Monthly Archives: October 2013

Crazy as a coconut

Banana bread has become a breakfast staple in cafés. A coconut bread recipe by Bill Granger was the inspiration for my recipe this week. I’ve changed ingredients and swapped it from a loaf to muffins, to come up with the below recipe.

I’ve packed in triple coconut, with desiccated coconut, coconut milk and coconut oil. Coconut oil is sometimes referred to as coconut butter, they are the same thing. If your coconut oil becomes solid, it can easily be melted my standing the jar in some hot water from the kettle and it will return to liquid again. Coconut oil is reported to be a good oil, with lots of health benefits, and works well in baking.

Coconut oil butter

If you are not a confident baker, muffins are the perfect thing to try making to build up your confidence. No fancy equipment is needed for mixing the batter. In fact, the less mixing you do, the better. It’s also a good recipe to get the kids involved with.

The salt quantity below is based on using fine salt flakes, if you are using regular table salt you will need to reduce the amount you include – adjust to taste but start off cautiously. If you need to reduce or limit your salt intake, you can of course skip the salt.

Delicious served warm straight from the oven, with a slather of butter or just as they are. Suitable for breakfast, morning or afternoon tea or a snack. Any leftovers can be frozen and zapped for a few seconds in the microwave to warm through again.

What I was cooking this time last year: Strawberry and White Chocolate Mousse

Coconut Muffins

* This recipe was adapted from a Coconut Bread recipe by Bill Granger. I have modified and adapted it to come up with the below reincarnation.

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 300mls coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice
  • 100g brown sugar
  • 150g shredded coconut
  • 75mls coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt flakes
  • Cooking oil spray to grease your muffin tin

Method

  • Pre-heat the oven on to 180°C.
  • Add the dry ingredients (flour, mixed spice, coconut, salt and brown sugar) to a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Muffin dry ingredients

  • Add the coconut oil, eggs and vanilla to a measuring jug and mix to combine. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients in the bowl.

Eggs, oil, vanilla

  • Measure out 300mls coconut milk and add to the dry ingredients in the bowl.

Muffing batter ready to be mixed

  • Stir until the mixture is just combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  • Spray a muffin or cupcake tin with cooking spray.
  • Pour the batter into the muffin tray.

Muffin batter in tray

  • Cook your muffins in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until cooked through (test by pressing lightly on the middle of a muffin, it should bounce back, or when you insert a skewer into the center it comes out clean without any batter stuck to it).
  • Remove from the oven, and serve still warm, or allow to cool in the muffin tray. Enjoy.

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What is your favourite breakfast recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Breakfast, Cake, Coconut, Recipes, Spices, Sweet, Vegetarian

Picnic in the park

I was meeting friends in Centennial Park today for a baby shower picnic, and was responsible for bringing dips. I wanted to bring one of my favourite dips, tzatziki. After researching different recipes, it seems the secret with this dip is to keep things simple. I was thinking of experimenting with the addition of spices, but the only things that seem to be added are a generous amount of salt and pepper, and either mint or dill. I went with adding both herbs, and some lemon zest and lemon infused olive oil for an extra citrus kick.

The raw garlic actually adds a bit of heat to the dip, so taste as you go when adding the garlic and pepper. Some recipes ask you to peel the cucumber and / or scoop out the seeds, I didn’t but instead allowed the yoghurt and grated cucumber to drain to remove some of the excess liquid. Suspend your strainer over a bowl to allow the liquid to drip through.

Serve this dip with your favourite crackers, or vegetable crudités (I used celery and carrot sticks) or as part of a Middle-Eastern inspired feast.

What I was cooking this time last year: Asian Marinated Salmon

Tzatziki Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup natural greek-style yoghurt
  • 1 cucumber
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used lemon infused)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely crushed
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Grate the cucumber and add to a suspended strainer.
  • Add the yoghurt to the grated cucumber in the strainer and set aside for the excess liquid to drip through.

Yoghurt and cucumber straining

  • Set aside the draining yoghurt and grated cucumber for half-an-hour while you prepare your vegetable crudités.
  • Discard the liquid and add the yoghurt and grated cucumber to the blow.
  • Grate the lemon zest and finely mince the garlic and add to the bowl.
  • Add the finely chopped mint, dill, olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.

Tzatziki ingredients

  • Mix with a spoon until everything is combined.
  • Transfer your dip to a bowl and serve (or refrigerate until ready to serve). Enjoy.

Tzatziki dip celery carrot crudité

What is your favourite dip? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Dip, Herbs, Lemon, Recipes, Savoury, Vegetarian

Poppy Seed cake

In preparation for embracing the “Swank Diet” in the new year, I am taking steps to wean myself off certain favourite foods. A lot of the diets books I have been reading say it is important not to put your body through sudden and / or drastic changes, so I am currently cutting back on coffee and dairy products, and if I am eating dairy, using low-fat or no-fat versions. If you are regular follower of this blog, you may have detected that I love baking and I believe cake should be classified as its’ own food group. The inspiration for this recipe is to come up with a cake that doesn’t use butter. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s healthy, but for me, it’s a step in the right direction.

The cake has been drowned in a sticky syrup, which you could skip if you want or need to reduce your sugar intake. Delicious served warm alongside a scoop of fat free natural yoghurt.

Lemon poppy seed

What I was cooking this time last year: Veggie Burgers

Lemon Poppy Seed Yoghurt Cake

Ingredients:

Cake

  • 2 cups self-raising flour
  • 3/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 cup zero fat yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup rice bran oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 2 lemons
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch salt
  • 4 tablespoons poppy seeds

Lemon Syrup

  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar
  • Water

Method

  • Turn the oven on to 180°C to pre-heat.
  • Add the flour, sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, lemon zest, yoghurt and oil to your food processor bowl.
  • Juice the zested lemons, and add 1/2 cup lemon juice to the food processor bowl.

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  • Mix until the cake batter is combined.
  • Add the poppy seeds to the food processor bowl and pulse until mixed into the cake batter.

Poppy seed cake batter

  • Grease a cake tin.
  • Pour the cake mix into your greased cake tin, and set a timer for 45 minutes (you may need to adjust the cooking time depending on your oven and cake tin size).

Poppy seed cake batter

  • To make the syrup zest 2 lemons to produce long strips of zest. Add to a saucepan.

Lemon zest strips

  • Juice the lemon, to create 1/4 cup lemon juice, add 1/4 cup of water and add to the saucepan.
  • Add 1/2 cup of sugar to the lemon zest and juice mix.

Lemon syrup

  • Cook the syrup mixture over a medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to the boil.
  • Take the syrup off the heat and set aside to cool.
  • Once the cake is cooked, remove from the tin and pour over the syrup while the cake is still hot.
  • Serve warm or once cooled. Enjoy.

Lemon Poppy Seed Yoghurt Cake

What is your favourite healthy(ish) cake recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Baking, Cake, Lemon, Pudding, Recipes, Sweet, Vegetarian

Nutty

It is a long weekend in Sydney. The October long weekend is when daylight savings time kicks in, and the weekend that heralds the start of summertime.  A lot of Sydneysiders use the opportunity to make a pilgrimage out of the city and head up the coast. Staying at a friend’s place for the weekend, and the start of BBQ season is the inspiration for this recipe, Marinated Fish skewers with Satay Sauce.

I used Monkfish for my skewers, as recommended by my fish monger. You could use chicken, tofu or prawns instead of fish if you prefer. Kecap manis is a thick, Indonesian soy sauce, normally found in the Asian section of your supermarket. Kaffir lime leaves add a citrus tang. You can add chilli to taste to the sauce – I like things spicy so added more to make sure there was a bit of heat to the sauce. This is not an authentic Indonesian or Balinese recipe, because I have added ginger to the marinade and sauce, but I think the flavours work well together.

It was hard to get an appetising photograph of the satay sauce, but I assure you it tastes delicious and quite different to anything you buy from the supermarket out of a jar or bottle.

Serve your skewers with the satay sauce as a snack on their own, or with rice, salad or vegetables for a more substantial meal.

What I was cooking this time last year: Guacamole

Marinated Fish Skewers with Satay Sauce

Serves 4

Ingredients:

Fish Skewers

  • 1kg monkfish fillets
  • 5 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 2 heaped teaspoon grated ginger
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves, shredded finely
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • wooden skewers

Satay Sauce

  • 150g raw unsalted peanuts
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 large tomato
  • 2 tablespoons kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
  • 2 red chillies, or to taste
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves, finely shredded
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup warm water

Method

  • Soak the wooden skewers in water. This prevents them burning when they are being cooked.
  • Add the shredded kaffir lime leaves, garlic, ginger, oil and kecap manis to a bowl.

Kaffir lime leaves

  • Chop the fish into cubes and add to the bowl.
  • Toss to coat the fish in the marinade, set aside to soak up the flavours while you prepare the satay sauce.

Fish skewers

  • Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and add the raw peanuts.

Raw peanuts

  • Cook the peanuts, stirring regularly, until lightly golden brown. Set aside to cool. (The peanuts will continue to cook once they are removed from the heat so don’t allow them to get too golden brown when they are on the heat.)

cooked peanuts

  • Add the garlic, ginger, chillies, tomato, kecap manis kaffir lime leaves and peanuts to a blender jug. Add 1/4 cup of warm water.

blender kaffir lime tomato

  • Blend the sauce until smooth and combined. Taste, if required add more chilli or water until you are happy with the heat and thickness of the sauce.
  • Transfer your satay sauce to a bowl and set aside.

Satay sauce

  • Thread the cubes of marinated fish onto the soaked skewers.

Raw fish skewers

  • On the BBQ or a medium-hot frying pan, cook your fish skewers for a couple of minutes on one side.
  • Turn and cook for a minute or two on the other side, or until cooked through.
  • Serve the cooked fish skewers alongside the satay sauce. Enjoy.

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What is your favourite BBQ recipe? Has this post inspired any new ideas?

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Filed under Peanuts, Recipes, Savoury, Seafood