Homemade Plant-Based Milks

ricemilk
I spent the past few months exploring different options of homemade plant based milk and was surprised to discover that the whole process is very simple. It takes about 5 minutes as long as the main ingredient is soaked overnight in plenty of water. You do not need any fancy appliances and can use a simple food processor or blender.

Homemade, dairy-free milk last for three to five days when refrigerated in airtight glass containers. Boiling this milk with sugar or an alternative sweetener and then simmering the mixture for around 45 minutes results in a thick consistency very similar to condensed milk.
Hemp seed and rice milk provide very good, creamy and nut-free alternative. The left-over pulp can be used as an ingredient for other recipes and I am including some ideas.

‘The left-over pulp can be used in other recipes and during the tv programme I have made use of it by making pie crusts, energy balls and granola bars.  The possibilities are endless and I like the idea of making the most out of every ingredient, extracting the milk and using the pulp with absolutely no waste.  It is always best to use a milk bag to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible’

milkbag

Almond Milk
You will need:
1 cup almonds
3 cups bottled or filtered water and more for soaking
a pinch of salt
2 dates

 


Soak the almonds overnight. Drain the water and rinse the almonds.
Place the almonds in a blender and add 3 cups of bottled or filtered water. Add the dates and a pinch of salt.
Blend on high speed until the mixture is well blended. The almonds must be totally ground and the mixture appears consistent.
Strain the almonds by placing them in a sieve covered with muslin or a clean dishcloth.
Squeeze out the almond milk into a container by wringing the dishcloth or muslin. Do not discard the ground almonds
Refrigerate the milk in airtight glass containers for up to 4 days.
Use Almond Pulp to make almond flour. Place the almond pulp on a flat ovenproof dish covered with baking paper and bake it in a cool oven at 150°C for an hour. Allow to cool down completely preferably overnight, then place in a food processor and grind to a fine texture.

Hazelnut Milk
You will need:
1 cup hazelnuts
3 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
1 tsp organic apple vinegar
Pinch of salt

 


For sweetened milk add 1 date or 1 tbsp stevia and some vanilla
Place the hazelnuts in a glass container and soak them overnight with a pinch of sea salt and a tsp of apple organic vinegar. Drain and discard the soaking liquid and rinse the hazelnuts well.
Place the hazelnuts in the blender and add 3 cups of bottled water. For a sweetened milk add also 1 date or 1 tbsp of stevia and some vanilla.
Blend at high speed until the nuts are completely ground to a fine pulp. Place a piece of muslin or a clean tea towel over a sieve. Pour the contents of the liquidiser into the covered sieve and gently press the pulp down to squeeze the liquid through. Store the milk in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use the hazelnut pulp to add to smoothies.
Hemp Milk
You will need:
½ cup hemp seeds
4 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
2 dates
Vanilla

hemp seeds
Soak the hemp seeds overnight in a glass container. Drain and discard the water. Place the soaked hemp seeds in a liquidiser or blender and use a high setting to completely grind the seeds to a fine consistency. Strain the hemp milk by pouring it through a strainer covered with a clean tea towel. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.
Use the hemp seed pulp as an additional ingredient to make homemade energy bars.

Coconut Milk

coconutmilk

Fresh homemade coconut milk as seen on tv, photgraphy during the live show by Marconia Schembri      For the home made coconut milk you will need: 100g coconut, 5 cups of filtered or bottled water, a pinch of salt [1 date, optional].  Soak the coconut in water overnight.  Place in a blender or food processor.  Add the filtered or bottled water and blend on high speed for 4 minutes until the mixture is milky and consistenty.  Pour the mixture into a sieve covered with a clean dishcloth or use a nut milk bag.  Squeeze the rest of the coconut milk but wringing the dishtowel until you have extracted as much coconut milk as possible.

Rice Milk
You will need:
1 cup long grain rice. I like to use basmati
5 cups water and more for soaking
1 tbsp agave
Vanilla

oatmilk

Making rice milk during a live tv show, photography George Aquilina  Appliances by Kitchenaid at Forestals, professional wear Chefworks, nails by Jessica Camilleri using Max Factor Noisette No 145

Rinse the rice and place it in a glass container. Immerse completely in water and allow to soak overnight.
Drain the rice and place it in a blender with the rest of the ingredients.
Process the rice on high speed for about 3-4 minutes. Line a sieve with a clean dish cloth and place over a bowl. Pour the rice milk into it and squeeze as much milk as you can by wringing the dishcloth with your hands. Store in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use the rice pulp to make a rice pudding. Place the rice pulp in a saucepan and cover with water. Add some cinnamon and honey or agave and 2 tablespoons of raisins. Bring to boil and reduce the heat. Stir constantly and when the liquid is absorbed, remove from the heat. Add more rice milk to achieve the consistency of your choice and serve warm.

Oat Milk

You will need:

1 cup oats
3 cups filtered or bottled water and more for soaking
1 date or 1 tbsp agave
A pinch of salt

oat milk george.jpg

Homemade Oat Milk, this photo was taken by George Aquilina during a live tv show, kitchenware by Tescoma

Soak the oats overnight in plenty of water. Drain and discard the soaking water and place the oats in a blender. Add the filtered or bottled water and the rest of the ingredients. Strain the oat milk by pouring it through a strainer covered with a clean tea towel. Use your hands to wring the tea towel to squeeze all the milk out. Refrigerate for up to 3 days. Stir the milk thoroughly before using it. This milk can be used to thicken a soup or dessert simply by adding heating it as it becomes thick and gelatinous.

‘The pulp from plant based milks can be used in a variety of recipes’

oat-pie-crust-illumina-media

Use your left over oat pulp to make pie crusts for tarts.  Photography Illumina Media during a live tv show.  Fresh fruit by Big Fresh Mosta

Use the oat pulp to make an oat flour crust for tarts.  Place the oat pulp on a flat ovenproof dish covered with baking paper and bake it in a cool oven at 150°C for an hour.  Allow to cool down completely preferably overnight, then place in a food processor and grind to a fine texture.  Then add it to your recipe to make a tart crust.  Ingredients: 200g flour, 200g oat flour, 100g ricotta,  1 tablespoon agave or honey, a few drops vanilla, zest of half an orange, 1 egg and cold water.  Method: Sieve the flour and add the oatmeal.  Add the ricotta and rub it into the flour and oatmeal using your fingertips
Add the other ingredients except the water and eggs and mix. Now add the beaten eggs, mix using a knife. Then add the cold water, start with one tablespoon and mix, then add a spoonful at a time until you form a dough. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs daily on Smash TV and you can follow the page on facebook
Trade Enquiries: Ingredients by Good Earth Distributors

Apricot Crumble Slice [gluten free, vegan]

apricot crumble slices squares

‘Another glorious Maltese summer is here to stay and with it comes an abundance of succulent and sweet summer fruits, slowly and naturally ripened by the Mediterranean sun making them so juicy and moist like no other greenhouse varieties.  They may appear imperfect, uneven in shape and size, sometimes slightly bruised but bursting with flavor.   After all beauty is not meant to be perfect and cloned.  

For this recipe I use a mix of fresh, ripe apricots and dried apricots. This is one of the easiest things to bake with a soft flapjack base made with poached fresh and dried apricots.  These are topped with fresh apricots and a crumble topping of ground almonds and coconut pulp.  

You can use any berries or stone fruit for this recipe.  Wash the apricots thoroughly and leave the skin on ‘

You will need:

250g ground almonds
250g oatmeal
120g soft dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons coconut oil
4 tablespoons coconut pulp
500g fresh ripe apricots
a pinch of salt
1 vanilla pod
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons stevia
150g dried apricots
To brush the top:  1 tablespoon of coconut oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of agave plus 75g nuts [I used cashew flakes]

apricot crumble slice dried apricots

Prepare an ovenproof dish by lining it with baking paper.  Spray it with cooking spray.

Remove the stone from the fresh apricots and cut into quarters with skin on.  Place half of them together with the vanilla pod in a saucepan.  Chop the dried apricots and add them to the saucepan.  Immerse in just enough cold water and bring to boil on low to moderate heat.  As soon as the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes for all the fruits to soften up.  Remove from the heat.  Add the grated lemon zest.

Use a large bowl to place the ground almonds.  Mix the oat meal with it and then pour the melted coconut oil and softened coconut pulp.  Use your fingertips to rub in the coconut oil and pulp into the ground almond and oatmeal mixture.  Add the soft brown sugar and mixed spice and vanilla seeds.  Mix with a metal spoon so that the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Add two thirds of this mixture to the poached apricot mix and stir until it is has a smooth consistency.  Pour the mixture into the prepared ovenproof dish and use a plastic spatula dipped in water to smooth the surface.  If you have time cover the dish with cling film and place in the fridge for an hour.  [At this stage, you can also leave the dish in the fridge overnight and carry on preparing the rest of the recipe the following day.]

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Assemble the remainder of the chopped fresh apricots on top of the base.  Brush the surface of the fruit with the mix of agave and coconut oil.  Scatter the rest of the crumble mix on the top.  Do not press it down.

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes then take out of the oven, brush again with the agave and coconut oil mixture and scatter the chopped nuts on top.  Return to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Allow to cool and cut up into squares.

apricot crumble baked

Serve warm with ice cream or cut up into squares for lunchboxes and picnics or simply instead of a cereal bar for breakfast or a snack

Store in the fridge for up to 3 days in the summer and 5 days in the winter.  Freeze for up to a month although I do not like the thawed texture which becomes slightly soggy from freezing.

Trade Enquiries:

Fry Light  Butter Flavour Cooking Spray and Mornflake Oatmeal via Rimus Group

Ground almonds, naturally dried apricots, dried fruit, spices and baking goods via Good Earth Distributors Ltd

Coconut Oil and coconut pulp via J Calleja Ltd

My fresh succulent apricots come from Big Fresh in Mosta

Lea’s Good Food Everyday is aired on Smash TV every day and you can also follow on facebook 🙂  Photography by CJ Baldacchino during an unedited live tv show cooking in real time.

Vegan Chocolate Muffins

vegan chocolate muffins

‘I use linseed as an egg replacement for these very chocolaty and moist muffins.  If you are looking for a diabetic friendly alternative use stevia instead of sugar. What I like about these muffins is that they really rise’

For the muffins you will need:

250g self raising flour [for a gluten free recipe use gluten free self raising flour]
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
75g cocoa powder
a pinch of coffee powder
a pinch of cinnamon
a pinch of salt
250g soft brown sugar
300ml hot water [not boiling]
3 tablespoons linseed
1 tablespoon vinegar
50g coconut oil
30g coconut pulp

Preheat oven to 160C.
Prepare a muffin tin by lining it with muffin cases. [Optional: On tv, I sprayed the muffin cases with Butter Flavour Fry Light Cooking Spray which is vegan for those who miss a buttery taste!]
Sieve twice the self raising flour, bicarbonate, cinnamon.
Add the salt and mix.
Place the water, linseed, coconut pulp, coconut oil, vinegar, brown sugar and coffee in a liquidizer and turn on until the linseeds are broken up and the mixture appears consistent.
Use a large metal spoon to fold in the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Use a spoon to fill the muffin cases and place in the oven to bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Allow to cool and top with the icing or serve as they are.

vegan chocolate muffins 3.jpg During the tv programme today I used a bar of lactose free milk chocolate but if you want vegan icing use dark chocolate.

For the icing [optional], you will need:
75ml water
50g coconut pulp
50g soft brown sugar
a pinch of coffee powder
a pinch of cinnamon powder
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
150g chocolate

12 fresh cherries [optional]
Cocoa Nibs to sprinkle on top [optional]

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan on low heat. As soon as it start to boil, remove from the heat. Keep stirring until you have a smooth, glossy consistency. Allow the muffins to cool completely before pouring the icing on top of them.
Sprinkle some cocoa nibs and decorate with a fresh cherry.
Chocolate vegan muffins.jpg

Trade Enquiries:
Cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, spices, brown sugar, linseed, bicarbonate of soda, self raising flour by Good Earth
Valor Chocolates, Govinda Stevia, Govinda Coconut Oil, Govinda Coconut Pulp by J Calleja
Fry Light Cooking Spray Butter Flavour by Rimus Trading
Fresh Fruit by Big Fres Mosta

Photography by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show.

Healthier Salted Caramel Bars

caramel biscuits 3

Healthier Salted Caramel Bars, photo by CJ Baldacchino during a live tv show

‘these biscuits are gluten free, lactose free with no added refined sugar.  They can be stored in the fridge for a week and in the freezer for 3 months.  Today the feast of St Gregory is celebrated and I enjoyed the phone ins from our viewers in this morning’s show as they narrated their memories and shared the history of this feast day.  thank you x’

caramel biscuits 1

For the base layer you will need:

100g oatmeal or ground oats
25g ground almonds
50ml agave  [if not vegan you can use honey]
4 tablespoons coconut paste

Heat the oven to 180C.  Prepare a baking tray by lining it with baking paper. Place the ingredients in a large bowl and mix until it is consistent.  Bring the dough together with your hands and place on a clean surface.  Press and use a rolling pin to roll out then cut into rectangles [either 12 pieces or 18 smaller ones].  Place on the baking sheet and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.  Allow to cool completely.

For the salted caramel layer you will need:

200g chopped dates
1 tablespoon nut butter [I used hazelnut butter]
2 tablespoons coconut paste
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan with 50 ml of water.  Use gentle heat and stir until the dates are broken down.  If necessary add some more water.

Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.  Roll the mixture into small balls then press them down on to the cooled down biscuits.  Use a teaspoon to smooth it down.

And you will also need to coat the biscuits with :

250g melted chocolate to coat.  [I used lactose free, sugar free]
1 tablespoon olive oil

Melt the chocolate in a bain marie or in the microwave.  Mix in a tablespoon of olive oil and stir until the mixture is smooth and shiny.

Gently dip the biscuits into the melted chocolate until they are fully covered.  Place on a dish covered with baking paper and allow the biscuits to set in the fridge for an hour.

Trade Enquiries: Coconut Paste by Govinda and Chocolate Valor both from J Calleja Import Export Ltd

Carrot Cake Smoothie with Maca Powder [vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free]

carrot-cake-smoothie-cj

Carrot Cake Smoothie, vegan, gluten free and lactose free.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by CJ Baldacchino

‘More carrot cake follows the overnight oats of yesterday , this time in liquid form.  This is a smoothie based on most people’s favourite cake.  It contains no added refined sugar and it is gluten free, lactose free and vegan.  A meal in itself with the addition of maca powder.  I use the carrots from my organic box that arrives every Thursday from Barbuto in Sicily.’

You will need:

1 raw carrot
1/2 frozen banana
1 cup home made almond milk
1 tablespoon oats [gf]
1 teaspoon coconut
1/8 teaspoon ginger
vanilla
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon maca powder
1 tablespoon agave

For garnish: chopped pecans, shavings of sugar free dark chocolate and grated carrots

Place all the ingredients in a high powered blender or Nutribullet and blend until the consistency is very smooth.  If it is too thick, add more almond milk or water.

Garnish with pecans, savings of sugar free dark chocolate and grated carrots

Serve immediately.

Maca Powder is available at Good Earth

Overnight Carrot Cake Oats with Maca Powder [gluten free and vegan]

‘We had so many callers during our live show yesterday that I did not really get down to any real cooking.  But I somehow managed my favourite carrot cake overnight oats and made a carrot cake smoothie, both with maca powder that I love to incorporate in small amounts  into recipes such as soups, smoothies and salads as well as raw desserts.  Not only is it rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E and provides a good source of calcium, zinc and iron but I love its caramel flavour.  Always add in small quantities.’

For the overnight carrot cake oats you will need:

1/2 cup oats
1 cup home made almond milk [you can also use ready made almond milk]
1 medium carrot, grated
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ginger powder
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 frozen banana, sliced
1 teaspoon coconut
4 tablespoons oats
1 tablespoon pecan nuts, chopped
1 tablespoon dates, chopped
vanilla
1/4 teaspoon maca powder
Pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon agave

Combine all ingredients in an air tight container,
Refrigerate overnight.  When it is time to eat it, add more almond milk or water to bring to your preferred consistency.
Eat hot or cold and if you wish garnish with chocolate shavings and coconut chips.

You will see my result during this afternoon’s live show.

Lea’s Good Food Everyday airs daily on Smash TV and every Friday in English.

Patatas Bravas

patatas bravas.jpg

‘this simple and classic tapas dish is a perfect economical and tasty choice to serve with summer drinks. It is gluten free, dairy free and vegan. I mix with sweet potatoes’

You will need:

250g potatoes
250g sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
250g chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato puree
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
a pinch of stevia
1 tablespoon apple organic vinegar
salt and pepper

Preheat  oven to 200C.

Please the potatoes and sweet potatoes and cut into small squares.

Brush an ovenproof tray with olive oil and place the chopped potatoes on the tray. Season with salt and pepper and toss the potatoes in the rest of the olive oil and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika so that they are lightly covered. Place in the hot oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Toss the potatoes on the tray and return them to crisp up in the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes pieces.

While the potatoes are cooking make the sauce.  Saute the onion and garlic in some olive oil.  Add the tomatoes, stevia, organic apple vinegar, the other teaspoon of smoked paprika and season with salt and pepper.  Once the sauce starts to boil turn the heat down and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Allow to cool and blend to a smooth consistency.

When the potatoes are cooked transfer to a serving dish and pour some of the tomato sauce over the potatoes.  Garnish with pieces of chorizo, olives, cherry tomatoes and vegan cheese on toothpicks.  Serve warm.

Tip: If available add some purple potatoes too for a very colourful dish.

I use potatoes and vegetables from Big Fresh, smoked paprika and spices by Schwartz, stevia by Tate & Lyle, chorizo by Campofrio [if you want a non-vegan dish], kitchenware by Tescoma, tootpicks and disposable tableware by AMC.

Raw Brownie Batter (vegan, lactose and gluten free)

raw brownie batter goodfoodeveryday

To serve with ice cream or just as a dip, raw brownie batter.  This photo was taken during a live tv show by Roger Azzopardi

‘Summer brings an air of celebration on the island.  The bright blue skies and sea all around, the sunshine.  And the short distances make it possible to end nearly every day surrounded by family and friends sharing good food, celebrating.  This is a perfect quick addition to ice creams or simply use as a dip’

You will need:

1 cup tofu (use ricotta for non vegan and lactose inclusive diets)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon agave (you can use honey for non vegan and lactose inclusive diets)
1/2 sweet potato
1 tablespoon finely chopped almonds
vanilla
150g sugar free dark chocolate

Place the sweet potato in the microwave and cook it (timing depends on size and microwave). Allow to cool and peel.

Place the tofu (or ricotta as above), cocoa powder, agave, sweet potato, almonds and vanilla in a large bowl and use a hand held blender to bind and form a consistent mixture. Melt the chocolate in the microwave and add it to the mixture. Mix until the mixture is smooth and consistent. The mixture should be soft enough to have a spreadable consistency. Pipe into bowls and garnish with cherries and M&Ms.

Serve with ice cream or simply as a dip.

Tip: If you have a very sweet tooth, add a tablespoon of Stevia

To dip I use gluten free biscuits by Nutrifree. I also use tofu by Clearspring, almonds, cocoa powder and agave at Good Earth (or ricotta by Zappala), chocolate by Valor, maraschino cherries by 3 leaves, stevia by Tate & Lyle, vanilla by Schwartz and sweet potato by Big Fresh, M&Ms by Xirja, kitchenware by Tescoma, table accessories by Loft.

No bake coconut chocolate cherry slice

coconut chocolate cherry slice

Coconut chocolate cherry slice photo taken during a live tv show by Marconia Schembri

‘An incredibly quick dessert, ideal for the hot summer days. It is vegan, gluten free, lactose free and has no added processed sugar. Worth a try if you are reading this recipe as it will not disappoint’

cherry coconut chocolate credit george aquilina

Coconut Chocolate Cherry no bake slice, photo take by George Aquilina during a live tv show

You will need:
2 cups coconut
2 tablespoons agave
1 vanilla pod
2 tablespoons cold pressed coconut oil
400g sugar free dairy free chocolate

a tart tin with a loose bottom
cling film
10 cherries

Place the coconut, agave, seeds from the vanilla pod and cold pressed coconut oil in a blender and pulse until it forms a paste.
Cover the bottom part of the tart dish with cling film.
Place the mixture in the tart dish and press down by using a spatula.
Place in the fridge for an hour.
Melt the chocolate by placing in a microwave or bain marie.
Pour the chocolate over the coconut

Place in the fridge over night or the freezer if you are not going to serve immediately.  Before serving dip the cherries in melted chocolate and place on top of the tart.

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Slice

Coconut Chocolate Cherry Slice, photo taken during a live tv show by Charles Vassallo

Tip:  This tart was made in a rush during a live tv show without being placed int the fridge long enough to set.  You can have a must neater finish by allowing the tart to set overnight in the fridge or freezer before decorating.

I use agave and coconut oil by Good Earth, chocolate by Valor, vanilla by Schwartz, cherries by Big Fresh, tart tin by Tescoma, coconut by St Georges Brand, cling film by AMC, decorative tableware by Loft.

Pasta Aglio Olio with Vegetable Noodles

40. a Vegetable Spaghetti LGFE (Daniel Balzan)

Aglio Oglio with broad beans and vegetable noodles, tableware C&H Bartoli, photo Daniel Balzan

‘this pasta dish includes spiralized carrot and courgette noodles and is topped with fresh broad beans, ah so good’

You will need:
250g linguine
125g courgettes
125g carrots
1/2 cup olive oil
5 garlic cloves
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint
A pinch of dried chili
Mint to garnish

Prepare a pot of salted water and cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Put the oil,garlic and chili flakes in a large pan over low heat and cook gently for around 3 minutes. Add the parsley and mint to the pan and turn off the heat.

Use a spiralizer to make spaghetti with the carrots and courgettes. Drain the pasta and reserve one cup of the cooking liquid. When the oil mixture has cooled down add half a cup of pasta cooking water and reduce over medium heat by half. Add the pasta and stir. Add more pasta water a little at a time for the sauce to thicken until the consistency is how you prefer it. Add the carrot and courgette spaghetti and mix in with the pasta and sauce. Immediately remove from the heat and serve.

Tip: To use up any leftovers beat the remaining pasta with some eggs to make an omelette.

I use linguine by Pasta Rummo, vegetables by Big Fresh, spices and dried herbs by Schwarts, fresh potted herbs by Callus Garden Centre, and a spiralizer by Tescoma