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Tag: coconut

Coconut Macaroons

coconut macaroons

…And merry December to you too.

My expectations of a cold winter have been fulfilled (woo!), it has snowed once and rained a few more other times. Switzerland, it’s good to be back.

 

It’s biscuit season over here, and enthusiastic about European tradition as I am, I’m surprised it’s taken me this long to tell you guys about my first batch of goodies. They’re quite wonderful, if I say so myself. They’re nothing typically traditional, but still familiar enough and a bunch of fun to shape. The trick to getting moist, sticky-centred, yet toasty crunchy crusted macaroons is to give them a pre-treatment in a large frypan, giving them plenty of rest time before finishing them off in the oven.

coconut macaroon 2

Coconut Macaroon Pyramids

from the wonderful David Leibovitz

Makes 30-35

 

4 large egg whites

1¼ cups / 275g sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon honey

2½ cups / 230g desiccated coconut

¼ cup / 40g flour

½ teaspoon vanilla essence

 

In a large frypan, mix together the egg whites, sugar, salt, honey, coconut and flour.

Over low heat, stir the mixture constantly, making sure you scrape the bottom to prevent it from scorching.

When the mixture becomes hot, stir it for 2-3 more minutes, then remove it from the heat and add the vanilla essence. Transfer it to a bowl and cool it to room temperature – it will be a lot easier to handle then.

If you’re not in a hurry, or completely forgot you had something important on, you can cover the macaroon dough and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.

However, if you are ready, preheat your oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.

Form 1 Tbsp mounds of the mixture into triangular pyramids. To help get each side nice and flat, flatten it gently on an even surface. If your hands get to sticky, give them a rinse under some cold water Space them evenly on the baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until deep golden brown. Cool completely.

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Coriander and Coconut Chutney

coriander coconut chutney

You’ve looked at the photo, haven’t you, and gone, “ But Laura, I can see more triangles there. Aren’t you going to talk about them? I like triangles, and I sort of really want one for breakfast now.” Yes and no kitten. This week I want to dedicate this post to this glorious chutney. Why? Because it’s delicious and I don’t think you’d bother if I’d give you the triangles first. And because I like being a tease.

But seriously. This chutney man. Ugh. It’s beautifully mild, yet complex in flavor. The sweet creaminess of the coconut marries beautifully with the fresh coriander and mint, with a subtle complexity added by the curry leaves.  It’s delicious in sandwiches, but most of all, amazing paired with Indian food. Especially samosas. Crunchy potato and pea samosas.  Tasty ones.

Enough teasing, lets get to the recipe.

Coriander and Coconut Chutney

 

Makes quite a bit – about 1 ½ cups

 

We’re aiming for a thick, runny consistency, which is exactly what you’ll get once you’ve made it. However, after a couple of hours in the fridge, it will become quite firm. Just add a bit of water to thin it out, and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

1 cup (90g) shredded coconut

250ml coconut milk

1 tsp ground cumin

1 bunch coriander, roughly chopped

12 mint leaves

1 tsp salt

1 big Tbsp peanut butter

¼ lime, juice

for tempering

1 Tbsp oil

1 tsp mustard seeds

8 curry leaves, torn (dried are fine)

¼ tsp chilli flakes, or more to taste

Place the shredded coconut in a heatproof bowl. Boil the kettle and cover the coconut with water. Let it sit for about half an hour or until cool. This will soften it and make it easier to puree.  Once it’s cooled, pour off any water remaining. Add the coconut milk, and whip out your hand held blender. Give it a blend for a couple of minutes, until the coconut shreds are shreds no more, then add the cumin, coriander leaves, mint leaves, salt, peanut butter and lime juice, and continue blending. It’s up to you how smooth or chunky you want it, but I tend to aim for smooth.

Now, in a fry pan, heat the oil over low heat. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves and chilli, and give them a bit of a shake. Once the mustard seeds start popping – which won’t take long – remove from the heat and pour over the coconut mixture. Stir it in and bam! Ze chutney is ready to go.

Keeps in an airtight container for about a week.

Lemons and Coconut

one little lemon slice

Little Cousin Eileen used to love lemon slices.  So small and frail with a big cloudy mop of blue hair, you’d think she’d get blown away if you’d turn the fan up high enough. But it was that wilful, slightly cantankerous character of hers that kept her going till 96. An interesting little lady she was. I often sit in the rocking chair Grandma inherited from her and ask myself how she didn’t get dizzy by that rocking rate. And the consumption of the many lemon slices. Perhaps even the two combined?

I don’t know if she’d like these – they’re a little different to the dense standard version you can get at the bakery. If it’s an indication at all, the first time I made a batch, Grandma’s lady friends went nuts about them. And if three lots of women with four times more cooking experience than I have ask me for a recipe, well then it is definitely an honour on my behalf to share it.

What you end up with is a cinnamon-kissed shortbread base, slathered with a tart and creamy lemon curd with a crisp coconut macaroon topping. Sexy stuff.

lemon slices

Lemon Curd and Coconut Macaroon Slice

Makes 12 or so

For the crust

150g / 1 cup plain flour

75g / 1/3 cup caster sugar

½ tsp salt

½ tsp ground cinnamon

125g cold unsalted butter, cubed

For the lemon curd

150g butter

¾ cup caster sugar

pinch salt

½ cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)

1 tsp grated lemon zest

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

2 Tbsp double cream

2 Tbsp plain flour

For the coconut topping

2 egg whites

pinch of salt

½ caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence

180g / 2 cups shredded coconut

For the base, preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 20 cm square baking dish with baking paper. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Rub in the butter with your fingers until it resembles sand, then knead together until a dough forms. Press into the bottom of the prepared tin and bake for 10 minutes until ever so slightly golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and lower the heat to 160°C.

In the meantime, make your lemon curd. I am an impatient person so I forego the double boiler method and just do it in a saucepan. Just keep whisking the crap out of your curd and you won’t have to worry about curdled egg. So in a small saucepan, melt the butter on a low heat. Add the sugar, salt, lemon juice, zest and vanilla. You don’t want the mixture boiling, just nicely warm. Again, a shortcut created by me to speed up the process. (You can start with cold ingredients if you want.) Add the eggs and yolks, and start whisking. Keep at it until it thickens to the consistency of custard, or yoghurt or whatever you want to compare it to. Remove from the heat and stir in the double cream and flour. You can now pour it over the base.

Whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl for a few seconds with a fork, then add the salt, sugar and vanilla and whisk a little longer. Stir in the coconut and distribute over the lemon curd. Bake for 20 minutes, checking regularly to see how the coconut’s going, because it browns quite quickly. Once it’s golden brown and some of the tips have caramelised even darker, remove from the oven and cool. Then place in the fridge to firm up before cutting into as many squares as you want.

Chances are your grandma will love these, too.

Can I have some more of that?

Alright sweethearts, it’s curry time. But before I go off on a tangent about coconut milk and why I left the religion of vegetarianism, I would like to let you in on a little secret. I love curries. No, seriously. So much as that I would choose my last supper to be curry. Preferably thali – style, with about 20 different types. Yum. But while we’re all alive with plenty of years ahead of us, let’s continue with coconut milk. I have had my fair share of bland-tasting white goopy glue labelled “Organic Super Creamy Tasty Coconut Cream”. Bull. A few years of taste-testing have lead me to the hydrated coconut milk powder from Ayam. A definite winner. You can get it pretty much everywhere in the world now. Just in case you were wondering. Up to you what you want to use, just be careful. You’re halfway to an amazing curry, so don’t wreck it.

Now, to the veggie bit. I’ve been a meat-avoider for about 17 years of my life now. The reason for this being my parents, and my child-self feeling sorry for the going-to-be slaughtered animals. I guess things have changed. A bite of chicken kebab here, a spoonful of beef lasagne there. It actually started to taste good! Mind, I’m still at the beginning stage of things. The more processed, the more the likelihood that I like it. I know, I’m ashamed about that. One day, in the distant future, you’ll see me eating a rare steak. Promise. But until then, I’ll stick to dry chicken and burgers. And much much better things of course. Like this curry.

Red Thai Chicken Curry

Serves about 4

2/3 of the red curry paste I was talking about in the previous post

500 ml chicken stock, plus more

1 box coconut milk powder (3 packets)

1 ½ red capsicums, sliced thinly

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks

1 large handful of green beans, topped and tailed, sliced at an angle into 3
(this is so they cook at the same rate as the rest of the vegetables)

½ lime, juice, plus wedges to serve

the reserved coriander leaves

Cooked jasmine or basmati rice

5 chicken thighs, cut into 3 cm pieces, seasoned lightly

The rest of the curry paste

1 Tbsp honey

Get a nice big saucepan and start frying off the curry paste. Once it looses that raw “bite” and starts smelling quite delicious, add the chicken stock , which you have previously mixed with the coconut milk powder. This just makes it easier to dissolve. Bring to the boil. Once all the coconutty lumps have gone, take it off the flame.

Time to make start cooking the rice. I’m quite confident you know how to do this.

While the rice is bubbling away, add your chicken pieces to a frypan with a glug of oil and fry till all sides are sealed, but not cooked through. Add the paste and the honey and stir till well coated. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until done.

Just before serving, Reheat the curry sauce, and add the sliced vegetables. Boil for a few minutes until cooked to your liking (still lightly crunchy, in my case). Add some seasoning and the lime juice.

Get 4 big soup bowls, fill with the amazing-smelling curry, top with a little mound of rice, the tender, spice-crusted chicken and a handful of fresh coriander leaves. Serve with lime wedges.

Told you so.

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