Butter – both dairy & vegan

Here’s the easy peasy way to make your own butter from whipping cream.

Home-Made Butter


500ml (about 1 pint) organic whipping cream
salt to taste
large bowl of ice water


  1. Tip the cream into a mixing bowl or 1 litre mason jar.
  2. If using a mixer, turn it on and let it run until it passes the whipping cream stage, turns yellow, and looks like butter; about 10 minutes with an electric mixer. There will be a lot of buttermilk separated out. If using a mason jar, shake vigorously until you have a lump of butter in a bath of buttermilk; timing depends on the strength of the agitation (hint: enlist the kids and pass the jar around!)
  3. Drain the buttermilk. You can use this in other recipes; it’s not the cultured, thickened commercial version of buttermilk, but it still retains enough protein to do its stuff in baking, pancakes etc. More like skim milk.
  4. Put the lump of butter into the bowl of ice water and press it with a spoon or knead it, changing the water regularly until it’s clear. This removes milk solids that can make the butter go rancid faster.
  5. If you wish, add salt to taste.


  • The cream will turn yellow, or yellow-ish in the making. The colour comes from beta-carotene, so how yellow the butter becomes will be a product of the dairy cow’s feed. Grass-fed cows will produce a better colour.
  • I only use organic whipping cream, as I follow the principle that it’s best to eat organic from the top of the food chain so to minimize bioaccumulation of pesticides used in conventional feedstocks.
  • You can whip up butter in your blender, but bear in mind it needs to stay cold, and high speed blenders can heat the mix up too much for good results.
  • Home-made butter is as perishable as fresh milk, so it will go off faster than commercial butter. You can wrap it in chunks for freezing if you don’t go through it very quickly.
  • You can make butter into ghee, which lasts much longer, is virtually lactose-free, and has a higher smoke point for cooking. Just heat the butter gently until the milk solids separate from the clear butterfat. Drain off the butterfat – this is ghee. (The milk solids can be added to baking or cream soups etc.)

I know, right? How can butter be vegan? It can’t! But here’s a recipe I came across that makes a version similar to commercial butter substitutes. This one uses aquafaba, the liquid from canned beans (or dried beans you have cooked yourself) that has gained popularity as an egg substitute.

Nina’s Vegan Aquafaba Butter

Makes about 16 tablespoons


1/3 cup solid coconut oil, preferably refined (unless you want coconut-flavoured butter)
4 teaspoons neutral flavoured vegetable oil
3 tablespoons aquafaba
2/3 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1/3 teaspoon salt (optional)
Pinch ground turmeric (optional)


  1. Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over low heat, then remove it from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the canola or rapeseed oil.
  2. Combine the aquafaba and vinegar or lemon juice in a Mason jar or similar container and begin blending with an immersion (stick) blender. It should start to thicken within just a few seconds, so begin pouring the oil mixture into it slowly, and continue blending until it thickens into something resembling mayonnaise.
  3. At this point, taste it to see whether it needs salt; if it does, add the 1/3 teaspoon. Mix in the turmeric, if using, to give the vegan butter a little color.
  4. Scrape the mixture into a container; refrigerate uncovered overnight or until firm. Once it’s firm, you can cover it and refrigerate or freeze, as needed.

Adapted from Washington Post, who adapted it from the Danish blog Plantepusherne.dk.

Back, with blueberries

2015Sep30BlueberryCheesecake Summer was insanely busy, and now it’s all but over. I’ve got a freezer full of berries, and a visitor with a birthday, so I thought I’d make a welcome raw blueberry cheesecake.

An excellent recipe, tried and true: gluten– and dairy-free and just as delicious as the more conventional counterpart. Perhaps more so, as it’s light and fresh-tasting. Not difficult, just a slog getting all the ingredients pureed to the right consistency.

I’ve made this several times and can’t think of a nicer and more impressive dinner party dessert which is safe for those with allergies (aside from nut allergies of course) and gluten/dairy intolerances. A celiac I made it for once declared it an excellent breakfast (she took the leftovers home) and said how grateful she was to be served a real dessert, as she’s usually fobbed off with sorbet or fruit.

Speaking of gluten intolerance, I was interested to read this article, which discusses  Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), a condition that responds well to a gluten-free diet, and Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS). The article suggests that people with NCGS may in fact have diagnosed themselves with IBS, and are self-treating by avoiding gluten. (This study, somewhat similarly, suggests that a diagnosis of IBS may prevent prompt and necessary treatment for gluten sensitivity.) All food for thought and further research. Meanwhile, let us eat (cheeseless) cheesecake!