Thursday, 17 December 2009

Dairy Alternatives

“We’re not having milk in our tea anymore,” I inform Daisy, my singing teacher. “I am!” she exclaims. “Well, today you’re not,” I reply, “I chucked all the milk down the sink.” I brew up two cups of Rooibos Earl Grey tea with rice milk. It is delicately fragrant and tastes slightly sweet.

Yesterday, in a quest to find yummy non-dairy alternatives, I emptied the shelves at Portobello Wholefoods. Since then I’ve been stuffing my face on your behalf. Here is what I’ve tried so far.

Plain Soya Yoghurt (Alpro brand - organic). This is surprisingly good. I added a few teaspoons of Tiptree Rhubarb & Ginger Conserve and it made a delicious breakfast. I also mixed a spoonful into scrambled eggs and they turned out light and creamy.

Almond Milk (EcoMil brand - organic). The Spanish drink almond milk by the bucket. I’ve tried several different brands. This is definitely the best. It is slightly sweetened with Agave syrup which makes it more palatable. Almond milk is delicious in porridge or poured over muesli. It also makes a really good chocolate drink. It's not great in tea because it leaves a grainy residue at the bottom of the cup but I imagine it might work well in coffee.

Rice Milk (Provamel brand - organic) I like it in Rooibos tea. It is much thinner than milk so one needs to use about double the amount.

Soya Milk (Alpro brand – organic) I can’t understand why anyone drinks this stuff.

Chocolate Soya Milk (Provamel brand - organic). Just divine. Better than the real thing.

Agave Syrup. There are two types, light (Crazy Jack brand - organic) and dark (The Groovy Food Company – organic). They pretty much equate to white and brown sugar. I’m not a sweet lover but my cousin Ben hoovers up the Agave Syrup in his coffee and on cereal, so it must be good.

Japanese Style Tofu Filets (Taifun brand - organic). These yellow, vacuum-packed cutlets looked bland and insipid. I did as suggested on the packet, i.e. fried them in olive oil and served them with brown rice and vegetables. I was uninspired by the look of them so I just cooked one. It was utterly delicious. I wolfed it down, along with the rice and veg and then sprang back into the kitchen to fry up the other one.

Marinated Tofu Pieces (Cauldron brand - organic). Quite nice. A bit salty. Good in a stir-fry.

Marinated Deep Fried Tempeh (Full of Beans brand - organic). I keep reading that Tempeh “tastes like veal” and so on. I’d never tried it. These dark brown slices were marked ‘ready to eat’ so I took a bite. Hmmm. Then I tried grilling a piece. I added some tomato relish. There’s no getting away from it. Tempeh tastes like deep fried stale chewy bread.


paolability said...

Well, this is interesting. I've stopped milk-based products but only because it makes me nauseous on my FEC chemo. I found a soy thick spread (like thick cream), alpro soy yoghurt and alpro milk. I had my first proper cup of tea in two months two days ago (I'd switch to fruit teas).

I contacted a vegan friend for advice a few days ago and got this reply:

"Provamel and Alpro both do readily available packs of fruit yoghurts, the Provemel yogs are organic & contain pro-bifidus, the Alpro usually have calcium too. You can get these in all the usual supermarkets and also Holland & Barrett.

"I eat loads of soy ice creemes, my favs are Tofutti who do tubs and cornetto style cones, Swedish Glace also do tubs and cornetto cones. Booja Booja do amazing cashew nut based ice-creemes, There are quite a few others that you can get from health food stores. Swedish Glace is also available at Waitrose.

"I eat Redwoods cheeses, they do lots of different ones, inc 'super melting' for pizzas, sauces and toasties;

"Sojasun do nice individual yoghurts you can buy in places like H&B, Planet Organic & Fresh n Wild/Wholefoods;

"Scheese do hard and spreadable soy cheeses available from wholefood stores; - I'm a big fan of these too.

"I use Parmezano soy parmesan substitute, they also do a cheddar sprinkly cheese. You can get them in health food shops but I've seen them in Waitrose and Sainsbury's too in their 'free from' section;

"For soy milk I tend to buy Waitrose and Tesco own brands as they're cheap and contain vitamins and calcium. Also buy Provamel & Alpro. You can also get rice, almond and Oatly milks which are all fortified - these give you a choice if you don't really like soy milks."

I hope this helps,