Jillian R.
I've been making my own non-dairy milk for the past year. Homemade milks are very economical and you always know every single ingredient that is used (or not; namely preservatives).

I've made many successful batches of soy milk, oat milk, almond milk and very recently, chocolate hazelnut  milk.

Soy Milk; growing up in South East Asia, fresh soy milk is available everywhere - street stalls, hawker centers, restaurants; you name it, they got it! As a result, I never got used to drinking bottled soy milk. Making it myself is the only way to go

Oat Milk; very low in fat (1% of cow's milk), provides the body with complex carbohydrates and loads of other goodies which our bodies will thank us for - Source
 (The doggie paws belong to our Ginger)

 Chocolate Hazelnut Milk; it's like drinking Nutella, need I say more?

Unfortunately, I just realized that I don't have any pictures of the batches of almond milk that I've made. I will update when I do.

Anyway, the soy and oat milks are extremely cheap to make; a 300g (10oz) bag of soy beans makes about 2 liters (70 fl oz) of milk and and costs a little less than a dollar per bag. And rolled oats (never instant!), well, they cost what they cost - which is not very much.

As I was making my latest batch of hazelnut milk; Eric stood beside me and started stealing handfuls of the pressed hazelnuts. He also told me to save him some after I was done so that he could eat it later.

That was three days ago. This morning, I saw the bowl of pressed chocolate flavored hazelnuts in the fridge and decided to make a cake out of it. 

This Chocolate Hazelnut Cake turned out be one of the best cakes I've ever had - and I don't even like cakes OR nuts*!

I guess, technically this is not a cake but a torte as it contains no flour. Truth be told, I never liked homemade chocolate cakes which are made "chocolatey" by cocoa powder. Whenever I make the mistake of trying some, it is always dry and/or smeared with too much frosting to hide its dryness. Whenever I make chocolate cake, it HAS to be with real chocolate. This torte is not only very moist, the hazelnut liqueur (I used Frangelico) really makes the flavors pop. It's so delicious that this torte does not need any frosting!

So, I think we will be having lots of Nutella milk (yes, it's what we're calling the hazelnut milk) in the future; since it really makes me feel good about not wasting anything, and there's cake to go with it! I know Eric will be very happy - my husband is a bee, don't you know? 

*I have a weird love-hate relationship with nuts. I like the nutty flavor, but I've always hated the texture. I couldn't eat an ice-cream with nuts sprinkled on top unless I scrape it off. However, if the nuts are ground and mixed into the ice-cream, I'd love it!
Jillian R.
I made these more than two weeks ago, but due to procrastination, I never got around to writing this entry. Now, 2013 had rolled in and I just couldn't put it off any longer.

When I was a little girl, my family lived with my grandmother. Every year, before the Chinese Lantern Festival, my grandmother, mother, aunts, and us kids (my cousins and I) would get together in our big dining room and rolled tang yuan; which are glutinous rice balls. Because I could not make balls which were round, my mother made me leave the ones I made on one side of the tray so that she could "fix" mine later. I have fond memories of making tang yuan, because it was the time of the year when my father would take me to the lantern shop and I got to pick a new lantern. I suppose in a cooler climate, these lanterns could be reused the following year but in hot and humid South East Asia, the glass paper becomes out of shape quickly and we would have a really odd looking lantern after a few weeks. 

While some of the other kids in the family (my siblings included) used to get paper or battery-operated plastic (scoff!) ones, I always got proper wire-glass paper ones - because I was the eldest kid, so I guess, I knew not to drip candle wax on my hands...

(Glass Lantern. Picture Source: Flickr)

Anyway, every year, my mother still makes a small batch of tang yuan, but ever since moving out from my parents' house (4 years now), I haven't had any.

This year, I decided to be brave and make my own. After all, I think I am able to make round balls now...being 27 and all.

My rice balls ALL turned out shaped like footballs (the American kind!), and I had to press them slightly so make them round. I guess some things never change.

The balls were then boiled. When they floated, they were ready!

Tang yuan is usually served in a sweet syrup, but I thought I would try them with a little soy milk.

I eventually ran out of soy milk so I served it the traditional way. Not a bad first try I would say. Maybe next year I'll make some filled tang yuan. We'll see! 

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