coconut

raw gratitude

Raw Plum & Raisin Choc Tops

The most amazing generosity happens at this time of year in the Valley. Orchards and veggie patches kindly offer their wares in brown paper bags, handed over with the care and reverence homegrown produce deserves, accompanied by a simple ‘thought you’d like these’ or ‘our peach tree’s having a good year’. Sometimes it’s just a smile as the package gets put down and conversation continues on easily because both parties are fully aware of the exchange – equal parts kindness and gratitude. I can’t tell you how much I love this unspoken, old school, country practise.

In the last fortnight we have had gifts of homegrown cucumbers, tomatoes, eggplant and asian greens (thanks Pete and Beck), just picked figs (thanks Ilona), peaches and plums from gnarly old trees that know exactly what flavour is (thanks Janelle and Paul) and the most beautiful little bean flowers (thanks Jenny). Any gardener knows the preciousness of bearing witness to food being created in amongst leaves and tendrils, which is probably the reason that any gardener also completely understands the joy in sharing it. It’s far from just a bag of peaches that gets placed in your hands.

So, this is the state of mind I was in when I received a handpicked bounty of lovely dark plums the other day and the shrine of plum appreciation began its construction. That’s my romantic take on ‘these-raw-plum-and-raisin-choctops-take-a-while-to-make’. Not as long as the tree took to create them though. The deal’s still well in our favour here.

 

IMG_2665 IMG_2582 IMG_2591 IMG_2596 IMG_2608

 

Raw Plum & Raisin Choc Tops

makes 4 – 6 

 

1 cup organic raw cashews, soaked for 3 hours

1 fresh organic drinking coconut

1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

1 tablespoon organic raw maca powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons organic coconut nectar

1 vanilla bean, stripped

8-10 organic dark red plums

1/2 cup organic raisins

batch of raw chocolate, for dipping

paddlepops sticks or similar for ‘handles’

bee pollen ‘sprinkles’

 

Start this ice cream the day before by dehydrating the plums until semi dried to really intensify the flavour. You can soak the cashews the day before too if that helps the flow of things. 

To make the ice cream, crack open the young coconut and scoop out the flesh being carefully not to bring any husky bits with you. Put into a food processor or Vitamix, along with the coconut oil, maca, 1 tbsp coconut nectar and vanilla seeds. Blitz until really smooth. Drink the coconut water while you wait.

Once the mixture is thick and creamy, stir in the raisins and put aside in a jug ready to pour into the moulds or cups that you have chosen to set the ice creams in.

To make the raw plum ripple, simply blitz the semi dry plums, cinnamon, cloves and remaining coconut nectar in the processor until smooth.

Have your sticks and ice cream moulds ready. I used vine cuttings because I didn’t have paddlepop sticks and I think I’ll do this every time now because they looked pretty cute. Just make sure if you head into nature for your sticks that they haven’t been sprayed.

To assemble the ice creams, fill about 1/6 of the mould with the raisin/coconut ice cream mix, then add a dollop of plum jam, and continue layering like this until the mould is full. Push your ice cream stick into the mix and stir it around no more than twice before positioning it in the middle of the mould. Repeat with all moulds until full and place into the freezer to set.

When the ice cream is really solid, you’re ready to dip into the raw chocolate. Remove the ice creams from the moulds by setting the moulds into hot water for a few seconds and then slide the ice creams out by gently pulling on the sticks. Set the ice creams on a piece of baking paper back into the freezer to harden again while you make the raw chocolate.

While the chocolate is still runny, dip each ice cream into it to coat and sprinkle bee pollen over the chocolate as you turn the ice cream round in your fingers. Place back into the freezer to harden once the chocolate has lost its shine and you know it has set.

You will probably need to take these out of the freezer for 5 minutes before you want to eat them as they are solid ice cream. But so creamy. And good for you. Done and done.

coconut yoghurt you say?

Coconut Yoghurt

It may have taken me a while but I’ve well and truly fallen in love with this whole coconut yoghurt thing. So good. And far more creamier than I imagined. There’s lots of great recipes online for coconut yoghurt but my interest was piqued again when we went to Mexico, and not because there are ‘cocos frios’ everywhere, but because of the pre-flight food pack I put together before we left.

I came across dehydrated coconut water, in its raw powdered form, and thought it would be a perfect flight buddy to add to water along the way for a decent electrolyte fix over the nearly 30 hours of flying we had ahead of us. It worked a treat. Once we were airborne, I started thinking of all the other things I could add it to (that daydream helped to fill in at least, oh, 30 minutes out of the 30 hours) and along with smoothies, dips, soups etc, coconut yoghurt popped into the part of my brain where I do my taste testing.

Not that the idea is to make the yoghurt from the dehydrated coconut water, but I found out that if you add it to your fresh coconut yoghurt it makes it thicker without losing that lovely creaminess. Bingo. I’m sure you could go ahead and flavour the yoghurt too but the coconut flavour it pretty big on its own, so I’ve just been enjoying adding it to things rather than adding things to it. So far, coconut yoghurt had been dolloped onto raw granola, mixed with chia seeds and fresh apricots for a take in the jar kind of breakfast, dipped into with chapati to have with dahl, swirled through gazpacho and spooned through grated cucumber with toasted cumin seeds. It’s good stuff.

 

IMG_2295 IMG_2311 IMG_2320

 

 

Coconut Yoghurt

makes 2 cups

 

3 fresh whole organic drinking coconuts

2 capsules dairy free acidophilus probiotic powder

1 heaped tablespoon organic dehydrated coconut water (optional)

 

The trickiest part about this recipe is getting into the coconuts! I have a cleaver that I bought especially for this in Thailand, but if you don’t have a heavy cleaver, use the heaviest knife you have in your collection. I have been known to use a screwdriver and hammer before too!

Start by chopping into one side of the top of the coconut using repeated strikes until you feel the knife break through the shell. Then move onto the other three sides of the square you’ll eventually be able to pull open to access the coconut water and flesh.

Once you have a 3 coconuts open, drain the water into a jug and sip away on that because you’ll only need about 1/4 cup or so in your yoghurt. Using a rounded soup spoon, scrape the flesh from the inside of the coconut and put into your blender. Don’t forget to get the flesh right at the top too. Pull off any bits of shell that come with the flesh, your blender won’t like these.

Once you have all the coconut flesh in your food processor, break the capsules apart and sprinkle in the acidophilus powder, add the dehydrated coconut water and blend to a smooth puree. If you are happy with the consistency as is, then there’s no need to add any fresh coconut water. I probably added a little less than 1/4 cup.

Put the coconut puree into a clean glass jar with a lid and leave the yoghurt in a warm place for 24hours to allow the culture to activate. Then pop it in the fridge. It will keep for about a week. You’ll have scraped the bottom of the jar well before then though I’d imagine!

IMG_2381 IMG_2388 IMG_2395

 

flowers for mum

Coconut Custard Tart

It’s not exactly like our family to get overly romantic about Mother’s Day but a little bit of sentiment sat at the table with us for afternoon tea today. My Mum always talks about how when she was a kid, her and her sisters would often be sent on ‘hunting and gathering’ missions for nasturtiums so my Nana could make them nasturtium sandwiches for lunch. I love it when she tells this story because the idea of wildcrafting edible flowers for lunch ticks lots of boxes on my favourite-things-to-do list. Plus, nasturtiums are delicious.

 

We’ve had a little nasturtium goodness going on across the Scullery trestle table at the Farmer’s Market of late, and while it’s so easy to throw a handful of sunshine colour and peppery fragrance into any salad, or across a carpaccio, or float in soup like a couple of lily pads, I really wanted to eat nasturtium sandwiches today. With my Mum.

 

And once I’d invited sentimentality to the table, custard tarts asked for a part to play too. Remember those? All eggy, milky goodness freckled with nutmeg. I used to love those. So actually maybe this was more my tastebuds’ memory than my Mum’s. Ooops. Anyway, my Mum doesn’t go in for anything milk based these days so I set out to reinvent the custard tart without milk. There we go, back to her.

 

After I took the milk out of the custard tart, I thought coconut would be a nice swap, and then I didn’t need eggs to set it, and actually it didn’t need to be baked, and then if I just used the gluten free flour mix we’ve been doing for the Farmer’s Market, and some of that yummy mesquite powder I have in the cupboard and that cute little baking pan I found in the 2nd hand shop this week… You know how it goes.

 

So here’s a take on my Mum’s childhood, mixed in a bit with mine – but without the milk. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums. That’s really what afternoon tea says.

 

IMG_9416 IMG_9435 IMG_9439 IMG_9455 IMG_9458

 

Coconut Custard Tart

makes one 20cm tart

 

1 1/4 cups organic GF whole flour mix

1/4 cup organic mesquite powder

1/2 cup organic coconut butter, melted

pinch sea salt flakes

3 1/2 tbsp organic coconut water (saved from the fresh coconut)

 

2 organic young coconuts (drinking coconuts)

1/4 cup organic macadamia nuts

1 1/2 tsp raw organic honey

1 tsp cinnamon powder

1/2 tsp organic vanilla bean paste

juice of 1 organic meyer lemon

2 tsp organic mesquite powder

freshly grated nutmeg 

 

Pre heat the oven to 180C.

Mix the GF flour, mesquite and salt together in a bowl and then stir in the melted coconut oil and coconut water. 

Press the dough into your prepared tart tin using your fingers. Make sure to push the dough up the sides of the tin too. Prick the base of the dough with a fork and then bake for 12-15 minutes. No need to weight or pre chill the dough.

When the tart base is cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool.

 

To make the coconut filling, blitz the macadamias in a food processor until fine. Scoop the soft flesh out of the coconuts and add to the food processor with all of the remaining ingredients, except for the nutmeg. Blitz until smooth.

 

Spoon the coconut mixture into the cooled tart base and dust with freshly grated nutmeg. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. We had ours with extra honey to pour over the top. 

 

To make the nasturtium sandwiches, simply pile some fresh leaves and flowers between thinly sliced sourdough, season with salt flakes and freshly ground pepper and serve with copious amounts of tea.

IMG_9487 IMG_9470 IMG_9449 IMG_9468