminiscent of the gorgeous Josie over at Sugar & Satire, capturing herself photographing her own homemade nut milk.