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Food & Drink

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

How To Keep Milk Cool on Your Doorstep In Summer

Does your milkman deliver milk in the dead of night? In winter, it’s no big deal, but in summer, it can cause milk to spoil quicker. Here’s how to keep milk cool on your doorstep in summer to help reduce food waste.

Way back in January we switched to getting our oat milk delivered by our local milkman. And boy, has it been one of the best plastic-free switches we’ve made. We’re not discarding tetra-paks anymore. Instead, the oat milk is delivered in returnable glass bottles, and the milk itself is made by a UK-based oat milk company – Oato. In fact, I need to add the company to my guide to the best oat milk as I think it’s hands down the best milk. If you happen to be in Central Scotland, then I get mine delivered through McQueens.

We’ve had zero problems with the milk since January. However, over the last few weeks, when it’s been really warm, we’ve noticed the milk going off really quickly, and I couldn’t work out why. I had entertained the idea that perhaps the milk was going off on our doorstep, as it hasn’t been particularly cool in the mornings lately. But I thought the milkman delivered our milk at around 5 or 6 am, and that an hour or two sitting outside wouldn’t have much effect on the milk.

The Ah-Ha Moment

Then one evening, I had been beavering away working on Moral Fibres whilst the rest of my family slept. In the summertime, when my kids are off school, it’s the only time I really get to work on the site undisturbed, and I ended up working until 11:40 pm. Whilst I was creeping through the hall, trying not to wake anyone, I heard a clanking noise outside my door. I thought someone or something had knocked over our empty milk bottles. That was until I realised it was the milkman. It turns out they deliver our milk before midnight! This means our milk is usually sitting outside on our doorstep for more than 7 hours before we get up, which isn’t particularly cool. This isn’t a problem for most of the year, but in summer it’s not ideal.

That evening, I was able to bring the milk bottles in and pop them straight into the fridge. However, I’m usually in bed way before 11:40 pm, so I started to think how best to keep milk cool on our doorstep until morning, to stop it from going off. Here’s what I came up with.

How To Keep Milk Cool On Your Doorstep Until Morning

tips on how keep milk cool on your doorstep in summer

If your milk has been going off on your doorstep in the summer heat, then don’t worry. My best and easiest solution to keep milk bottles cool on your doorstep until morning is a simple freezer bag. Just before I go to bed I pop an ice pack inside a freezer bag (just a standard freezer bag from the supermarket) and leave it on my doorstep. The weight of the ice pack not only prevents the bag from blowing away but also keeps the milk nice and cool on our doorstep until we wake up. No more off milk, and less food waste.

For another top tip, on the first evening, I left a note on the door for the milkman saying to pop the milk in the bag. The milkman knows the drill now.

If you don’t have a freezer bag and ice pack to hand, then there’s no need to go out and buy anything new. I’ve also heard of people leaving a shallow bucket of cold water outside their front door, for the milkman to pop the milk into. I’d also reckon that would work pretty well.

Any other tips or techniques that you use? Do share in the comments below!

Food & Drink, Kitchen Staples

How to Make Vegan Chocolate – 3 Ways

Want to know how to make vegan chocolate? I’ve got three easy sugar-free chocolate recipes for you today.

Joanne Wood from the blog The Balanced Kitchen has got this fantastic recipe for dark chocolate chilli and orange vegan chocolate. And not only is it vegan, but it’s also free from refined sugar too, for that healthier edge.

how to make vegan chocolate, three ways

Joanna has helpfully shown us how to make the chocolate in three different ways, depending on our preferences and budget. She’ll talk you through the differences each option makes to the chocolate, to help you decide which option suits you best.

How to Make Vegan Chocolate – 3 Ways

Prep time: 5 minutes 

Cook time: 5 minutes 

Chilling time: 3 hours 

Servings: 15 chocolates 

Equipment required: Floral silicone moulds*

Vegan Chocolate Option 1 – With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil gives a creamier texture to your vegan chocolate. However, it does tend to melt more easily in warmer weather if left at room temperature.  It’s the cheapest option and the easiest to prepare.

  • 100 g coconut oil (the white solid oil, not the fractionated liquid oil)
  • 25 g raw cacao powder 
  • 1.5 TBSP powdered xylitol – grind the xylitol to a powder in a coffee grinder 
  • 2 tsp orange zest 
  • 1 pinch chilli powder

Option 2 – 100% Dark Chocolate

100% dark chocolate is becoming more widely available in supermarkets and shops. This recipe is mid-price. And of the three vegan chocolate options, it’s easy to prepare and gives a nice, hard consistency for the finished chocolates.

  • 100 g 100% dark chocolate 
  • 1.5 TBSP xylitol – grind the xylitol to a powder in a coffee grinder 
  • 2 tsp orange zest 
  • 1 pinch chilli powder

Option 3 – Cacao Butter and Cocoa Powder

Cacao Butter is more expensive and harder to source than the other recipes. You will need to visit a health shop or buy it online. The good news, however, is that cacao butter can be kept in the freezer and melted down as needed.  It’s best bought in button-sized pieces for ease of using the quantity needed.  Cacao butter gives a harder consistency than coconut oil for the vegan chocolates once prepared.

  • 100 g cacao butter 
  • 25 g dark cocoa powder 
  • 1.5 TBSP xylitol – grind the xylitol to a powder in a coffee grinder 
  • 2 tsp orange zest 
  • 1 pinch chilli powder

Method

  1. For all options, begin by melting the coconut oil / Dark Chocolate / Cacao Butter in a bain-marie. To make a bain-marie, simply place the ingredients in a bowl and pop the bowl over the top of a pan which has two inches of water in it. Heat the water over a medium heat until the ingredients have melted, stirring continuously. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.
  1. Once the coconut oil / dark chocolate / cacao butter has melted, remove the bowl from the pan and turn off the heat. Place the bowl on a heat-proof surface and stir in the raw cacao or dark cocoa powder. Please, note, you do not need to add chocolate to the 100% dark chocolate option.
  1. Next, add the powdered xylitol and a pinch of chilli powder and stir until combined.
  1. Place the chocolate silicone mould onto a moveable flat surface. A baking tray or chopping board works well.
  1. Sprinkle a small amount of orange zest into each mould. 
  1. Now spoon the vegan chocolate mixture on top until each mould is full.
  1. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours before removing each chocolate from its mould. Store your chocolates in a suitable airtight container.
  1. It is best to eat these within 4 days of making them – not that they will last that long! This is because the chocolate can start to crystallise after then.

You can also check out my post on healthier baking tips, which includes healthy vegan alternatives to dairy products. And don’t forget to check out Joanne’s blog, or follow her on Instagram.