Posts Tagged 'coconut'

Beskuit – South African rusks…

Frank loves South African food, a trait for which I am very grateful. Or shall I say: for which he is very grateful. I’m not sure what I would do if he didn’t like it! When we first started dating I bought him some biltong, which is similar to jerky, and he loved it. (I also gave some to a British colleague who said “what is this disgusting stuff?” to which I replied “if any other South Africans see you pulling that face or hear what you just said you’ll be getting a beating. Just so you know.”)

One of the most traditional South African foods is the humble rusk. Historically, rusks evolved, along with biltong, during the latter country’s early pioneering days as a way to preserve bread in the dry climate. It was also extensively used during times of war or when travelling long distances.

In the UK and Australia they are fed to babies, but our rusks are crunchy and delicious and designed to be dunked into a piping-hot cup of tea or coffee. (But not for too long, you don’t want mush on the bottom of your mug) They aren’t too sweet, and everyone who tried them loves them. Especially Frank! When I made the first batch of these babies Frank was sneaking them out the oven and munching them before they were dried.

I’m lucky enough to work with a South African guy whose mother has passed down the family rusk recipe to his beautiful wife. She, in turn, passed it to me as my family doesn’t have a rusk recipe that I know of. And now I pass it on to you! If you have any South African friends, making these will bring back their memories of home. And if you are South African, these are much better than Ouma rusks!

Beskuit – recipe from Estelle Meyer

1 kg self raising flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 cups of bran
1/2 cup coconut
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sultanas
500gms butter, cut into cubes
500ml cultured buttermilk
3 eggs
2 cups sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan-forced.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and rub in the butter. (If you’re in a hurry, you can melt it first).

Mix together the eggs and the buttermilk and add to the dry mixture, mixing thoroughly with your hands.

Put mixture into a bread/loaf pan, and bake for an hour, until golden.

Cool in pan and reduce oven temperature to 100C, then cut mix in slices like bread. Cut those slices into thin strips and place on baking paper directly on the oven racks and leave to dry for 3 hours.

Can be stored for up to two weeks in an airtight container, but I doubt they’ll last that long…


April Daring Baker’s challenge – Maple mousse!

When I think of maple syrup I think of Canada in the autumn, with beautiful red leaves on the trees and a slight nip in the air. So this challenge is perfect, as Sydney is feeling the autumn chill and needs the perfect sugary pick-me-up!

The April 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Evelyne of the blog Cheap Ethnic Eatz. Evelyne chose to challenge everyone to make a maple mousse in an edible container. Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favourite from April 27th to May 27th at!

Our lovely host Evelyne wanted to share a bit of her maple-syrupy home with us for this challenge. Since Lisa and Ivonne of DB fame challenged her to include an edible container she decided to make a Maple Mousse served in a baked Bacon Cup, topped with a meringue. But luckily she offered alternatives for the bacon-fearers, as I don’t have a fear of bacon but a fear of bacon filled with mousse!

Maple mousse is a wonderful idea, and I was grateful that the mandatory items of the challenge were that we must make a) one of the 2 maple mousse recipes listed, and b) an edible container in which to place the mousse for presentation. Evelyne also allowed us to substitute maple syrup if we couldn’t find any, which is exactly what I had to do.

Since there is a competition for the best edible container, I thought I’d veer from the provided recipes and try a lovely coconut base that I have used before. Sadly when it came to making the container it flopped. So instead I made a little  spoon out of shortcrust pastry, the recipe of which I got from my go-to recipe site. Hopefully the wonderful ladies will forgive me for this and still count me as having completed the challenge!

The maple mousse recipe was easy to follow, and I substituted the maple syrup for 50% red gum honey and 50% golden syrup. The honey flavour was light and very rich. The challenge was fun, and the recipes sound, so thanks Evelyn for setting us such a great challenge!

Recipe Sources:
– Maple mousse is adapted from Jaime Oliver is not my boyfriend
– Pastry decorations are from Not Quite Nigella’s shortcrust recipe

Maple Mousse:

1 cup (240 ml/ 8 fluid oz.) pure maple syrup (not maple-flavoured syrup)
4 large egg yolks
1 package (7g/1 tbsp.) unflavoured gelatine
1 1/2 cups (360 ml. g/12 fluid oz) whipping cream (35% fat content)

Bring maple syrup to a boil then remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks and pour a little bit of the maple syrup in while whisking (this is to temper your egg yolks so they don’t curdle).

Add warmed egg yolks to hot maple syrup until well mixed.
Measure 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and sprinkle it with the gelatine. Let it rest for 5 minutes. Place the bowl in a microwave for 45 seconds (microwave for 10 seconds at a time and check it in between) or place the bowl in a pan of barely simmering water, stir to ensure the gelatine has completely dissolved.

Whisk the gelatine/whipping cream mixture into the maple syrup mixture and set aside.
Whisk occasionally for approximately an hour or until the mixture has the consistency of an unbeaten raw egg white.
Whip the remaining cream. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the maple syrup mixture. Fold in the remaining cream and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove from the fridge and divide equally among your containers, top with decorations and serve.

Hertzog cookies

Please don’t get me wrong, I love Australia. But when I’m walking down the street and I hear a South African accent, I realise just how much I miss home. I’m not sure if I miss the lifestyle I had there; but I miss my friends and family, and that feeling of “familiar”. We moved around a bit as a kid, so in total I have grown up in three towns and lived in three countries, and yesterday I had a minor crisis that I might end up forgetting my roots.

But really, the South African in me is as strong as ever! I speak Afrikaans to Frank quite often (and he has the grace to nod and give me what he thinks is the correct answer, even though he doesn’t speak the language. Although I think he nods and gives what he thinks is the answer whether I’m speaking Afrikaans or English…) and I regularly lapse into South African expressions, which tends to cause a bit of confusion. For example:
– Loll to Frank: “wow, he’s not the brightest khoki in the box, is he?”
– Frank to Loll: “yep, he definitely isn’t the brightest cookie in the box.”
At which point I was on the floor laughing at the fact that Frank thought I was just saying “cookie” in an Afrikaans accent! (For those who aren’t South African, a khoki is a felt-tipped pen.)

So, to celebrate our rich South African culture (and to make Frank a little chubby), I decided to make something I haven’t eaten in years: Hertzog cookies. These jam and coconut tartlets are known as Hertzog koekies in South Africa, and are part of every South African housewife’s traditional recipe collection. They were named after General J.B.M. Hertzog, prime minister of the South African Union in 1924.
These cookies are fairly easy to make, and taste amazing. I’m going to make another batch as soon as I can!

Hertzog cookies – recipe from Margaret Ramsbottom’s “Cooking is fun”

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1/4 cup castor sugar
125g margarine/butter, softened
3 large eggs, separated
4 tbsp water
½ cup apricot jam
1 1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups desiccated coconut

Preheat oven to 180C/160C fan-forced
Sift Flour, baking powder and salt together. Add castor sugar and rub in butter.
Beat egg yolks and water together and add to dry ingredients, mixing to a soft dough.

Roll dough out thinly and press out circles. Line a greased muffin tin with circles. (I used a mini-muffin tin, but it’s best to use a mince-pie/patty pan tin)

Spoon a teaspoonful of apricot jam into middle of each circle.

Beat egg whites until soft peak stage. Add the white sugar slowly, while still beating. Fold in coconut and spoon the egg mixture onto the preserves.

Bake for 20 – 25 minutes
Turn carefully onto a wire rack to cool.

Orange & coconut shortbread cookies

My brain was gifted to me in marble-form. For most of my childhood I carried the full collection of marbles, taking different ones out to suit the situation. (And, at times, they would get stuck in the bag and refuse to come out. Usually when my brother was trying to convince me I was an alien.)

However, I strongly suspect that when I reached adulthood my marble-container became perforated, and one or two began to fall out. There has been a substantial amount of rattling in there, but when I come to use particular ones they are nowhere to be found.
I find myself forgetting the simple things, like how I got home from work (sober, I promise). Or, if I did indeed send that letter to the client like I said I would. Or the time I broke a flat-mate’s expensive glass and convinced him that he did it when he was drunk. Or what I gave Frank last year for his birthday.

At first it was frustrating to realise that I’ve lost a couple of marbles, but I am comforted to know it’s a family thing. (;), only kidding family!) One day I am fully expecting to lift up the couch cushions and find those little marbles waiting for me, or perhaps Frank will slip on a couple while getting out of bed…

One day when I was having a quick search for my marbles, I remembered Frank had requested I make him some biscuits. So I had a quick look in my recipe books, and found this easy and delicious recipe. The dough feels beautifully silky when you roll them, and they look like slightly flat marbles when they come out! Be careful though, they are incredibly morish…

Coconut & orange shortbread biscuits – recipe adapted from AWW’s “Mix” book

250g butter, softened
Scant cup icing sugar
1 ½ cups plain flour
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp corn flour
½ cup almond meal
½ cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp orange juice
½ tsp orange blossom water (optional)

Preheat oven to 150C/130C fan-forced and line two baking trays with baking paper
Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale and creamy.

Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until dough is formed.

Shape level tablespoons of mixture into balls and place 3cm apart on the baking tray. Flatten with a fork.

Bake for 25 mins or until firm. Leave to stand on the tray for 5 mins, and then place on a wire rack to cool.
Cover with additional sifted icing sugar if you choose.

Coconut & lime panna cotta with pineapple relish

Where has summer gone? This week I’ve been walking around in Frank’s jumpers and thick socks regretting taking the winter bedding off the bed. Apparently Sydney had the “third wettest October on record”, but for someone who immigrated to get away from the rain, this whole year has felt like the third wettest on record! (In my head I’m humming Crowded House’s “everywhere you go, you always take the weather with you”…) To be honest, there are only so many times you can say “well, it’s good for the farmers” with a smile on your face.

Having said that; Sydney decided to bring out the sunshine for Dude, Pea and Bean’s visit to the Promised Land. Thank you Sydney! We had some beautiful days, which allowed them to see what Sydney might be like in a non-wet year.
As it began to feel like summer, I decided to try my hand at panna cotta, and treat the family to some experiments! My mom sent me some lovely recipes, and the weather was just right for the deliciously light dessert.

According to Dude and Pea, it was delicious. I loved the pineapple relish, but the coconut milk in a dessert made it taste like thai curry to Frank and tinned beans to me (smooth and creamy tinned beans, but tinned beans all the same).  If you like coconut milk in desserts, definitely give this one a try as the texture is delicious. If not, substitute it with the same volume of cream and a teaspoon coconut essence.  Let’s cross fingers for some sunshine soon!

Coconut & lime panna cotta with pineapple relish – recipe adapted from BBC Good Food website

3 sheets fine-leaf gelatine
400ml can coconut milk
150ml milk
3tbsp caster sugar
finely grated zest and juice of 2 limes

For the salsa:
85g caster sugar
25g fresh root ginger , thinly sliced
250g fresh pineapples , cut into small pieces
1 red chilli , deseeded and finely chopped

Soak gelatine in cold water for 5 minutes or until soft.Put the coconut milk and sugar in a pan and heat until bubbling. Stir in the lime zest & juice and remove from the heat.

Lift the gelatine from the water and stir into the milk until dissolved. Pour into four 150ml moulds or ramekins, or even small cups. Leave to cool, then put on a plate in the fridge. Chill for at least 2 hours or until set.

For the salsa, tip the sugar and ginger slices into a small saucepan and pour over 100ml water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 5-10 mins until it turns slightly syrupy and light golden. Leave to cool, then discard the ginger slices. The syrup can be made up to 1 week in advance.

To serve, dip each mould into boiling water for a moment to loosen the panna cotta, then turn onto a serving late. Arrange the sliced pineapple beside each panna cotta and scatter with chopped chilli. Drizzle with ginger syrup to finish.

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