Mediaeval Spiced Almond Milk – from The Greedy Wordsmith’s kitchen

Here’s our next recipe from expert cook and food writer Claire Davies, aka The Greedy Wordsmith.

To discover more about Claire, her workshops, and her food and copy writing services hop on over to

 Claire says…

Almonds are a common ingredient in medieval cookery. With three days a week
classed as fast days, cooks needed a regular replacement for milk and cream. This
is one recipe where I am thankful for the use of a blender; the traditional process
was of course a longer and more physically demanding task.   almonds

All of the spices in this recipe were available to cooks in the medieval era. Within medicinal recipes we can find reference to ginger as an anti-emetic, useful for stomach and gout pains.

Of course many spices were only accessible to the very rich so they were also an excellent way of showing off ones wealth.

Cocoa didn’t arrive in England until the late 1600’s but the addition of raw cacao nibs offers a subtle, malty flavour and a beneficial hit of useful antioxidants. Please note – pure cacao is quite high in caffeine so feel free to leave them out if you are a
sensitive to the effects.


150g whole almonds

50g raw cacao nibs

400 ml of filtered water

1 tbsp of ground ginger

½ tsp of ground cinnamon

A pinch of ground mace

A pinch of ground clove (optional)

A pinch of salt

Cold pressed honey or agave syrup to taste


Place the almonds in a bowl and cover with cold water. Leave to soak for at least six

hours.  When you are ready to go, strain the almonds and rinse well.

Place the soaked almonds in your blender along with the cacao nibs and filtered

water. You may need to do this in two batches depending on the size of your


Line your sieve with a piece of muslin. Sit this over a saucepan before straining the

almond milk through the muslin. Press the nut pulp to remove as much of the liquid

as possible before setting it to one side.

Bring the almond milk to the boil before reducing to a gentle simmer. At this point

add the spices, salt, 2 tbsps of your chosen sweetener and a tablespoonful of the

leftover almond pulp. Simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring regularly.

Strain one last time and check for sweetness before serving. Keep any remaining

almond milk in the fridge for a day or two.