GOT ALMOND MILK?

By Brunissende Dragonette de Brociliande, Ljretochter bn Juliana von Altenfeld

From the East Kingdom Cooks Guild, Field Research Division

In a time with no fridge, almond milk was a safe substitute of animal milk. Being of vegetal origin, it could also be incorporated in lent and other meatless days dishes. This probably explains why there are a lot of different recipes for or including Almond milk. Additionally, the modern cook will appreciate that some recipes are vegan and that almond milk can be offered to lactose-intolerant guests...Below are 2 French recipes.

A sweet almond milk (livre fort excellent de cuisine tres utile et profitable ... iditi chez olivier arnoullet- lyon 1542)

pour faire laict damandes ayes de belles amandes qui ayent este trempees ung jour et une nuit quelles se puissent plumer sans chauffer/ ce faict broyez les au mortier avecques la mye de pain blanc rostis et la detrempe de belle eaue boullue. Ce faict passes par lestamine et boutes en ung pot et faictes boullir et le passez et y boutes du sucre .

Translation: To prepare almond milk take some nice almonds soaked one day and one night so that they can be skinned without needing heat/ grind them in a mortar with roasted breadcrumbs (without the crust) and boiled water. Filter through a cheesecloth and boil it, filter again and add sugar to taste.

A salty or sweet almond milk (le menagier de Paris circa 1393)

pourboulez et pelez vos amandes, puis les mettez en eaue froide, puis les broyez et detrempez de l'eaue oy les oignons auront cuit et coulez par une estamine : puis frisiez les oignons, et mettez dedans un petit de sel, et faites boulir sur le feu, puis mettez les souppes. Et se vous faites lait d'amandes pour malades, n'y mettez aucuns oignons, et au lieu de l'eaue d'oignons pour detremper les amandes et dont dessus est parle, mettez-y et les detrempez d'eaue tiede nette et faites boulir, et n'y mettez point de sel mais sucre a foison. Et se vous en voulez faire pour boire si le coulez a l'estamine ou par deux toiles, et sucre a foison au boire.

Translation: Boil and skin your almonds, and put them in cold water, then grind them and soak them in water in which onions have been cooked and drain through a cheesecloth: cook the onions (small fire), and add a little salt, and boil on the fire (higher intensity), then add the broth (drained previously). If you are doing the almond milk for sick people, don't put any onion and instead of the onion water described above, use clean warm water and boil, and don't add salt but plenty of sugar. And to drink it strain through a cheesecloth or 2 pieces of cloth, and add plenty of sugar to taste

Here is some additional information found in Stefan's Florilegium, comments are from Lady Aoife Finn of Ynos Mon:
"Almond milk is NOT a hassle to make unless you are making it in a period manner (ie: grinding by hand in a mortar and pestle, which is not too terribly onerous once you have the knack). Modern coffee grinders or blenders or food processors make short work of grinding almonds very fine while adding a quantity of cool water. You then strain out any lumps. Voila! Almond milk. Heat it slowly, and you get almond butter, once it's drained of its liquid 'whey'."
Personal comments: Almond milk is, in fact, easy to prepare.

You grind almonds and collect, after heating, what is soluble in water or a broth of your choice. A simple filtration allows you to recover your preparation. The home-made almond like does not really taste like the one you buy, the consistency is also different and you decide of the final thickness. You have to decide if it matters for you. However, here are 2 things that doing it yourself allows you to do: -the almond powder you recover can be mixed with breadcrumbs, and milk, and a touch of sugar or honey, warmed up, and eaten that way.

For more information:

http://www.godecookery.com/nboke/nboke57.htm
http://lemur.cit.cornell.edu/~jules/almond-milk-flans.html
http://www.florilegium.org/files/FOOD/almond-milk-msg.rtf
Cindy Renfrow: Take a Thousand Eggs or More http://www.thousandeggs.com/

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Reprinted from the Fall, 2005, issue of Arts and Sciences, a special issue of the Pikestaff,
the official newsletter of the Kingdom of the East. Used by permission.