Friday, 15 November 2013

How to 18: Make Peanut Milk- vegan, raw, suitable for Ekadasi

How will you use your peanut milk?
Following on from last month's post on almond milk; did you know that you can also make peanut milk? It's creamy and tastes quite okay even on its own (though not as delicious as almond milk), plus it's cheaper to make. Peanut milk also has some great health benefits; I found out about these from Peanuts contain A, E and B vitamins as well other antioxidants which can prevent strokes and other diseases. As well as being a protein food, they are a source of many minerals, such as iron, selenium and potassium. Their monounsaturated oil helps to reduce harmful chloresterol levels in the body. Since commercially-available pure peanut milks are few and far between, I couldn't find a straight nutritional comparison table for peanut milk versus other plant milks, unfortunately.  I'll add to this post with the info when I do find out. Here's how to make this healthy plant milk:

(Makes about 300-ish ml)
1 cup (250ml) raw peanuts- we used organic redskin peanuts
3 cups water

1: Soak the peanuts in a bowl of water overnight or for several hours, then drain them. (This
 helps to get rid of nutrient-blocking phytates.)

2: Blend them in a food processor together with the 3 cups of water...

3: ... and you will get a milky liquid after a few minutes.

4: Strain this through a fine sieve. the resulting liquid is your peanut milk.

5: The resulting pulp can be discarded or used to provide fibre in vegeburgers- it's not as nice as almond pulp!
...and that's really all there is to it! You can also sweeten it if you like. Now all you have to do is decide how to use it- what are your ideas? Shakes and smoothies? A sauce? In a drink? For baking?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Chocolate Cashew Butter Cups- vegan, gluten free

I made some small and some large...
It's funny how something gets popular all of a sudden and you find it everywhere, isn't it? That American classic, the Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, has been getting a makeover all around the blogosphere just lately (and even in Waitrose "Weekend" magazine this week) and The Yogi Vegetarian is no exception. I have seen peanut versions, almond versions and even some amazing-looking raw versions. Okay, so we might be a little late with them- has had giant peanut butter cups on it for years- but hey, they've arrived now, just in time for the festive season.
 Our cups are veganised by using dairy free dark chocolate and given a twist by using cashews instead of peanuts. There are only 2 ingredients, plus chocolate moulds or mini cupcake cases, but you could always add a little agave or raw sugar to the filling if you like- personally, I don't think they need it. Make them as Christmas gifts, after-dinner treats, or just because...

Makes around 20 small cups:
125g roasted salted cashews
150g  vegan dark chocolate
(some silicone chocolate moulds and/ or mini cupcake cases)
  • Make the filling by putting the nuts into a food processor and leaving it running until they form a buttery ball, a little firmer than regular nut butter (so don't overdo it).
  • Melt the chocolate. I didn't bother to temper it first, although by the end of the whole process re-warming it probably did that job. Using a pastry brush, carefully coat the inside of your moulds and let it set. Build up 2 or 3 layers to make a strong shell.
  • When the shells are set, fill them with the cashew butter. 
  • Spread the remaining melted chocolate evenly over the top of the cashew butter and decorate with a few nuts if you like. Wait patiently for the cups to harden fully before carefully removing them from the moulds.

Monday, 11 November 2013

What does a week's worth of fruit and veg look like?

We went to our local fruit and veg market on Saturday and came back with what seemed like quite a large haul of produce. It will probably take 5 of us about 7-10 days to get through all of it, though. I couldn't wait for daylight to photograph the beautiful fruit, glossy green avocados and vibrant vegetables. Amongst this lot there are salads for packed lunches, chunky weekend soups, spicy curries, colourful sauces and who knows what else...

We still have our own pumpkins, kadoo, beetroot, potatoes and parsnips but apart from that all the fruit and veg we bought is- unfortunately- not organic. And we couldn't resist some of the exotic stuff like white sweet potatoes, avocados, plantain and mangoes so I'm afraid we clocked up a fair few food miles as well. Now I'm starting to feel a little sheepish, but I remind myself that we are doing our best. We grow what we can and buy the best we can afford. (All that produce we bought cast less than £45). What about you? How much fruit and veg do you and your family get through? Is it expensive where you live?Where is it from? Where do you stand in the organic versus non- organic debate?