Tag Archives: coconut

Sugar-free gluten-free coconut crumpets

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This 21-day sugar detox has been a surprising experience so far. Until I began this detox, I had no idea such a thing as coconut flour even existed!

Crumpets/pancakes made with coconut flour

Crumpets/pancakes made with coconut flour

Of course once I discovered it, I immediately wanted to try making my favourite food with coconut flour :mrgreen: As you know by now, my favourite food is crepes (called pancakes here in South Africa), with crumpets (called pancakes overseas) following a close second.

The various recipes I browsed through seemed to suggest that crepes would be a bit tricky (though not impossible) to get right with coconut flour, so I decided to try out a recipe for crumpets/pancakes instead. I came across this recipe, which seemed simple and used ingredients I had on hand.

I adapted it a little because I can’t have honey or other sweeteners while I’m on the 21DSD detox, so this is what I used:

Ingredients

4 whole eggs

1/4 C coconut flour (finely sifted to remove all clumps)

1/4 C plain full-cream yoghurt

1 t vanilla essence

1 t mixed spice

Butter/oil/coconut oil for frying

Coconut flour pancakes

Ingredients

Most of the info I read about coconut flour referred to how quickly it absorbs liquids. Since I didn’t want these crumpets to soak up too much butter, I only used a little butter and fried the pancakes in a non-stick pan. It was perfectly easy:

Method

1. Mix all ingredients to make a batter.

2. Fry spoonfuls in a little oil/butter on a medium to high heat.

Fry crumpets in coconut oil, vegetable oil or butter

Fry crumpets in coconut oil, vegetable oil or butter

3. Carefully flip over when the bottom has cooked and bubbles start to form around the top edges.

4. Once golden brown and cooked through, remove from pan and drain (if needed).

Make sure both sides are golden brown

Make sure both sides are golden brown

5. Serve with your toppings of choice.

Coconut flour pancakes with green apple and pecan nuts

Coconut flour pancakes with green apple and pecan nuts

These turned out pleasantly delicious, but I did miss the sweetness I’m used to. To pep up these healthy crumpets, I enjoyed them with my daily allowance of one green apple, as well as some pecan nuts and desiccated coconut.

Not a bad way to make it through another sugarless day 😉

Crunchy oat and cereal bars

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Remember how my first attempt at making cereal bars turned out? Well, if at first you don’t succeed… right? 🙂

I was determined to figure out a good recipe for homemade bars that ticked the following boxes:

  • They had to be egg-free, because I need them to keep well (unfridged) for a whole week
  • They had to be easy to vary, because I just don’t do monotony :mrgreen:
  • They had to dry into a hard, crunchy form – and stay that way
  • They had to be as healthy as possible
  • And of course, they had to taste great

Cereal bars

Here’s the first recipe I came up with after trying to balance the wet and dry ingredients so the bars wouldn’t fall apart:

Ingredients

2 C cereal (I used Kellogg’s rice-and-wheat cereal flakes that I crushed a little)

1 C puffed brown rice

1 C desiccated coconut

1/4 C syrup

1/4 C peanut butter

1/4 C honey

1 t vanilla essence

40 g butter

Method

1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Step 1

2. Melt together the syrup, peanut butter, honey, butter and vanilla essence.

Step 2

3. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and stir well.

4. Press the mixture into a lined baking tray.

Step 4

Step 4

5. Bake at 190 °C for 15–20 minutes, until golden and toasty.

6. Carefully cut into slices as soon as they’re out the oven, then leave to cool completely.

Step 6

Step 6

Note: Don’t be like me, thinking you can squeeze in a game (or three) of Plants vs Zombies while these bake! Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn. Mine were a teensy bit too toasted, though still edible.

Crunchy cereal bars

Crunchy cereal bars

Verdict

  • These weren’t bad for a thumb-sucked recipe, but they were a bit too peanut buttery for my liking.
  • They held together very well and stayed crunchy all week (I wrapped them individually in clingwrap and stored them in an airtight biscuit tin).
  • This recipe would really benefit from using rice paper to line the baking tray. I had a tough time getting the bars off the baking paper and vice versa.
  • The wet ingredient mix was just a tiny bit short, so at the last moment of mixing I had to add a further blob of melted butter so that all the wet and dry ingredients would form a proper mixture.

Healthy lunchbox snacks

After we’d eaten up that first batch, I made the recipe again for the next week, but with the following tweaks:

Ingredients

1 C puffed brown rice

1 C cereal

1 C rolled oats

3/4 C desiccated coconut

1/4 C filled with pumpkin seeds, flax seeds (linseeds) and sesame seeds

1/4 C syrup

1/8 C honey

1/8 C peanut butter

1 t vanilla essence

50 g butter

1 small carob chunk

Method

The method is the same as above, except that I melted a carob chunk with the rest of the wet ingredients.

Verdict

These refinements to the recipe made it even better. I preferred the bars with less peanut butter, and the carob added a pleasant chocolatey flavour. The bars were slightly soft though, so I’m thinking of reducing the butter to 40 g next time so that the bars aren’t too moist. They lasted well for a whole week, although by Friday they were starting to feel a bit soft.

I’ll keep tweaking an experimenting until I find the perfect concoction! 🙂

Apple crumble to the rescue

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Do you also find that some success stories from the kitchen start out as disasters at first?

That’s what happened with my recent attempt at making oat bars. I wanted to whip up some healthy lunchbox snacks for when I begin working out of the house again next week. So I bought a range of yummy ingredients that I wanted to include, and then spent ages on the internet trying to find a good recipe.

My word. Have you ever tried to find a good oat bar/granola bar/muesli bar recipe on the web? There are thousands and thousands to choose from. There are ones made with egg and there are dairy-free bars. There are soft and chewy granola bars and there are hard and crunchy bars. There are muesli bars that must be refrigerated and those that must be baked. The possible ingredients and combinations are staggering!

In the end, I decided to make up my own mix (which didn’t exactly work, so I won’t give you the recipe here). I used various quantities of rolled oats, coconut, chopped nuts, pumpkin seeds, dried blueberries, poppy seeds, puffed brown rice and honey, syrup, sugar and butter to glue it all together.

My original attempt at an oat bar mix

My original attempt at an oat bar mix

It came out very soft and sticky, not hardening at all. It did taste amazing though!

A delicious disaster

A delicious disaster

I didn’t want to waste all those wonderful ingredients, so I crumbled it up and mixed in some flour and a bit of extra brown sugar.

Rescuing the mix with flour

Rescuing the mix with flour

Then I lined a pie dish with sliced sour green apples (Granny Smith) and added some raisins and spices.

The base of my apple crumble

I also added my crumbled failed muesli bar mix on top… and topped it off with a little sweet wine.

Muesli mix apple crumble

Muesli mix apple crumble

Mmmm… the sweet, spicy aroma filled the house as it baked. I couldn’t wait to see if my patch-up job had worked.

Out of the oven

Out of the oven

The results were fantastic! Crispy crunchy oat crumble on top of soft spicy apples. The toasted pumpkin seeds were a highlight for my tastebuds 🙂

Apple crumble to the rescue

Apple crumble to the rescue

The weather was quite chilly when I made this, so what better treat for a cool autumn evening than apple crumble and custard:

Apple crumble and custard

Apple crumble and custard

I was even naughty and made up two tiny bowls with a sample of crumble and custard for the ratties:

Teeny ratty portions

Teeny ratty portions

They were glad I shared the love!

Nom nom nom

Nom nom nom

Success :mrgreen: I rescued all those lovely ingredients by turning them into something even better. But if those pics have got you drooling, don’t worry – I wasn’t about to leave you without a recipe! Here’s my mom’s fail-safe apple crumble recipe, which I based my rescue recipe on. The pink ingredients are those I added to adjust her original recipe. Enjoy!

Crunchy apple crisp

50 g oats

50 g flour

100 g brown sugar

50 g desiccated coconut

25 g pumpkin seeds

1 T poppy seeds

60 g butter, melted (I increased this to 100 g after adding the extra dry ingredients above)

7 large apples, peeled and sliced (I used 8 large Granny Smith apples)

70 ml sweet white wine (mine was a low-alcohol version, but I’m sure any sweet wine would work)

30 ml water

Ground cinnamon and ground cloves or pimento (I used a generous sprinkling of cinnamon and mixed spice (allspice))

Seedless raisins

 

1. Grease a large pie plate or casserole dish.

2. Mix the oats, flour and sugar with the melted butter.

3. Place half the apple slices in the pie plate.

4. Sprinkle these apples with spices and raisins.

5. Add the rest of the apples.

6. Cover with the oats topping.

7. Pour over the wine and water.

8. Bake for 1 hour at 180 °C.

Coconut milk custard with raspberries and pistachios

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Here’s a dairy-free, gluten-free treat that manages to be decadent and fairly healthy at the same time! I had a can of coconut milk in my cupboard, originally intended for making coconut sorbet. Instead, I decided to experiment with making my own creamy, coconut-flavoured custard.

Ingredients for coconut milk custard

This is what I came up with:

1 tin (400 g) coconut milk

2 1/2 T custard powder (I used a tartrazine-free, gluten-free, unsweetened powder)

2 1/2 T honey

1 banana

Fresh raspberries

Pistachio nuts

Optional extras: raspberries and pistachios

Optional extras: raspberries and pistachios

These are the steps I made up as I went along:

1. Heat the coconut milk with the honey in a double boiler, stirring gently. Heat until it’s quite warm but not boiling.

2. In a separate bowl, mix the custard powder with a little of the milk to form a paste. (If you’re using a different sweetener to honey, mix it with this paste rather than with the milk.)

3. Add the custard paste to the hot milk, stirring constantly.

4. Keep stirring as the mixture thickens. (I found that mine didn’t get very thick – even after about 15 minutes it remained at pouring consistency – but I’m not sure if that’s due to the custard powder, since this was the first time I’d used that brand.)

5. Slice up the banana (or fruit of your choice) in a serving bowl.

Banana always goes well with custard

Banana always goes well with custard

6. Pour in the custard and top with raspberries and pistachios (or other fruit and nuts of your choice).

Fantastic fresh raspberries

Fantastic fresh raspberries

I just used what I had on hand. Raspberries are in season in South Africa at the moment, and I thought that marvellous toasted pistachios would add a unique flavour to this creamy dessert.

Coconut milk custard with raspberries and pistachios

Considering this was a first-time experiment, I’m impressed with the results. The custard wasn’t as thick as I usually prefer mine, but next time I’ll try a different custard powder and/or another tablespoon thereof, to see if it will thicken further. Otherwise, it was perfect: the coconut flavour came through clearly; the bananas added substance; the raspberries added zest and the pistachios added crunch. Yum!

Coconut sorbet = perfect piña coladas

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Why oh why have I lived this long without making my own coconut ice cream?! Thankfully, Sharon Glass‘s gorgeous recipe book Sweet Endings introduced me to a recipe I’ll probably be making for years to come 🙂 As mentioned previously, I’m able to share it with you too. And the bonus is that you don’t need a fancy ice-cream machine to make this either.

 

You’ll need:

1 C sugar

1 C water

610 g tinned coconut milk

1/3 C desiccated coconut

 

Method:

1. Heat sugar and water to dissolve, simmering for 3 minutes.

2. Cool completely, then mix together with the coconut milk and coconut.

3. Place in a shallow freezer tray for 2 hours until solid.

4. Break up with a fork and then pulse in a food processor until creamy. Return to the freezer until needed.

 

There! I mean, could it get any easier than that? I combined this sorbet with some Mainstay Piña Colada cocktail mix to create fabulous, creamy drinks. (PS: if you’re planning to use this for drinks, you may want to leave out the desiccated coconut if you don’t like the texture.)

Piña coladas

Move aside, Nigella!

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This weekend I made three dessert recipes that were so decadent and delish that I just had to share them with you. They’re all creations of South Africa’s very own celebrity chef, Sharon Glass – who’s just as famous in the US of A, by the way. But let me back up here for a minute…

First of all, you may wonder why I’d make three desserts in one weekend (especially considering the belt-tightening fifth goal on my 101 list)! It was all for a good cause: spoiling a dear friend of mine with a special dinner for her birthday. And strictly speaking, only two of the recipes formed part of the actual dessert. The third was used in creating our drinks: the yummiest piña coladas ever! 😉

Here’s a pic to whet your appetite:

Decadent dessert

And here are my links to the recipes, reproduced with permission:

1. Coconut sorbet

2. Galettes

3. Amarula yoghurt panna cotta

Enjoy!