coconut

Apple & Blackberry Coconut Bake – GF & Paleo

Apple & blackberry coconut bakeYou don’t get anything for free these days, aside from a bowl of blackberries and this is just once a year and not for very long. There’s no such thing as a free lunch so when it comes to blackberry season I like to get involved! I was far too happy to see there’s several bushes along a pathway near our flat which have fruited early this year. The thing is there’s lots of foot traffic down this path and these poor blackberries have been picked on a lot. I’ve noticed certain foragers getting a little territorial with thriving bushes and if it’s close to home it’s theirs, ready for the pie dish. I should know, I use to frequent the same old bush in anticipation that nobody has touched my blackberries!Blackberry picking

Of course it’s always the easiest most accessible sections of the bush that are barren.  The parts that are out of reach and buried in bramble  are usually bursting with plump, dark purple, juicy, sweet, fizz on the tongue berries. These are the ones I go for, I like a challenge. Russ and I always joke that we should dress up in protective clothing in order to avoid the tangly stinging nettles and brambles intertwined with the blackberry bushes. Maybe we should mark out our territory with some tape or a few hazard cones….just kidding! I can avoid these scrapes and stings by going to the market instead but it’s way more fun to pick your own, eating a few along the way with purple stained fingers.

I remember blackberries being most fruitful at the end of the summer holidays and as kids me and the sister always frequented ‘our’ bush with the motivation of a homemade  pie or crumble for tea, the latter was by far my favourite. We were always smugly happy to be the first ones there, filling our tupperware to the brim!. My sister always used to get a lecture  (from me!) on picking protocol: ‘you can tell which berries are ripe and ready, they come off easily when given a slight pull, OK?’. Before returning home we scanned  for bushes close to ripening for our next visit. I still do this and have already made a mental note of the abundant close to ripe reddish fruit that I’ll be going back for next week. I think I love blackberry picking just as much as the eating! Im definitely feeling that forager/hunter gatherer vibe!!Apple & blackberry bake

I can’t be bothered with traditional apple pie though. It’s stodgy, heartburn inducing and is usually very high in sugar and since I’ve weened myself off the stuff I find most ‘sweet’ treats these days just a bit too sweet. Anyway, I decided it was high time I made an Apple Charlotte (well it is my name- Charlotte not Apple!) but then I realised I didn’t have enough bread and of course I have everything coconut  so I settled on an apple sponge bake type thing.  I loved apple spongey cake stuff as a kid so thought  a similar dish with a twist made sense. Apples are  easily one of my favourite fruits and I adore the blackberry combo for the flavour but also the colour the two create when stewed.  I had a crack at coconut sponge mix and I have to admit when I first put it together it looked a bit lumpy so I wore myself out beating it over and over. I stopped when I realised the specky lumps were desiccated coconut, doh. Anyway, I kept adding milk and water until the mixture had the consistency of  a classic sponge mix ready for spreading onto the apple and blackberry in a glass dish. Of course, it doesn’t need to be glass but the colours of the fruit are amazing and it’s nice to see. I ended up baking this for 40 minutes and mid way through was a tad dubious about it working out but by the end the sponge had indeed set with a springy touch. After a little cooling (I could only manage 10 minutes due coconut aroma induced hunger!) I cut a slice and was quite smug when it slipped out beautifully. A dollop of greek yoghurt and a fork later I ate this on the patio steps in my own apple, blackberry, coconut heaven. Super excited about taste testing on Russ later.  Sometimes you need to check you’re not delusional in thinking your baking is utterly delicious when in fact it isn’t all that good!Eating bake

Of course this is good for you. Check out the ingredients list, it’s also low in carbs and sugar making it a much better choice than standard apple sponge/pies. This beats any apple dessert I’ve had before and I’ll be making it again soon, perhaps with pear and blueberry next time.

The only downside to this whole apple and blackberry episode is my ceramic pan is now purple inside, any suggestions?finished bake

Apple, blackberry & coconut bake

(serves 4)

2 cups apples
1 1/2 cups blackberries
2 tablespoons stevia
cinnamon
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
vanilla pod, deseeded
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 egg
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup of water

Method:

1. Pre -heat oven to 180 ºC. Simmer apples, blackberries, cinnamon & 1 tablespoon of the stevia in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water until softened – about 10 minutes. Add more water if the fruit begins to dry out.
2. Beat the remaining ingredients to form a sponge like batter, adding the water carefully to prevent an overly thin the mixture.
3. Transfer fruit to a glass baking dish. Spread the coconut batter over the top ensuring an even spread. Bake for 40 minutes until firm to the touch with a slight spring.

Note: Coconut is very absorbent & some brands differ. As such, take care when adding the milk & liquid as you may need slightly less or more according to the coconut flour brand.

Easy 3-Minute Coconut Flour & Chocolate Mug Cake – GF & Paleo

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe how late I’ve arrived to the mug cake party. First, coconut flour and now mug cakes. My quality of life has improved immeasurably with these two things!

Chocolate & coconut mug cake

Seriously, how long has this mug cake malarkey been around? It’s amazing, I mean literally in from work and I can have cake in 3 minutes. I do like a piece of cake and I’m fond of a pretty mug too, especially a good old fashioned english bone china one! To think that I can eat cake from my favourite tea cup, well this is a complete revelation to me and the ultimate comfort food. Chocolate coco mug cake & PB

This isn’t any old cake either, this is a healthy, low carb, low GI, protein and fibre rich cake in a mug. If you’re following a low carb or paleo diet this is a perfectly acceptable treat due to the low carbs/grain content. For me, I just like to try new things and a low carb sweet treat is the ideal way to balance my love of bread and other grains. What really put the icing on my cake is it’s absolutely delicious, turning out chocolatey, nutty, moist and rich. Second time round, I added a little extra milk and a few chocolate chips which definitely gave it the winning edge. Also, on my second shot I used Russ’ coffee cup so maybe this is the lucky mug!Chocolate & coconut mug cake

Definitely extra taste points when smeared with peanut butter but I really think that next time a simple chocolate sauce may be in order. In fact, ice cream, cashew cream, extra syrup, banana, nuts or just milk would easily make friends with this mug cake. This is up there as one of my new favourite snacks.Mug cake & vanilla pod

Can you tell how I’m oh so happy to finally be part of the mug cake circle? There’s endless scope for creativity too, I’m already planning a ginger syrup variety. This chocolate coconut version was good though, really good. The only shame was I had to share it with Russ, but now he’s now fully briefed on the mug cake protocol he’s happy to make his own next time. I don’t mind sharing this once.

Have you had a mug cake before? What’s your latest exciting food discovery?Chocolate & coconut mug cake

Coconut flour & chocolate mug cake

1 tablespoon coconut flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch of salt
1 egg (or vegan egg replacement)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds removed or 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
3 tablespoons coconut / almond milk
sprinkle of chocolate chips (optional)

Method:

  1. Place the dry ingredients to a microwave proof mug & combine well.
  2. Add the wet ingredients taking care to incorporate fully for a smooth mixture.
  3. Microwave on full power for 1 1/2 minutes. Take out & enjoy from the mug or empty into a bowl & start a mug cake party of your own.
  4. Nuts, peanut butter, ice cream, cashew cream all welcome.
    😉

 

Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

So, if I could eat only one thing for the rest of my life it would be COCONUT. I’m loving everything coconut these days – coconut flour, milk, cream, oil, butter, shavings and even simple coconut water. Clearly I’m looking for any excuse to use coconut in any form and my “coco thing” at the moment is flour. Coconut flour is amazing stuff because it’s high in fibre and protein but low in carbs. I mean really, who needs wheat and gluten anymore?

This delicious flour is made from the fresh pulp of coconuts (that’s it) – dried, degreased and ground into gold….I mean flour! I love the way it just sucks up liquid giving a wholesome and nutty boost to pancakes, bread, cookies, muffins, crumbles, mug cakes, any cake for that matter and so much more. It’s perfect for sweet and savoury recipes with it’s mild coconut (funny that!) flavour and best of all, you’ll be doing your body the world of good. If you’re avoiding gluten or cutting carbs, coconut flour is definitely your friend.Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

Unlike shop bought gluten laden, additive-packed cookies, these low carb coconut peanut butter gems won’t send your energy levels crashing post sugar buzz. This low sugar cookie satiates, providing fibre, protein and a steady source of energy. These cookies are…..correction, were goooood! Firm on the outside, a nice chewy inside and just sweet enough with a creamy peanut buttery nutty flavour. Perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of tea.Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

I just love the question, ‘if you could eat just one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?”. I know that it’s a toughy, but for me coconut marginally pips the post with oats a close second.

So, I’d love to know, if you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

Coconut Flour Peanut Butter Cookies

(makes 8-10)

1/2 cup coconut flour
pinch of salt
sprinkle cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut/almond milk
1 tablespoon Flax Seed to 3 of water

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. Combine the dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl. In a separate bowl whisk the peanut butter, honey, milk & flax mixture. Add this to the dry mixture & combine to form a dough. Add more milk if necessary.
  2. Roll the mixture into 10 small balls and place on a lightly greased baking tray. Push each cookie down gently with a fork.
  3. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove & allow to cool before storing.

Quinoa, Coconut & Blueberry Granola – GF & Vegan

Quinoa & blueberry granola

I was lucky enough to travel Peru last year and over the course of several weeks I ate my own body weight in this grain, what with daily helpings of quinoa cereal, quinoa soup and quinoa veggies! Needless to say, it was a tad overload and me and quinoa went on a break. Clearly this was just a temporary hitch because we’re now back in business, as we should be because this really is a super amazing whole grain. Just 1 cup of  this cooked inca grain has more than 8 grams of protein and to me that’s pretty good BUT there’s more. Not only is the protein content impressive, it’s the type of protein that really gives this grain the winning edge. Quinoa (like chia seeds!) has the perfect balance of 9 amino acids and is therefore a COMPLETE protein, like the type found in meat. I make a point of arming myself with these lovely facts in answer to the  well meant ‘but where do you get your protein from?’ queries! But it’s OK, quinoa is just one of many super protein sources available to vegetarians – I really like this post by ultraman Rich Roll on his top 7. Posts like this just reinforce how amazing a plant based diet is, it really does provides us with everything we need and much more.DSC_5877

Not only is quinoa is a vegetarian’s best friend, it’s pretty versatile stuff too.  If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa and like rice, it can be a breakfast, lunch or dinner. This super grain of the Incas is perfect for porridge, veggie stuffing, planting in salads, on it’s lonesome or as a base of crunchy, sweet, nutty granola. Quinoa granola works particularly well and it can be put together in a jiffy for a week’s worth of protein jacked breakfasts. The coconut oil and honey add a sweet smooth flavour to the clusters and allow the quinoa, oats and nuts to form a light crisp texture, kind of granola-esque!Granola ingredients

This cereal is packed full of healthy fats, protein and fibre, providing a satisfying and low GI start to the day. Adding fresh fruit will ramp up the vitamin and mineral content and fortified nut milks will give a calcium boost too.  Delicious served with ice cold milk, on oatmeal, yoghurt or simply on it’s own from the jar.Granola & banana

Quinoa, coconut & blueberry granola

(6 servings)

1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup gluten free oats
1/2 cup dried blueberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup desiccated or shaved coconut
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180 ºC. In a large bowl combine all the ingredients except coconut oil & honey.
2. Melt the coconut oil & whisk in the honey. Add this to the large bowl & combine all the ingredients until thoroughly coated.
3. Place the mixture on a large baking tray and place in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes. Turn clusters over mid way through baking taking care not to over brown.

Note: If using larger sized nuts it’s advisable to add these at the start followed by smaller nuts & seeds half way through the total baking time for an even bake. The total bake time may need to extended by 5-10 minutes.

Raspberry Bomb Coconut Muffins

These are the bomb!
These are the bomb!

A coconut thing.

My love of coconut is way out of control, I slip some of this exotic fruit into most meals! Whole coconuts, flaked coconut, desiccated coconut, creamed coconut, coconut milk, coconut oil, coconut butter….coconut anything! Anyway, I needed something yummy to brighten this seriously dull Sunday. It’s ‘British summertime’ and the sun has disappeared with a sky so grey that there is no sky. *Sigh. Hence a need for some kitchen therapy and some yummy goodness in my life. Plus, I need some snackage for the work week ahead. I found these muffins on All Recipes which I tweaked to create a sugar free lower glycemic muffin. I managed to incorporate coconut in three forms: milk, oil and desiccated. Bonus!

Totally inspired by all the silly best of both/half and half bread products out there, I made these 50% whole wheat  and 50% white (well it’s OK if it’s cake but come on just get with the wholegrain bread and be a man!). So, enter the ‘best of both’ sugar free (splendid stevia), raspberry (I used St Dalfours French Jam as it’s sweetened naturally with grape juice) bomb coconut muffins.

Raspberry bomb muffinsUmmmmmmmmmm. My Mum’s two favourite things happen to be coconut and raspberries so I’m going to drop some round this afternoon because I’m nice like that!

Raspberry Bomb Coconut Muffins

(makes 12)

125g plain flour
125g whole wheat flour
175g stevia
3 handfuls desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
90ml coconut oil
200ml Koko (coconut) milk
1/2 jar good quality raspberry jam

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 190 ºC. Line a muffin tin with twelve cases.
2. Put all the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, lightly beat together the egg, oil and milk.
4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. The mixture should be fairly thick.
5. Put 1 1/2 dessertspoons of mixture into each of the cases. Then put half a teaspoon of the jam onto the mixture. Add another dessertspoon of mixture to cover the jam.
6. Sprinkle each with a little more coconut.
7. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until the muffins are a lovely golden brown colour.

Allow to cool completely & enjoy with a cuppa.

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