I am on short holiday.
The last two months have been especially hectic with work, and more work at home, and the blogging marathon. It was time for a break, and spend some sane moments at home when I can actually listen to my daughter’s high school tales, and my son’s high moments on the field. Saner moments include tutoring the boy and helping him with studies. I have been making desserts but mostly those that have been blogged. I have also been catching up with friends and cousins over lunch or dinner at home, which means that like most breaks, this one turns out more hectic than work! It is fun, nevertheless, for my life is more enriched and made more meaningful by these interactions.
My routine is very much like any other mum’s. I wake up to the opening strains of my favourite band, Aerosmith’s, ‘something’s wrong with the world today’, dig into the crisper for a quick assessment of vegetables available, and the menu ‘s fixed automatically. Daily packed lunch for my son includes steamed rice mixed with a gravy (sambar, rasam, or one of the many dals I make), and a dry or semi-dry vegetable preparation to go with the rice. Sounds easy, but sometimes it tends to get monotonous, or plain tough. My son is a picky eater. He does not like flatbreads, dosas or snacks for lunch. He compromises on certain days when I make idli but on the whole he is a South-Indian-meal-junkie. I won’t complain. He does not ask for anything unhealthy and likes home cooked meals.
Once the kids leave for school we may have a cup of coffee, and if I am by myself I prefer hot chocolate. The air is nippy these days,so hot chocolate usually triumphs over coffee. Chocolate comforts. Coffee gives a kick. After the hurried morning hum-drum I can do with some comfort. Besides, nut milk is so delicious.
All I need is to make almond milk or use some from the one I have already made. If you make your own almond milk like me, I suggest that you use it within three days. I am not sure whether it remains good enough after that.
I make a thick almond milk extract, and a thin one, just as I do with coconut. That way I can pamper myself with a thick smoothie as well. One cup of almonds is good to make 4 cups of almond milk. I make a fifth one that gets used up in cakes. You could use the almond meal left over in a soup or to thicken any gravy if you see the ‘meal’ as food. I use it as a body scrub. I see luxury and I can’t resist.
I prefer to keep the skin. It is optional, and you may remove it if you want to.
You can substitute almonds with pecans, hazelnuts or cashews. If it is cashews, do not strain. But hazelnuts and almonds make the best hot chocolate. Cashew milk is great for tea or coffee, or yogurt.
Recipe: How to make almond nut milk
Yield: 4-5 cups of nut milk
Almonds, with skin, soaked for 5-6 hours in tap water – 1 cup
OR, blanch almonds in boiled water for 30 minutes, if needed quickly. I prefer to soak in tap water.
Water 4 cups
Boil water, and cool to lukewarm.
Blend almonds with a cup of water to a coarse consistency in the large sized jar of your blender. Stop twice in between, and scrape down the meal on the sides into the center. Blend again. Sieve through a soup strainer. Keep this milk separately. This can be used for making vegan rice pudding, or carrot halwa.
Return the residual meal into the mixer and add two cups of lukewarm water. Blend, and strain as before into another vessel. Repeat and blend for a last time with one cup of lukewarm water. Strain back into the same vessel, mixing the second and third blends together. This is the one I use for my chocolate drink. It is thin, but it is very tasty. If I feel the need to have more flavour, I add a tablespoon of the thick almond milk from the first extract.
I scrape a vanilla bean into my milk. You can do that or use cinnamon. Both are good.
Recipe: Hot chocolate with cocoa and almond milk
Yield: 1 cup
Hintz dark cocoa – 1 tbsp.
Almond nut milk (second extract) – 1 cup
Raw sugar – 1/2 tsp., or to taste
Bring half cup of nut milk to the boil on low fire. Whisk the cocoa and raw sugar into the other half cup of almond milk with a hand whisk. Pour into a huge mug, and add the hot milk.
I wake up to the strains of ‘Something’s wrong with the world today!’ How crazy is that! But it makes my world seems right – somehow. Touchwood.
Hopefully in between tutoring, traveling and cooking, I will manage to bring out a few holiday recipes. I have lot of festive nosh on the blog already. Do check up the recipe links on the sidebar or the header. Try them, gift them, enjoy the Holiday Season, and try and make ‘undhiyo‘. It’s the Season!