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Sunday January 27, 2019

Almond Fever!

Why not make your own almond milk & oat biscuits?

We are fast approaching February when the glorious almond blossom here in Mallorca is in flower so to gear up for the big event, here are some of my own culinary treats that are quick and easy to make and which celebrate the marvellous almond. For those who enjoy almond milk, why not make your own rather than rely on the shop version? it’s mega simple to make and tastes delicious with granola or porridge, in smoothies or on its own. As I am lactose intolerant this is a fantastic alternative for me.

Almond Milk

What you need:
*150 grams shelled almonds (no skin)
*One litre filtered water X 2
*One dessert spoon of date syrup or sweetener of choice such as agave syrup
*One teaspoon of vanilla extract (or scrape out two vanilla pods)
*A muslin lined sieve or cloth coffee strainer (what I use)
*A big bowl
*A blender or NutriBullet (best)
*A litre glass bottle with stopper

What you do:
Place the almonds in a big bowl with one litre of filtered water for minimum eight hours to soften them. I do this at night so they are ready by morning. After eight hours, I drain and wash them under the tap and put them into my NutriBullet (you can use any blender) with half a litre of filtered water. At this stage I add the vanilla and date syrup. Whiz it around for about 10 seconds or as long as it takes for the mixture to be creamy and the almonds ground up to resemble big crumbs. Pour the contents through your cloth coffee strainer into a big jug or bowl, squeezing the cloth strainer to release the milk from the ground up almonds. When done, add another half litre of filtered water through the strainer and repeat process. Set aside the ground up almond residue in the strainer as you don’t want to waste it (see recipe below). Finally taste the almond milk to check you don’t want it sweeter, in which case add some more date syrup and whisk. Then pour it all into a clean glass litre-size bottle (you may need to use a funnel). Place in fridge and use for up to about three days.

Almond Oatcakes

What you need:
*Almond nut reside (from making almond milk)
*150 grams oat flour
*One egg
*Approx 100 ml virgin olive oil
*One generous pinch or two of seas salt (or herby flavoured)
*Two teaspoons chopped up thyme and rosemary leaves
*One teaspoon ground up flaxseed (optional)
*One teaspoon toasted sesame seeds (optional)
*One pinch turmeric and cumin (optional)
*A blender/mixer
*Baking paper
*A baking tray
*A rolling pin

What you do:
Pre-heat electric oven at 180 degrees. Meanwhile place almond residue, flour, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, salt, egg and cumin & turmeric into a mixer. Whiz up and then gradually add the virgin olive oil. Add one teaspoon of rosemary and thyme (set aside the other spoonful). Your mixture should resemble a healthy dough. if too dry, add a little more olive oil but go easy. it shouldn’t be too moist. Now cut a big rectangular strip of baking paper that will not only fit your baking tray but overflow at the edges to right and left. This means that when cooked, you can simply lift out the biscuits by the paper on both sides with no mess or breakage.

Now put a little oat flour on the baking paper on a clean work surface and put your dough on top and gently knead and flatten into a long rectangular shape. At this stage flour a rolling pin and gently roll over to ease the dough out, ensuring that it will fit easily into your baking tray. if it breaks up, use your fingers to knead back into shape. The dough should be about one third of a cm in thickness but you might like a thicker biscuit so half a cm is okay too.

Pick up baking paper carefully at either end and place gently into baking tray and place in top part of oven. After
10 minutes take out and with a sharp knife, carefully cut horizontal line across the dough and then make vertical lines to make into square or rectangular shaped biscuits. You should be able to get about 12- 16 from the mixture depending on chosen size. Sprinkle on the remaining teaspoon of herbs and bake for about another 15 minutes. Fan ovens might be a little faster while other ovens might require 30 mins in total. The biscuits should be slightly golden and firm to the touch. Check at 20 minutes to see whether the dough is cooked. If quite moist still, continue cooking until cooked through. Remove from heat and cool before placing in a glass sealed container or tin.

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