Have you heard of butterfly pea flower? Apparently it is a big thing now, or at least I see it everywhere, popping up in all kinds of preparations. It is a beautiful little flower, with an intense blue color, common in Thailand and Vietnam. You can use the flowers of the Clitoria ternatea plant (yes, that is the scientific name) to brew a beautiful tea, or you can also get it in powder form. The color changes according to the pH, so if you add lemon juice it will be pinkish purple, whereas baking soda gives a deeper blue.  Of course, the possibilities are endless to explore this ingredient. I’ve seen it used in breads (even croissants!), in cocktails and buttercreams, but today I share with you a very simple way to enjoy it, which I first saw in Lindsay’s blog, Love and Olive Oil.

(slightly modified from  Love and Olive Oil)

1 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon butterfly pea flower powder (or adjust according to preference)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch freshly ground nutmeg

In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, whisk together milk with honey, butterfly pea powder, and spices until powder is dissolved and milk is warm but not yet simmering. 

Whisk to create a fine froth using either a wire whisk, a milk-frother, or an immersion blender. 

Pour into warm mug, relax and… 


to print the recipe, click here

Comments: For this preparation, I think the powder is a must, as it is very concentrated and you don’t really need to boil the almond milk in order to get it properly dissolved. Another thing to keep in mind is that different brands of the butterfly pea powder have different strengths, mine is definitely stronger than Lindsay’s. I am now using 1/4 tsp of the powder for 1 cup of almond milk, and like the flavor better. It is hard to describe it, actually. Earthy, maybe?  Along the lines of green tea but less sharp.  I also liked it very much with cardamon instead of nutmeg.  Below is a picture of a version with reduced amount of powder (1/4 tsp instead of 1 full tsp).

Some say this beverage helps combat insomnia. I am an excellent subject to test the hypothesis, and I can tell you it failed big time to have any positive effect. But I like the flavor, the color, and the soothing atmosphere that holding the cup with the hot, light blue liquid provides.  Of course, I intend to play with it in the near future. Macarons? You’d think?

Matching fingernails, just a happy coincidence…

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Remember my cauliflower puree made with almond milk instead of cream?  In that post I mentioned another recipe from Food and Wine that uses almond milk: a creamed spinach finished in the oven with a coating of bread crumbs and Marcona almonds.  Of course, right after publishing that post, Marcona almonds were nowhere to be found…  Apparently there has been a shortage of these almonds in Spain, so if you happen to find them where you live, act fast.   Our Dillon’s store got a shipment last month, and I grabbed a bag faster than Buck catches a cookie in mid-air.

Almond Milk Creamed Spinach

(from Food and Wine magazine)

Four 5-ounce bags baby spinach
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup grated Cotija cheese
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
2 tablespoons finely chopped marcona almonds

Preheat the oven to 425°. In a large saucepan, heat 1 inch of water. Add the spinach by the handful; allow each handful to wilt before adding more. When the spinach is wilted, drain it, pressing out as much water as possible. Wipe out the pot.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the pot. Add the shallots; cook over moderate heat until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the almond milk and simmer until very thick, whisking occasionally, 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese and spinach. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon into a baking dish.
In a small bowl, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the panko and almonds and sprinkle over the creamed spinach. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  My Mom used to make creamed spinach the old-fashioned way, basically a bechamel-sauce into which some sautéed spinach was mixed in. Much to her despair, I never touched it.  I actually never touched spinach in any type of recipe, raw, cooked, even a ravioli with spinach filling was not welcome on my plate. But, of course I wised up at some point and to quote my virtual friend Sawsan“I made peace with spinach”.  😉

When I made this recipe, I did not think it would have a happy ending.  The key point is to have the right proportion of almond cream to spinach, and that’s not very easy to achieve.  I  printed the recipe exactly as published in Food and Wine, but I halved it.   To do so, I needed only 10 ounces of spinach, but more spinach would have been better.  I advise you to made the almond cream, wilt all the spinach you have and then hold back some of the cream. You want the spinach to be  nicely coated by cream, but not swimming in it.   I did not add melted butter to the Panko, just sprinkled all over the dish and half way through baking I softly pressed the coating into the cream. Since my concoction already seemed to have too high a cream to spinach ratio, I thought the melted butter would complicate matters further.  So, to summarize, I think this recipe has potential, but it needs some tweaking.

Creamed spinach goes very well with fish, so I served it with grilled salmon & white rice.  Simple, but very tasty. Almonds and spinach make a very nice combination. If you don’t like almond milk, a regular bechamel sauce like my Mom used to make, decorated with toasted slivered almonds would be a nice dish too.



I am not sure why it took me so long to try almond milk, but  I fell in love with it the moment I tasted it.  This one is my favorite, the plain and lighter version made by Silk.   It is part of my daily routine now, half a glass of almond milk right before going to work, and another half after lunch.  Shockingly cold is best, by the way.   Phil used it in his lunch smoothies in place of  yogurt and loved it too. My passion for almond milk started me on a virtual expedition in the internet chasing for recipes using it in cooking.   I was pleasantly surprised to find quite an extensive number of possibilities.  My first adventure with Silk was a winner:  cauliflower puree.  I share with you the recipe,  inspired by Food and Wine.


(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

1 medium-sized head of cauliflower
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 celery stalk, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 shallot, diced
Half gallon Light Almond Milk (or slightly less)
salt and pepper

Prepare the cauliflower by removing the outer leaves and the central core.  Cut the florets off, slicing the large ones in two or three pieces.

Heat the oil on a skillet. Saute the celery, onion, and red bell pepper until the onion is golden, and the mixture is very fragrant. Season with a little salt and black pepper.   Add the cauliflower to the skillet and cook it on high heat for a couple of minutes, stirring often.  Transfer the mixture to a saucepan so that the cauliflower fill it no more than halfway up.   Add almond milk to the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil.   Reduce the heat, cover the pan keeping the lid slightly ajar, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender.

Transfer the cooked cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor, keeping the almond milk in the pan.  No need to drain it completely, the amount of liquid that stick to the florets will help ensure a nice texture.   Process until smooth.  If necessary, add a little more warm almond milk.   Test for seasoning.   Serve warm.


to print the recipe, click here

As I said, my first adventure with almond milk in cooking won’t be the last. In fact, I have this recipe on my “to try soon” folder, and hope I can actually switch it into the “tried and true”  in the near future.  One store in town normally carries Marcona almonds, which is the only tricky ingredient to find. With that in hand, I should be good to go.

Probably because I used light almond milk instead of full fat, the liquid seemed to separate a little as the cauliflower cooked. It definitely did not harm the dish, so if you use the light version, ignore its looks.  It will all come together in a silky happy ending!


Our dinner felt quite special, considering it took place at the height of our kitchen renovation. Here is the full menu for that evening:  roasted chicken thighs marinated in beer-soy-orange (marinade to be blogged about soon), green beans with almonds, and the cauliflower puree.  Mr. Hamilton roasted the chicken thighs, Mr. Breville broiled the skin for a couple of minutes, and our single burner induction stove took care of the rest.  A few sautéed almonds on top of the puree tied both side dishes together quite nicely… even if I say so myself…   😉


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