Archives for posts with tag: coconut

Today here in Australia (and New Zealand) is Anzac day. Anzac day falls on the 25th of April and commemorates the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at the Gallipoli peninsula during the First World War on the morning of 25 April 1915.

The action was not a victory and both sides suffered heavy casualties. The event had a significant impact on Australians at home. In Australia and New Zealand today, Anzac day is one of the most important national occasions and is a day where we remember the sacrifice of those who died in military operations.  Lest we forget. One of my great grandfathers was one of the first on the shore at Gallipoli and while another was with the field ambulances. My family was lucky – they both survived.

Dawn commemorative services are held on Anzac day across Australia, at the time of the original Gallipoli landing. Later in the day, from big cities to small towns, commemorative marches are held across the nation. I remember going to school Anzac day services and local marches with my family, wearing the service medals of grandparents.

Also associated with Anzac day is the Anzac biscuit. These biscuits do actually have links to World War One. Family, friends and communities would send food to the soldiers fighting in the war. Due to the time it would take for the food to get to the front, the food had to be long lasting without refrigeration while retaining nutritional value. Thus the Anzac biscuit (originally called the Soldiers’ Biscuit, with the same basic ingredients then as today) was born.

Instead of Anzac biscuits (see here for recipe), I decided today to make an Anzac slice. The basic ingredients (and the smells that filled the house while it was baking) are the same and the result tastes the same as an Anzac biscuit. The edge of the slice has the crispness and chewiness I usually associate with an Anzac biscuit, while the centre of the slice is softer and moist.

Anzac slice

Click here for the recipe

When I started this blog, one of the things I wanted to do was work through my Nanna’s handwritten cookbook, which is full of recipes she collected throughout her life. Her handwriting however is quite difficult to decipher and there are minimal instructions, so it is quite a big task.

Nanna's cookbook

Nanna’s cookbook

I was reminded of this the other day when I was browsing through other people’s blog posts and came across a recipe for lemon and lime coconut slice by Daisy and the Fox. Instantly I thought of my Nanna’s lemon slice and knew I had to make her recipe this weekend.

My Nanna was a very important part of my life and one of my first cooking memories is making pikelets with her. She also taught me how to spin, knit and crochet. I am so lucky to have had her in my life and I often think of her and miss her.

After she retired, she moved to be closer to us (my brother and I were her only grandchildren). We often stayed with her on weekends and over the holidays. She also often picked me up after school, and looked after me when I was home sick. For my first two years of high school I went to a private school that was about 45 minutes from home (longer with public transport). Often the bus wouldn’t pick us up and I was having issues with my health. Nanna started driving all the way there and picking me up. She always had an afternoon snack waiting for me, like this slice.

I was thinking about this and other memories of my time with my Nanna while I was making the slice. Isn’t it wonderful how food can remind us of the people we  love and evoke memories of them and our time with them?

Nanna's original handwritten recipe

Nanna’s original handwritten recipe

Click here for the recipe

I am a fan of pineapple as an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes. I’m not ashamed to admit that my favourite pizza topping is simply ham, cheese and pineapple, and any sweet and sour dish has to have pineapple in it for me.

So when I saw this recipe, I instantly wanted to try it. Added to that, my freezer is starting to fill up again with overripe bananas, so it was a great way to use up a few of those. The recipe also uses oil instead of butter, which I prefer as I find cakes cooked with oil are always moist without any buttery aftertaste.

I liked the idea of the coconut crust on top. However, it made the cakes a bit too sweet for me. Next time I think I will put only a very small amount on top to retain the texture element, but reduce the sweetness.  Although on tasting these again the next day, they tasted less sweet so it may have just been because they were a bit warm, and I prefered these the day after cooking. This is a very moist cake, due to the bananas, pineapple and oil, with a caramel sweetness from the brown sugar both in the cupcakes as well as on top and a hint of spice from the ginger and cinnamon. There wasn’t quite enough pineapple evident in the final cake for me, so I may add some pineapple pieces next time rather than just crushed pineapple.

Hummingbird cake with coconut crust

Click here for the recipe

It is only recently that I have become confident enough to make my own pastry, rather than using premade bought pastry, and I am really looking forward to going to a pastry making class with Sarah Brigden soon to learn some more techniques, tips and tricks. For a lot of people though, the thought of making pastry from scratch is quite stressful. And I think cooking should be enjoyable, not stressful.

These tarts are a great alternative to a pastry dessert. Instead of a pastry base, they have a macaroon tart base, made from egg whites, coconut and sugar.

The end result is a beautiful macaroon tart base, which is crisp on the outside and chewy in the centre with a rich and creamy chocolate filling. The tartness of the raspberries cuts through the chocolate filling, making it fresher and lighter. I think this is a great alternative to a pastry dessert and a great dinner party dessert as it can be made ahead for stress free entertaining.

raspberry macaroon tarts

Click here for the recipe

Given the latest season of My Kitchen Rules starts tonight in Australia, it seems like a good time to share one of my standby dessert recipes that was inspired by  the show. This, for me, is another great recipe for entertaining. Most of it can be made ahead, and even easier you just throw all the ingredients together in the food processor. The most effort you have to make is toasting the coconut. What could be easier? The original recipe was served with mangos, but I like to serve (and eat) this with a quick and easy berry sauce made from frozen mixed berries which I always have in my freezer.

This dessert is more of a slice than a pie, and is quite moist and dense. Any leftovers are great the next day as a treat with a cup of tea.  The recipe is best made at least a few hours before you want to serve it to allow time to chill.

It has been a few seasons since any of the dishes on My Kitchen Rules have become a favourite of mine, but maybe this year will provide me with some more inspiration. I have to admit though that I always record MKR, rather than watch it as it airs, so I can fast forward when the added ‘drama’ (it is reality TV after all) becomes too much.

coconut pie

Click here for the recipe

A few weeks ago I reminded Jerome that I was going to be going to a cooking class that night, so would be home later than usual. His response was to question why I was going to a class as I already knew how to cook. Which, of course, is a lovely thing for him to say. However, while I can cook, I certainly don’t believe I know everything there is to know, and since I like cooking, I want to know more!

There are so many reasons why I enjoy going to cooking classes. There is always room for improvement, new tips and tricks to learn, the chance to meet others who love cooking, new recipes to try and I just really enjoy going to cooking classes. Especially the ones that Sarah runs at babyCakes. It is also a good opportunity to try something that you think might be too difficult to try at home (like the White Yule Log that was a lot easier than I thought).

Some of the first classes I went to were Sarah’s cupcake classes and the results are amazing. The cupcakes are moist and don’t dry out. I have altered the recipe slightly and added lemon as well as the original orange and lime, as I love citrus. Since I started making these (and her death by chocolate ones which I’ll post next week), I can no longer get away with bringing a bought cake into work, as everyone expects these cupcakes now. I’ve had a few people tell me they don’t like cupcakes, only to convert them after they have eaten these. Click here for more and the recipe

Although I watch a lot of TV cooking shows, I’ve never really liked watching any of Gordon Ramsay’s shows. Too much drama and profanities, and not enough food for me. Personally, I just don’t enjoy watching something where every second or third word is a four letter word (okay, that is probably an exaggeration, I’ve never sat down and counted – I haven’t watched long enough to do that). That’s just me. And so as a result, I’ve never purchased any of his cookbooks or tried any of his recipes.

Recently, however, I have seen him in his role as judge on Masterchef US where for the most part it seemed food, rather than the ‘f-word’, was more the focus. So I thought maybe it was time to give Gordon a chance. After all, he’s held onto three Michelin stars for a while, so he must know what he is talking about. I came across his latest book (which accompanies his most recent TV show and is aimed at teaching people how to become better home cooks) for 30% off and after having a quick look, a recipe for meatballs in a fragrant coconut broth with flavours I don’t use a lot caught my attention. There were a few other recipes that also caught my interest which I will try another time. Seeing as it was on sale, and telling myself that even though I have shelves full of cookbooks, I have a blog now so it’s okay to buy another one, I bought it. Link to book here –  Gordon Ramsay’s Home Cooking: Everything You Need to Know to Make Fabulous Food
I know. I have a problem… And I’m running out of space on my bookcase!

Pork meatballs in a fragrant coconut broth

click here for more including the recipe

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