world milk day & our alternative m!lk journey

world milk day & our alternative m!lk journey
Snapshot of the m!lk alternatives in our fridge this morning! These are our staples :D

Today is world milk day, so I thought I would share our experiences with m!lk alternatives. Aars has been severely allergic to dairy milk since he was a tot. His first reaction was to formula milk when he was five months old when a drop fell on his arm and instantly a huge blister from his elbow crease to his wrist blew up.

Once he was weaned we used rice m!lk (before the studies and warnings about arsenic and organ damage were released) and soy m!lk. Rice m!lk was amazing for our paper thin crepes, but as soon as we learnt about the arsenic rice m!lk was abandoned, and we used soya m!lk in all our baking of cakes as we could curdle it with vinegar and it made the cakes über light and airy.

A few years ago, however, Aars went into anaphylactic shock from soy m!lk. It had been a staple in his diet, with soy yoghrts, soy based chese… I was at a loss as to what m!lk alternatives we could use. I went to health food shops and discovered the delights of the Swedish Oatly oat m!lk, and Rude Healths almond m!lk, hazelnut m!lk, pea protein-based che*ses. Back then I had to travel to Brighton or London to buy these rare dairy alternatives. Now, happily, even our little Tesco express supplies them.

Then two years ago Aars started to react to nuts, so the yummy almond m!lk, cashew m!lk and hazelnut m!lks all had to be abandoned! We also had to cut gluten out of his diet and so the lovely Oatly m!lk fell by the wayside too (Oatly in North America is made with gluten-free oats, but it’s European counterparts are not).

Thus we have come to rely on coconut m!lk. We can get KoKo coconut m!lk everywhere – from the tiny co-op in St Mawes to all our supermarkets in Dorking. They also do a KoKo yogh*rt, spread, and it is a staple in our house.

If you are looking to go dairy-free hopefully this will assure you that there are plenty of alternative m!lks out there for you to experiment with and enjoy. I love the nut milks but sadly we can no longer have them in our home. They are really easy to make, and totally worth it as homemade nut m!lks are more tasty and nutritious than their shop-bought counterparts and extra rich and creamy. Perfect for smoothies and they store in the fridge in an air tight jar for three days. There are instructions on how to make your own nut m!lks all over the web.

We are now totally dependent on coconut m!lk. The bonus of koko is that it doesn’t curdle when you use it in hot drinks which other m!lk alternatives can do. We also use coconut yogh*rt from KoKo, from KoYo and the coconut collaborative – depending on what it being stocked in our local shops. All of the websites I have linked to in this post have recipes to help you learn how to use their products in baking and cooking.

There are so many more resources available to you if you need or want to be dairy-free compared to thirteen years ago when we had to start our free-from adventure!

I thought I would share some of our fave recipes which use our alternative m!lks and yogh*rts. I tend to write that we use koko coconut milk – but that is because we have lost all the other m!lk alternatives. If you can use nut-m!lks go for it – they are full of fab protein and good fats! We also use cans of coconut m!lk for our caramel popcorn and chocolate caramel shortbread as with brown sugar it works as a pretty good substitute for condensed milk!

We wish you well on your dairy-free journey and hope that this little post inspires you to get playing in the kitchen this half-term. You can see that m!lk alternatives work well in smoothies, breads, cakes, curries, pancakes… you can basically make whatever you want dairy-free :)

Love, peace and smiles,
Rai x

chubby puffy pancakes

chubby puffy pancakes

These are my take on American buttermilk pancakes, obviously minus the buttermilk & other allergens. Making them FREE to be enjoyed by most and they are darn tasty. Aars calls them small and chubby as the mixture is really light and foamy; they puff up like little pillows as they heat up which I find very gratifying.

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: 22
Cooking Method: frying
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ C self raising gluten-free flour (I use Doves)
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon* (Aars requests more as we are cinnamon fiends)
  • 1 C coconut m!lk yogurt (I use 1 pot of 250g CoYo)
  • ½ C m!lk alternative (I use Koko coconut m!lk)
  • ½ C apple puree
  • ¼ C vegetable oil (I use organic sunflower)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. In your mixing bowl add all the ingredients in the order above then whisk them together to create an über light and fluffy batter. 

    chubby-puffy-pancakes-free-from-recipe
    ready to flip

  2. Heat up your pan on a low but wide flame, if you need to add some spread to grease it do - we use a stone pan that doesn't need greasing. When the pan is hot dollop your mix in nicely spaced blobs (they expand).

  3. When they start to darken round the edges they are ready to flip, flip them carefully as the mix on top is still wet. The second side takes less time to cook.

  4. Pile them on a plate & add fresh fruit, more coconut m!lk yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon and sugar... whatever YOU desire. Enjoy :) x

Notes:

*Aars requests more cinnamon as we are cinnamon fiends! Use however much your family prefers, or swap it for another spice like ginger, or just go for vanilla!

perfect free-from pancakes

perfect free-from pancakes

Perfect free-from everything traditional English pancakes. Not only are they free from allergens they have the bonus of flaxseed in them. Super easy to make and scrummy to eat - top them with your faves and let me know what you think! 

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: 11
Cooking Method: frying
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 3 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 C gluten-free flour (I use Doves gluten-free plain flour)
  • 2 tsp baking powder (I use Dr. Oetker)
  • grind of salt (I use Himalayan)
  • ¹⁄3 C sunflower oil
  • 2 C m!lk alternative (I used koko)
  • 2 Tbs ground flaxseed 
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. In your mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder & salt. Then whisk in the oil, m!lk alternative, ground flaxseed. When it's well combined add in the vanilla extract.

    perfect free-from pancakes
    flaxseeds doing their binding work

  2. Heat up your pan on a medium - high flame and melt some spread in the pan. Ladle out some pancake mix and spread around the pan to create your pancake.

  3. When the pancake underside is the colour you like flip it over, the second side will cook far quicker than the first. 

Notes:

We make & eat our pancakes as we go! So enjoy them fresh from the pan. Let us know your fave toppings on these free-from pancakes! 

christmas spiced smoothie

christmas spiced smoothie

This gorgeous smoothie is full of delicious Christmas spices which make it cosy & comforting. Perfect for wintery days when you need a hit of fresh fruit and fancy a little spiced warmth to snuggle up with. I add bee pollen as it's sooooo nutritious, but if you don't have any don't worry (it's not there for the flavour!), if you fancy some you can buy it online

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: serves one
Cooking Method: liquidising
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins

Ingredients:

  • 6 dates
  • 1 C m!lk alternative (we use koko)
  • 2 Tbs gluten-free oats
  • 1 large banana*
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp bee pollen**
  • oodles of freshly grated nutmeg

Method:

  1. If you want you can soak the dates and oats in the m!lk alternative for a couple of hours in the fridge before making this smoothie.

  2. Pop all the ingredients into your liquidiser and blitz until a lovely thick smoothie is produced. 

  3. Pour into your favourite glass and grate oodles of fresh nutmeg over the top. Enjoy! 

Notes:

*Sometimes I use a frozen banana if I need to perk myself up!

**If you don't have any bee pollen just skip it - it doesn't add to the flavour only to the nutritional value of this smoothie. If you do fancy trying it you can buy it online here!

honey m!lkshake (with bee pollen)

honey m!lkshake (with bee pollen)

This m!lkshake is a light and refreshing and full of fabulous-for you ingredients, including the very disgusting-tasting bee pollen! Do not be put off though - this m!lkshake is delish and a great way of hiding the flavour of bee-pollen and getting all it's goodness into our bods.

Bee pollen is full of protein, amino acids, vitamins (including vitamin B), scientists believe that each bee pollen pellet contains over two million flower pollen grains and one teaspoonful contains over 2.5 billion grains of flower pollen. Pollen reduces the presence of histamine, ameliorating many allergies. Pollen is also good for the intestinal flora (one area they think may be limited in children with severe food allergies) and thereby supports the immune system. I think it's worth a go getting it into my son, and the only way to do it is to hide the flavour - hence this scrummy m!lkshake! 

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: serves 1
Cooking Method: blitzing
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins

Ingredients:

  • 5 dates (I use dried dates)*
  • 3 Tbs gluten-free oats
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 C m!lk alternative - we use koko a thin coconut m!lk
  • 1 banana
  • ½ tsp bee pollen
  • handful of ice
  • 1½ tsp raw honey
  • freshly grated nutmeg or ground cinnamon

Method:

  1. Because I use dried dates and oats in this recipe I like to get a little jar of yum ready a while before I am going to make this m!lkshake.* If you use fresh dates you can skip this process if you prefer.

  2. Into the jar pop the dried dates, oats, cinnamon and m!lk alternative. Give them a stir, pop the lid on and stick it in the fridge. The dates will soften and the oats will absorb the flavours.

  3. When you want to make and drink the m!lkshsake, retrieve the jar of yum from the fridge, give it a stir and pour the lot into a liquidiser

  4. Add a banana, broken into chunks, the all important bee pollen, ice and one teaspoon of raw honey

  5. Give it all a good blitz and then pour into your glass. I drizzle the remaining half teaspoon of raw honey over the top and then grate nutmeg over that - or a sprinkling of ground cinnamon as pictured here.

Notes:

*Because I use dried dates and oats in this recipe I get a little jar of yum ready a while before I am going to make this m!lkshake. If it's going to be my breakfast on the hoof I get my jar of yum ready the night before.  If it's the lunch I am going to grab between meetings I make my jar of yum in the morning. Just knowing it's there ready and waiting makes me feel happy! 

nana’s vegan & gluten-free flatbreads

nana’s vegan & gluten-free flatbreads

These super simple flat breads are really easy and speedy to make, we love them fresh from the pan, unadulterated as they come! You can spice them up or eat them plain with curry if you prefer! 

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: makes 12
Cooking Method: cook in oil-free frying pan
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1½ C gluten-free self-raising flour (we use Doves)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • grind of salt (we use pink Himalayan salt)
  • 1 C coconut yoghurt (we use CoYo natural)

Method:

  1. In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the coconut yogurt until it's just combined (see photo below). Cover the bowl and leave to sit for 10 minutes.

    vegan & gluten-free flatbreads
    ready to roll

  2. Split the dough into twelve balls and roll out each on a floured surface until they are 2-3mm thick.*

  3. Heat up a pan or griddle and pop a flat bread in to cook. Pat it as it cooks - this seems to make them puff up more! The first side takes about 2 minutes

  4. Once one side is browned, flip the bread over and pat it down as it cooks on the second side - takes about 1½ minutes.

  5. When the second side is browned pop onto the gas flame for about 10 seconds to get that lovely smokey flavour and watch it puff up! Flip and do the same on the other side.

  6. Eat straight from the flame or store in a tea towel to keep warm so you can serve them with a curry. 

Notes:

You can also create a yummy oil with herbs in it to brush over the flatbreads as soon as they come off the flame to add extra flavour. 

*I tend to roll them out as I go whilst the previous one is in the pan.

vegan sweet potato & lentil curry

vegan sweet potato & lentil curry

This sweet potato curry is really easy and pretty speedy to make. Just make sure you cut up your sweet potato into small chunks. The end result is a proper cosy comforting bowl of thick and creamy curry. 

Allergens: no allergens
Yield: serves 2
Cooking Method: frying & simmering
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbs oil (we use coconut oil)
  • 1 Tbs cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 chillies chopped finely
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped finely
  • 1 huge sweet potato or 2 big ones (cut into small chunks 1cm³)
  • 1 C split red lentils 
  • 1 tsp vegan swiss bullion
  • ½ C passata 
  • 1 tin of coconut m!lk
  • ½ C water
  • fresh coriander (as much as you fancy)

Method:

  1. Place a heavy based saucepan on a low flame and add the oil, seeds, ground spices followed by the fresh chillies and garlic. 

  2. Once the oil is infused stir in the chopped sweet potato (the smaller you cut the sweet potato the faster it will cook - I go for about 1cm cubed or smaller) and the lentils. Make sure that they are coated in the spicy mix. Then stir in the swiss bullion. 

  3. When the sweet potato and lentils feel like they are sticking to the pan, stir in the passata followed by the coconut m!lk. Place a lid on the sauce pan and leave to cook for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to ensure nothing sticks. If you find that the veg are sticking, or you need to cook the curry a little longer due to the sweet potato being bigger chunks and not yet soft, add some water. I prefer to keep this curry thick and creamy.

  4. When the lentils and sweet potato are soft, you know that they are cooked and you can take your curry off the heat and serve immediately. I sprinkle a load of fresh coriander (leaves and stalks) over the top. 

Notes:

This dish goes really well with rice

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