Hey there! I'm not sure if you're a new or old reader of this blog. Either way, there's a chance you may know that some months ago, I started doing some partly insane but mainly educational(I cringe at the boringness of this word and I'm a teacher, sorry) and fun(for me) posts revolving around a particular ingredient. Being a horrible food nerd, I got a massive kick out of it and found that I was challenged to try new dishes and I even invented a few new ones. The insane bit comes in when I'm find myself eating coconut rice, fennel or prunes every night for a week.
Anyways, the wheels kind of fell off those posts last year when I wound up living in Africa for a few months. But now, just this week, they're back! I made a conscious effort/decision to revive this old thing this week and I loved it. Mostly because I chose one of my all time favorite ingredients, to experiment with; coconut!
I picked coconut this week mainly because the Australian summer is drawing to a close and a coconutty fiesta seems like a good way to say arrivederci to this glorious season. But also because my time in the tropical west African nation of Ghana, made me fall even more in live with the coconut. Since I've been home, I've been obsessed. Baking with it, rolling juicy slices of pineapple I it and drinking the watery belly of the fresh ones they sell at the store up the road from my house. (Did you know they're full of electrolytes! It's true.) I'm so into them but I do draw the line at hacking open and cutting the flesh from a fresh one. It's a plain old pain in the caboose. So here are some dishes that involve coconut in it's more convenient form.
Thai Style Coconut Soup
I made the coconut soup recipe from Sarah B's blog, My New Roots. It's so easy make and super delicious. I also liked this chilled, minus the mushrooms with bean shoots.You can find the recipe here.
Where's the coconut? It's in the water the corn was boiled in! Amaze. It tastes amaze too.
1 x 400ml can of coconut milk
2 cups of water
Salt and pepper
One red chilli, chopped(optional)
Bring the water and coconut milk to the boil. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Break the corn in half and add to the pan. Cook over high heat until all the liquid is absorbed. This takes around twenty minutes, but keep your eye on it as the milk can burn. I served mine with chopped coriander but I reckon rolling them in crisp shallots and peanuts would be good too.
Dark Chocolate and Coconut Biscuits
Here's a recipe I've been making since I was about 8. I've still got a hand written version, faithfully copied from an old Gourmet Traveller, that I would fax to relatives in Melbourne when they asked for it. It's one of my favourites. There's a little milk in the batter, which means you get a nice, soft, chewy biscuit and also that the dough bakes up much more nicely if you chill it for a at least an hour before baking. It makes 60 but can easily be halved.
250g soft butter
3 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 a cup of cocoa
1 teaspoon of salt
1 2/3 cups of desicated coconut
350g dark chocolate bits
Cream the sugar and butter until light and fluffly. Add 2 lightly beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons of milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Combine well then add the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Mix well then add the coconut and chocolate. Roll into logs and refridgerate for at least one hour. Preheat the oven to 180C and arrange tablespoon sized balls of dough, at least 5cm apart on baking trays. Bake 10-15 minutes, leave on the tray for 5 minutes, then cool on wire racks. Makes 60.