I adore nuts of every kind, but it’s probably only since going vegan that I’ve actually really started eating them regularly, and certainly that I’ve discovered their versatility. In the past, my encounters with nuts were probably mainly limited to chocolate coated peanuts, salted + roasted peanuts, peanut butter (the kind with sugar and preservatives…), and that’s about it.
Wow was I missing out.
They’re well and truly a staple in my kitchen now: A handful of nuts is a great snack- cashews, almonds and walnuts are my favourites; nut cheeses (see my courgette galette with cashew chèvre); an ingredient in salads and stir-fries; a key component of raw desserts; a lovely addition to baked goods, and of course nut creams and milks, among many other uses.
I’ve been buying almond milk for a long time, but only very recently started making my own at home. If you haven’t tried it yet you really must. It’s far creamier and tastes so much more like the actual nut than any stuff you’ll find pre-packaged. It’s hardly any effort either.
I’m not usually a big smoothie drinker but the warm weather has made me fancy a lighter start to the day. This cool, creamy smoothie is ideal for breakfast ( I enjoyed it alongside a little homemade chamomile muffin I found lurking in the freezer), or makes a perfect afternoon pick-me-up, or would even be a delicious dessert.
I’ve just got back from a week in Spain and enjoyed tonnes of gorgeous stone fruit- peaches, nectarines and apricots galore. What we get over here is mainly imported and of course nowhere near as good as the fresh stuff. I found a bag of the soft dried type, and although very different they worked really well in this smoothie, their concentrated sweetness making it feel rather decadent.
Dried Apricots come in two varieties: sulphured, and un-sulphured. Sulphur dioxide is often unnecessarily added to dried fruits as a preservative and is what retains the bright orange colour of the apricots. I prefer to use organic dried apricots with no added preservatives or other added ingredients. This means that they are not bright orange, but are naturally dark instead. In my opinion these are far more delicious and fruity-tasting than the artificially-preserved variety.
- 3/4 C Almond milk (preferably homemade)
- 1/2 Frozen banana ( I freeze peeled, halved bananas when they’re turning brown)
- 4 Soft dried apricots (organic, unsulphured)
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp Almond extract
- 1/8 tsp Ground cardamom (optional)
- Blend all ingredients together until thick and smooth. Serve immediately.
Do you make your own nut milk? What’s your favourite kind of nut?