Posts Tagged ‘coconut’

Jamaican “rice and peas”

Heavens! I mean- heaven! I mean- this is one gosh-darn good plate of food, and it is SO simple! Again, this was lunch one day because the girls “hate” coconut. Amelia will eat coconut oil chocolate and has even been known to ask me to make some when she has a stash of Christmas Cadburys “because I love your healthy dark chocolate”. These words are a beautiful sound to fall on the ears of one such as I. But in any other shape or form, they won’t go near it. Lunchtime, and my fridge is empty until tonight. I mean, I could have made a salad….of grated carrot and nothing else. Store cupbard it was then!

Jamaican rice and peas, delicious with fish, or just as it is. Or- with a lime and coriander salsa that I will post tomorrow.(Because I haven’t bought the ingredients yet!)

NOTES:

  • Jamaican rice and peas is traditionally made with kidney beans. Most beans taste the same to me to be honest, I think it’s all in the sauce or additions. A tin of black-eyed beans did just dandy.
  • The recipe calls for coconut milk, which I never have in, but I DO normally have this:

Patak’s “Creamed coconut”- 100% coconut, with nothing else at all. 4 sachets for less than ¬£1, and you dissolve it in warm water for a kind of coconut milk. There was no box (and therefore no instructions) but I dissolved HALF a sachet in about 700 mls of water; the other half I refridgerated and will need to be used within a couple of days I would think.

  • I used “easy cook” Brown rice. Be aware that your cooking time and liquid amount will vary depending on what rice you use. As always, check the package instructions, cook it slowly rather than fiercely, stir and test frequently, and add more liquid if required.
  • The recipe also called for fresh coriander or fresh thyme to finish. I didn’t think grated carrot would work, so no fresh garnish today……

Instructions:

  • Gently saute an onion and 2-3 cloves of garlic until soft
  • Add 1 tin of beans, rinsed well
  • Add 1 cup of rice
  • Add 2 cups of coconut milk (see above) You may need to add more as the rice cooks
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Again, cooking time will vary with rice types. Mine was on a low heat and took maybe 30 minutes plus sitting time. So, so delicious.

Yes, it is more delicious than it looks!

I ate something really similar with a piece of freshly caught fish in Africa, on the day I renounced 8 years of eating vegetarian. But that’s another story ūüôā

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Home-made Coconut Butter

Did you click on yesterdays’ link for amazing healthy coloured icing? If so you will have noticed that she uses coconut BUTTER, not coconut oil. Coconut butter is made using the meat of the coconut, rather than just extracting the oils. It’s richer, sweeter and tastier.¬† It’s almost impossible to find in the UK, and costs a pretty penny when you do- more than the oil I’ll warrant, which is not cheap. And here’s the great part- unlike coconut oil, YOU CAN MAKE¬†COCONUT BUTTER¬†AT HOME. As I am doing of late, I am linking to another blog, because right now I do not have much abundance of the creative sort to offer, for various reasons.

However, if we are going to be technical, no instructions are needed. You simply take unsweetened dessicated coconut, and put it in your food processor and whizz…and whizz…and so on, for 8-10 minutes. It will be liquid by the time you finish but as it cools it will become more solid, as below.

As a coconut¬†worshipper and a frugal lover of home-made plant creations in general, ¬†I am very keen to try this. I am posting a teaser photo from Susan Powers website because she is a professional food photographer and somehow manages to make a jar of white stuff look stylish, because that is what professional food stylists do. She is also a lover of raw foods, hence the name of her site Rawmazing.¬† When I submit my poor mini chopper to some more vigorous processing again, it will be for this. This would be perfect for tropical smoothies, healthy sweeties, and delicious curries. And for now my friends, that is all the abundance I can offer you. Though, be kind- it’s not altogether bad¬† ūüôā

Make your own coconut milk

Q. What do the following all have in common?  citric acid, sodium metabisullfite  potassium metabisulphite, sulphur dioxide,Stabilizers E412, E466, E435  Guar Gum, Carboxy Methyl Cellulose , Emulsifier: Polysorbate 60 Carboxy Methyl Cellulose , Thickener РXanthan Gum .

A. All found in different varieties of canned coconut milks. Thankfully not all in the same can….but a generous selection in most cases. Do you know what half of them are? Because I don’t. It looks like a lab, for goodness sake!

Here are two easy way to make your own no-wierd-stuff-all-natural coconut milk. This is not thick like a canned version, because there are no thickeners, stabilisers or emulsifiers added- and that is a good thing.

Version 1 (The easiest): Using dried unsweetened coconut

  • Need:¬† Blender. Strainer or nut-milk bag
  • Leave 1 cup of dried unsweeetened coconut in soak overnight with¬†2 measuring cups of water. (If you buy an organic brand like Crazy Jacks, it will be nothing but dried coconut, no preservatives added)
  • In the morning, blend in the liquidiser for about 2 minutes.You can add a touch of sweetener if desired, or even vanilla.
  • Pour your mixture into a¬†fine strainer or a mesh nut-millk bag, and strain. Squeeze it out well so you remove the maximum amount of liquid and coconut oil.Some coconut oil will acumulate around the side of the blender, make sure you don’t leave it there. Add it to your milk-¬†it is what makes¬†it rich.¬†
  • This will be alright in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Version 2 (Easy,it just takes longer): Using a whole coconut.

  • Need: Knife, Food processor, strainer or nut milk bag
  • Crack open the coconut and using a knife, remove the meat.
  • Cut into manageable pieces into a food processor and shred finely.
  • Pour 2 cups of warm water (500 mls) over the shredded coconut meat
  • Using clean hands, just massage and squeeze out the meat into the water
  • Place over a fine strainer (or use a nut milk bag) and strain.
  • You can then take the meat and repeat the process with¬†1 more cup of water if you wish for a little more milk.

If you use fresh coconut, the milk is best to be used on the day.

What can you do with the strained pulp?

  • If you have coconut oil, you can make Bounty Bar Bites. I have tried it, and it works just as well as using dried coconut flakes. Just make sure you have squeezed it out well. (From this recipe you should have 3/4 cup of coconut pulp. Add 80grams of melted coconut oil, and 2Tablespoons of honey. Follow the above link for the original recipe)
  • Mix it into “overnights oats.” With raisins or dates, and dried pineapple or mango it will¬†taste all tropically and sunshiney. Especially if you pour the coconut milk over the oats.
  • Throw it into a tropical fruit smoothie.
  • Use it in a babyfood dessert.
  • Add it to a home-made curry sauce.¬†For a vegetable curry ūüôā Suggestion only ūüôā

To name but a few…… because it’s all I can think of right now and I have run out of time. Wishing you all¬†satisfaction and joy¬†in current or new healthy habits!

Bounty Bar Bites. To your health!

This is not a “diet” of deprivation, it’s a diet of abundance! You just need to know to recreate your favourite treats using ingredients that will nurture you, as well as tasting great! This treat is not low-fat, but it is made with virgin cold-pressed coconut oil, which is one of those “good” saturated fats, and it contains no refined sugar; just some mineral-rich honey.

Many governmental agencies advised against coconut oil consumption for years due to it’s saturated fat content. But then it transpired that the original studies were done with partially hydrogenated coconut oil which created harmful “trans fats”. The main saturated fatty acids in milk, cream, cheese and many meats, palmitic acid and myristic acid, are known to increase heart disease risks (for various reasons )The main¬†fatty acids in coconuts¬†do not seem to have the same affect; on the contrary, it has a high proportion of lauric acid (also found in abundance in human breast milk) which raises levels of HDL “good” cholesterol.

Also, I have read another incredible fact about coconut oil is that even though it is a fat, it could actually promote weight loss!¬† The reason is again because of the healthy medium-chain fatty acids.¬† These fatty acids do not circulate in the bloodstream like other fats, but are sent directly to the liver where they are immediately converted into energy, just like carbohydrates.¬† So the body uses the fat in coconut oil to produce energy, rather than be stored as body fat.¬† Medium-chain fatty acids found in coconut oil also speed up the body’s metabolism burning more calories and promoting weight loss.¬† For more information, read Bruce Fife’s book The Healing Miracles of Coconut Oil.¬†

Coconut oil can be bought online, though the very best priced one I have found is an Organic Store just outside Chester. It is Organic, Virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil, and it costs £6.85 for about 500g. You keep it in the fridge (where it is hard) and take it out to room temp. when you want to use it (where it is soft enough to work with) Apparently the fats are very stable in cooking aswell, though I have not ever looked into this, nor tried cooking with it.

Bounty Bar Bites (makes about 16) These are sooooo goooood!!!

For the coconut bites:

  • 1/2 a cup of coconut oil (about 60g)
  • 1 cup of dessicated coconut (about 60g)
  • 3 T of quality, raw honey *¬† (see below, “A word about honey”)
  • small pinch of ground sea salt (optional)

Put some water in the bottom of a saucepan, and bring up to a little hotter than handhot. Remove from the heat, place a your coconut oil in a bowl, in the water. Cover, and leave for 5-7 minutes, or until liquid. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Press into mini silicone-type cases. You should get 15-16 from this recipe. Place in fridge overnight, or for about 2 hours.

For the Chocolate topping:

  • 1/4 Cup coconut oil (about 30g)
  • 1/4 cup raw honey (about 50g)
  • 1/4 cup (15-20g) raw cacao powder, or unsweetened cocoa powder* (see below: “A word on cacao and cocoa“)
  • 2 small one-finger-and-thumb pinches of ground sea salt (optional. Did I mention I like salt?)

Repeat the same process as Part 1. Melt the coconut oil down gently over some warm water, stir in the honey and chocolate powder. With a teaspoon, cover the tops of the coconut treats, and refridgerate until solid. Here are the little lovelies in their cases:

Hello ickle Bounty Bar bites!

 

 

And here they are, ready for consumption.!!

Heavenly. Seriously.

 

These must be kept in the fridge. As you can see, I just topped them off with the chocolate, as I am all for simplicity. Oh my. It’s sad that nobody in my family except me enjoys the flavour of coconut….*sigh*…….

PS. Notes.

A Word on Honey This is my preferred liquid sweetener. Ideally you want to be sure you are getting “raw honey”; honey that has not been boiled to death, annihilating all of the mineral and amino acid goodness it naturally has. You do not necessarily need to buy one labelled “Raw Honey” (Indeed, if it is labelled thus, prepare to dig deep!) If you try to buy your honey from local beekeepers at farmers markets, where you can talk to them, you will rarely, if ever, find a local small-scale beekeeper who heats their honey. They don’t have the means or the inclination. I have met at least 12 local beekeepers and none of them heat their honey. Lots of the low-end priced supermarket honey has been heated.

A Word on Raw Cacao and Cocoa Powder These are not the same. Raw cacao has been minimally processed and not heated to high temperatures like its roasted counterpart “cocoa powder”. It is extremely rich in minerals (the highest in magnesium on earth, by all accounts) and anti-oxidant activity. The health benefits of “raw chocolate” has become a bit of a revolution. More on that another day. However……it is very expensive. And while- of course– I’m worth it, and so are my family, it is still on the wrong side of my food budget line. So I use organic unsweetened cocoa powder and that’s fine with me. Antioxidant activity was found even in regular shop dark chocolate bars (though these are still quite sugarey, which is why i prefer to create at home when I want a little chocolate experience) Not in milk chocolate. They think the milk proteins bind with the antioxidants, rendering them useless.

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