Oh, whether in a mug
Or a little china jug,
There’s nothing in the world so nice as milk
I have a little china milk jug: it’s curvy and quaint and decorated with the nursery rhyme Polly put the kettle on. As one of my most treasured kitchen pieces, I love to fill it up with milk and add it to a vintage tea spread – teapot, teacups, cucumber sandwiches and all. The only difference is the milk I fill Polly’s jug with is soya milk not cow’s milk. Soya milk is a new-found love of mine. If you haven’t tried it yet, I suggest you grab a bottle and make yourself a hot chocolate with it. It’ll warm your cockles like an ordinary hot chocolate but the taste is creamier and heartier – and, amazingly, it’s better for you.
There are some great reasons for drinking soya milk. The crux of it is that cow’s milk is high in saturated fat and cholesterol, whereas soya milk is mostly unsaturated and has the added bonus of containing absolutely no cholesterol – because it’s made from plants rather than being an animal by-product. But what about the calcium? This is often the question on everyone’s lips at the mention of removing milk from any diet, but in truth soya milk is actually beneficial for bones. It is high in natural proteins (excellent news for vegans) and as these are purely vegetable proteins, they are better for our bones. That’s right, soya milk is actually better than cow’s milk for retaining calcium that could be lost through the kidneys. There is also a high content of natural isoflavones – great little chaps that boost immunity, ease menopause symptoms, reduce the risk of certain cancers and lower cholesterol.
I’m all for healthy eating, but for me it really boils down to flavour. I love the taste of soya milk – as do many others. Over the past few years, the range of soya products available in supermarkets has risen dramatically. You may have seen more and more soya milks packing up the chilled aisle, alongside rice and almond milks. It seems the demand for non-dairy milk is growing. Visit Tesco after the 14th January and you’ll find a new brand of soya milk, Vive Soy – a clear sign that this great-tasting milk is on the up. What’s more you’ll see flavours like chocolate, vanilla and cappuccino; opening up a whole realm of pudding potential to the canny vegan or the lactose intolerant.
I spent a quite lot of this Christmas drinking my own homemade Baileys… This sounds more impressive than it actually is – it simply consisted of adding a splash of whiskey to the cappuccino flavoured Vive Soy and pouring over ice cubes – so delicious. It’s also a lot cheaper than a bottle of Baileys if you already have whiskey lurking in the cupboard. I also had a bottle of the vanilla flavour stashed away and used this to make a dreamy vegan ice cream: frozen banana and a splash of milk popped in a blender and hey presto! Flavoured soya milk, I have discovered, is the lazy way to amazing desserts. What’s even better is that soya milk is also naturally lower in sugar than cow’s milk, so even these scrumptious flavoured varieties will be better for your teeth than flavoured milk.