Sunday, February 23, 2014

Milking Oats

Much less grope-y than milking goats.

After more than three years of busy service to us, our soy milk maker has pretty much carked it (see my posts on it here and here). We looked at getting new ones, but the idea of choosing was a bit overwhelming and we have put it at the back of our minds. (But if you're in Australia and can recommend a good brand or model, we would be happy to take suggestions.)

Instead, we've been making oat milk. It's no substitute for bought-milk in tea, but it does the trick on a bowl of cereal. Here's what we do:
Oat milk
We get two of these jugs of milk, plus about 2 cups of pulp from each batch.
Combine 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats, 1 tsp of desiccated coconut, and 1 tsp of raw sugar in a jug. Add 1 litre of water, and let it soak for about 30 minutes. Then blend it all up - I use a stick blender - for a few minutes. Pour this through a fine strainer and scoop out the thick oat pulp. Pour it into containers, and then I add enough water to fill the jugs - our typical batch is about 2.5 litres of oat milk. You can add less if you prefer it thicker. The milk lasts in the fridge for about a week.

But what to do with the 2 cups or so of sticky, wet oat pulp that comes along with the milk? You could throw it away, or compost it, or feed it to the dog. But we've been playing around with adding it to things. We've mixed it into lentil loafs and burgers, but it makes them go a bit gluey in texture.

More successful were these nutella brownie bites - 200 grams of hazlenuts whizzed up in the food processor, then a cup of dates, half a cup of oat pulp, and 1/4 cup of cocoa powder. They were a bit wetter than they should have been, but the oat pulp was a good way of cutting through the sweetness of the dates that sometimes overwhelms raw balls.
Nutella brownie bites
I pushed some into silicon cupcake liners, and made some into balls.
Oat pulp is also a pretty fab addition to baking. I made some banana-oat muffins and bread, using oat pulp in place of half the mashed bananas. I don't know the nutrition content, but I'm sure it adds a boatload of fibre and cuts down a little on the (natural, and not bad-for-you) sugar in the bananas.
Sunday baking
The banana-oat things are in the background of our Sunday lunch of veggie sausages wrapped in bread dough. 

What is your favourite kind of milk to make? What do you do with the leftover pulp?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Garden Party

Since work has gotten busy again (evidenced by my paltry posting), the last thing I want to do is spend hours in the grocery store. I'm still happy to hang out in the kitchen for hours, but something about fighting the crowds under artificial lights as terrible music floats through the air just doesn't appeal to me! So while we are of course still shopping for things we need, we have been making serious use of the garden whenever we can.
Here's our garden looking particularly lush after 200 mm of rain.

I'm not sure if you can make out the mulched garden bed in the middle right-hand side. It used to have a big cherry tomato, some dying kale, and a fruitless watermelon. Andy decided to clear the bed, put some compost in and let it rest for a few weeks before we plant again. So we harvested all the cherry tomatoes and made spaghetti.

Cherry tomatoes, olive oil, basil and garlic. Yummm.
With some lentil balls, in the background.

Our eggplant bushes fruit prolifically, and the skinny fruits are delicious cooked on the BBQ in a mixture of soy sauce, chilli and brown sugar. On the side, some malabar spinach - a tropical vine that grows well in the humidity. (And some no-fu love loaf.)

 Our basil plants are another fast-grower, and we have made a few batches of pesto. Unlike last year, now that I have a grown-up-sized food processor, pesto is a snap.

It might seem from this post that we eat an awful lot of pasta. That is correct.
Pesto pasta with eggplants and olives.

We've also, though, taken to making bowls of whatever we can gather, plus what we have from the markets. In this peanut-lentil stew, we have eggplants, cowpeas (aka black-eyed peas, but when they are still green in the pod), and garlic chives from the garden, plus some sweet potatoes from the market and a tin of tomatoes. Served over rice, with a big squirt of sriracha, this was a delicious rainy-day meal.

The garden has also thrown up some curry-related delights. On Sunday I picked a big handful of green chillies, some lemon grass, and some lime leaves, and blended them up with dried spices to make 6 dinners' worth of curry paste - green and jalfrezi - to have throughout the next few weeks. I filled the jars just a little, with one meal's worth of curry paste, so that we can store them in the freezer until we're ready.

We haven't yet tried one of these in an actual curry, but I prefer them to store-bought because it means I don't have to go to the store!