Recipes: Lime & coconut loaf, coconut & chilli beef and chocolate coconut roughs
Do you believe the coconut hype? I'm sceptical. I'm not convinced any one food will save us from the inevitable, but I'm quite happy to jump on the coconut bandwagon for taste reasons.
I know from my own highly unscientific experiments that coconut oil fries things to a golden crisp, and that its ability to stay solid at room temperature makes it useful in "unbaking" (such as the coconut roughs below).
I love the creamy richness of coconut cream in everything from curries to porridge, and the snowy desiccated coconut crust on an old-fashioned lamington. I'd like to think that finding joy in eating coconut-based products will keep me alive just as long as any health benefits claimed by the devotees. I guess the proof will be in the pudding (and I have a lovely bunch of coconut recipes to help).
LIME AND COCONUT LOAF
Makes 1 loaf, serves 8-10
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
There is an outrageous amount of sugar in this loaf, but it's very rich so a little goes a long way. Don't be put off by the three-step process – it's very simple and only uses one bowl and one pot. To turn it into a pudding, try it warm from the oven with a dollop of Coyo passionfruit coconut yoghurt on the side.
For the loaf:
120g unsalted butter, softened but not melted
1 cup caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 limes
2 cups desiccated coconut
1 cup plain flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
For the syrup:
¼ cup hot water
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup caster sugar
For the topping:
⅓ cup lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup cream
1 cup desiccated coconut
Heat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius. Grease a standard-size loaf tin and line the bottom and sides with baking paper. Set aside.
Beat the butter, sugar and lime zest together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the coconut, then sift over the flour, baking powder and salt. Fold together gently and pour into the prepared tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a skewer plunged into the middle of the loaf comes out cleanly. Remove it from the oven and stab it all over with a skewer. Turn the oven up to 180C.
While the loaf is cooking, make the syrup. Put the hot water, lime juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for five minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside.
Pour the syrup all over the cooked loaf and let it absorb while you make the topping.
Put the sugar and cream in the saucepan you used for the syrup (don't worry about washing it out). Set over medium heat and cook for five minutes, stirring often. Add the coconut and mix well, then pour this mixture over the loaf. Return the loaf to the oven to brown the topping – this takes about 15 minutes. When it is evenly golden brown all over, remove from the oven and leave to cool for 10 minutes before carefully lifting out of the tin and setting on a rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container when cold.
COCONUT AND CHILLI-BRAISED BEEF
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours, 15 minutes
If you're the sort of person who likes to do things in advance, be advised that this rich stew is even better the next day (and also freezes well).
1.2kg beef suitable for slow cooking (I use beef cheeks), cut into 3cm pieces
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 tablespoons rice bran oil
2 red onions, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
4cm piece fresh ginger, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons dried chilli flakes (or 1 small red chilli)
Zest and juice of 3 limes
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 ½ cups coconut milk (about 1 ½ cans)
Heat the oven to 150C.
Put the beef on a large plate. Sprinkle over the flour and season well with salt and pepper. Toss the meat in the flour until it is well coated. Set aside.
Put the onions, garlic, ginger, chilli and lime zest in a food processor or blender and whiz until smooth. Set aside.
Heat two tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy ovenproof pot with a lid. Brown the flour-dusted beef in batches over high heat, turning so it colours on all sides. Remove to a plate and set aside.
When the meat is all browned, add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot. Lower the heat slightly and add the onion and garlic mixture. Fry gently for two minutes, then tip in the beef (and any collected juices). Stir well to coat the meat in the paste, then add the soy sauce and coconut milk. Season well, then cover tightly and cook in the preheated oven for two hours, or until the meat is very tender.
Remove from the oven and uncover. Cook over medium-low heat on the stove top, stirring often, for another 5 to 10 minutes, to reduce the sauce. Squeeze in the lime juice (from the zested limes) and taste for seasoning before serving with steamed rice and something green on the side.
CHOCOLATE COCONUT ROUGHS
Makes about 16
Preparation time: 5 minutes (plus at least 10 minutes' chilling time)
Cooking time: nil
I had an all-consuming craving recently for those milk chocolate coconut roughs that you used to be able to buy in dollar-mixtures from the dairy. Here's a DIY version that you can be eating 20 minutes after you make it.
¾ cup desiccated coconut
1 rounded tablespoon honey
60g coconut oil
¼ cup cocoa
¼ cup finely chopped dark chocolate, optional
Line a small tray or large plate with baking paper.
Put the coconut in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Watch it carefully as it can turn from light golden to burnt in seconds. As soon as the coconut has reached a golden tan colour, remove the pan from the heat. Add the honey and coconut oil. Stir well – the heat from the pan will melt the honey and oil – then add the cocoa and chocolate, if using. Mix well, then drop heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on to the prepared dish. Put in the fridge to set (this takes about 10 minutes), then transfer to an airtight container.
For more of Lucy's recipes, visit kitchen-maid.blogspot.co.nz