Coconut Lime Energy Balls

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

Billy Buddy is on strict bed rest for two months. We’ve been through this before a couple of years ago when he tore his cruciate ligament on his left leg and it was hard enough then. Looking back though I was being a complete drama queen about it. It couldn’t have been a better time to care for a sick dog, I was in the late stages of pregnancy so had all the time in the world to sit on the sofa with my poorly dog, encourage him to eat, drink, go to the loo, take his medication and watch re-runs of Jamie’s Fifteen Minute Meals with me.

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

This time round, having torn his right cruciate this time, both Billy Buddy and I don’t have the same luxury of leisure. Since I’m keeping a main eye on a danger driven toddler I can’t afford to worry about Billy as well so he’s been resting in his crate most of the time, which to be honest is where the vet says he should be. Cole doesn’t quite appreciate our furry patient’s predicament though and keeps trying to shake the crate to smoke his best friend out or stick his little toy wooden bus through the bars for Billy Buddy to play with, dropping it unceremoniously on his head. Yesterday when we were getting our coats and scarfs on for our afternoon walk Cole dutifully fetched Billy’s lead and brought it to his crate. All three of us were very sad that the lead was put back. Not all of us threw a heaving tantrum though and had to be pulled out of the house kicking and screaming. Sorry Cole, I’ll behave better next time.

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar at all, refined, fruit or fake.

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar at all, refined, fruit or fake.

Strict bed rest means Billy Buddy is not allowed to run, jump or be left alone with any type of furniture where this might be an option. Basically he’s not allowed to be a dog which is causing a bit of an identity crisis. We tried for years to convince him he wasn’t a cat and now we’re trying to tell him to be more like his lazy feline housemates who love nothing better to be left alone to snooze all day.

Billy Buddy

But the real kicker is that Billy has to wear the cone of gloom, when all he really wants to do is itch and scratch the stitches in his leg. Earlier today it took him a good few attempts before he worked out how to pick up one of his toys with this monstrosity around his neck. He proceeded to throw Stick Man up in the air with glee, only to lose his balance, land on his bad leg, have his toy taken away and was then relegated back to his crate. Albeit with a bit of tripe, although only a small bit as since he’s not getting any exercise Billy is also not allowed to eat very much. I know, it gets worse. Well, we’re one week down, only seven more to go. How many is that in dog weeks?

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

So what with my Florence Nightingale routine, vet appointments, hourly toddler life saving and my cake stall having resumed my meals are not as regular as I keep promising myself they will be. Organised food is such a bother. So I’ve turned to snacking.

Now, I could quite happily snack on cake all day long. Believe me there is enough hanging around the house all the time since recipe testing is my favourite pasttime. However, I’m struggling with all the sugar crashes, let alone the extra few pounds. So I wanted to create a snack that could be incorporated as part of my Sunday meal prep, would last all week, had loads of protein and no sugar. Not even dates, coconut sugar, honey or brown rice syrup.

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

So these Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the end result and they are brilliant. I based them on Bounce Balls, which I love but are nearly £2 per ball. My balls are so much cheaper to make, about 30p per ball if my maths is right, which it never is I am dreadful at sums.

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

There is sweetness here though, despite the lack of sugar. Coconut is naturally sweet and there is a hint of vanilla here to amp it up a bit. The combination of coconut and lime is ever glorious and the vitality of the citrus saves these balls from being too heavy what with the protein richness of all the cashews and hemp.

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.I am really loving these balls and not to brag but they are also vegan, gluten-free and paleo. They are giving me bags of much needed energy and I’m just trying not to eat too many of them in front of Billy who just looks at me balefully through his prison walls longing for treats. Only seven weeks to go my friend. Here, watch me eat another ball.

These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

Print Recipe
Coconut Lime Energy Balls {vegan, gluten-free, paleo, sugar-free}
The perfect snack for when you need an energy boost. There is no sugar at all, refined, fruit or fake.
These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
15 balls
Ingredients
  • 150 g cashew nuts
  • 150 g unsweetened desiccated coconut + 50g extra for rolling
  • 50 g sesame seeds
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons hemp protein powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
15 balls
Ingredients
  • 150 g cashew nuts
  • 150 g unsweetened desiccated coconut + 50g extra for rolling
  • 50 g sesame seeds
  • Juice and zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons hemp protein powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.
Instructions
  1. First scatter the cashew nuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes at 170°C.
  2. Then place the roasted cashews in a food processor with the desiccated coconut and sesame seeds and blitz for about 10 minutes or until nice and runny.
  3. Pour into a large mixing bowl and stir in the lime zest and juice, the hemp protein powder, vanilla extract and sea salt until the mixture thickens.
  4. Leave to stand for at least ten minutes then roll into 15 x 30g balls, then roll in the extra desiccated coconut to coat.
  5. They can be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge for about a week.
These Coconut Lime Energy Balls are the perfect snack when you need a boost. There is no sugar in them at all, refined, fruit or fake but instead loads of plant protein and of course plenty of yumminess.

Energy Boosting Snack Ideas – FREE PDF!

If you need more inspiration of energy boosting snacks to get your through your in between meal slumps then you can download my free PDF with 9 more ideas featuring exclusive content and also my favourite energy boosting recipes from the website. To access this amazing PDF you just need to click the link below!!

Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp {gluten-free}

This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.

This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.

This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.

If you think you are experiencing a bit of deja-vu, then you may be right. To go hand in hand with my blog re-design I am also doing a bit of an audit, revisiting old recipes and seeing how they have fared over the years and what I might do to encourage the wee stragglers. I first posted this recipe in October 2014 with some pretty dreadful photos attached. I remembered how delicious it was so I made it again and agreed that yes I was right the first time, this was really delicious and by gum I need the world to know.

I didn’t want to just get rid of my old post entirely though, so what follows below is the original post, just with much better photos.

This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.

These past two Sundays since I begun my market stall have diverted us from our traditional lazy Sunday lunches due to the utter pandemonium of cake carrying boxes and cake stands and plates to be washed up on our return. We have eaten on the hoof, our giant roasts of meat which would always do us through Monday and Tuesday have recently been foregone for quick suppers before we succumb to the sofa.This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.

Sunday nights have always been pudding nights in our house, for me they don’t seem right on any other evening. When I was a child I remember sitting down to the Darling Buds of May on a Sunday evening with a bowl of sticky jam sponge and hot custard so thick the spoon could stand upright in the bowl. There is something about Sunday night television which calls for the comfort of the old fashioned Pud. As the opening piano music for Downton Abbey is starting I am often spooning a steaming sponge into our glass dessert bowls, yelling into the other room for the TV to be paused so I don’t miss a moment.

This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.

This hot pud was perfect then for our new busy Sundays, it had to be a quick throw together dessert which didn’t feel like an effort and could be done whilst I was waiting for our burgers to grill (I know, a bit of a comedown from roast beef and yorkshires). Like any good idea, the inspiration came all at once as I knew precisely that it had to be a combination of blueberries, coconut and oats. Something hot but that felt full of light goodness; despite the change in the weather I am not quite ready for a treacly syrup sponges just yet. The fact that I had ricotta in the fridge was an absolute boon and brought the rest of the ingredients together in sweet harmony. The best thing about this pudding is that it takes no more than 10 minutes from all your ingredients being in the larder or the fridge to them being assembled and tucked into the oven for a 30 minute bake. It isn’t the grand affair pudding that you would necessarily present to guests, it doesn’t have the sophistication for that. However, it’s exactly the sort of pudding that brings your family together at the end of a weekend, squished up on the sofa, slippers on, a pot of tea on the go and Downton Abbey pride of place.

This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.

These photos were taken in collaboration with Tara at Fork and Dram. She has been a huge inspiration to me lately, assisting in the direction of my blog, cake stall and photography and has been marvellous to work with.

Print Recipe
Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp {gluten-free}
This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.
This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
6-8 people
Ingredients
  • 100 g porridge oats
  • 40 g coconut flour
  • 100 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 25 g coconut flakes
  • 300 g blueberries
  • 300 g ricotta
  • 225 g soft light brown sugar
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
6-8 people
Ingredients
  • 100 g porridge oats
  • 40 g coconut flour
  • 100 g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 25 g coconut flakes
  • 300 g blueberries
  • 300 g ricotta
  • 225 g soft light brown sugar
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
This Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp is a quick gluten-free dessert to throw in the oven. Layered with plump juicy blueberries, creamy ricotta then topped with crunchy clusters of coconutty oats.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C.
  2. First make the coconut crisp by mixing together the oats, coconut flour and 75g of the sugar. Rub the butter into the dry mixture, using your fingertips until little oaty coconut clumps have formed and there are no big lumps of butter left. Mix in the coconut flakes then set aside for a moment.
  3. Take a medium sized baking dish (the one I used was 7”x10”) and grease the inside. Then pour the blueberries into the bottom so they are in an even layer.
  4. In a separate bowl beat together the ricotta, the rest of the sugar and the lemon zest for a few moments until fully combined and then pour on top of the blueberries.
  5. Scatter the coconut crisp on top of the ricotta.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes when the coconut crisp has toasted and the blueberries are bubbling up from within.
  7. Serve warm with ice cream.

Raspberry and Coconut Jam

Raspberry and Coconut Jam
Of all the jams surely raspberry jam is the most superior? Well it’s certainly the jam that the Women’s Institute deem the only appropriate jam for an approved WI Victoria Sandwich cake so that certainly tells us something. Here I’ve amped up a very easy raspberry jam by marrying it with coconut, a love story for our times and it’s no exaggeration to say that this Raspberry and Coconut Jam is taking over my life at the moment.

Last month we travelled up to Scotland for a wedding and made a mini-holiday of it. It’s a bit on an effort to go anywhere with a baby so we got quite cosy in Fife, staying at the gorgeous Cairnie Fruit Farm which not only has a maize maze (!!!) but they also bottle their own jam with fruit freshly plucked from the vine. On our arrival they left us a delicious pot of their raspberry jam with fresh scones. It was like I suddenly discovered raspberry jam again, I had forgotten just how utterly vibrant and exciting this most superior of jams is.

Raspberry and Coconut Jam

The secret to an easy raspberry jam is to use equal parts fruit and jam sugar. To be honest once you have that little bit of info in your back pocket you can pretty much make any jam. Raspberries don’t have much natural pectin, the special stuff present in most fruit which helps a jam achieve its setting point. You could pair the raspberries with another fruit like apples which are high in pectin, also a good method of making your raspberry jam go further, but if you are after a clean raspberry taste then jam sugar is your best friend as it has pectin built in. I also included the juice of a lemon not only for more pectin to ensure an easy set but also to encourage the piquancy of our raspberry flavour.

Raspberry and Coconut Jam

Now this wouldn’t be much of a love story without a leading man and for that part I have cast the superstar coconut. He is everything a raspberry could wish for, this jam is truly a romance for the ages. The two flavours are just meant to be together and that’s that.

My favourite way to incorporate a certain flavour into anything is to include two different dimensions of the same ingredient, so here I don’t just use coconut cream or desiccated coconut but a combination of both. The desiccated coconut is steeped in the heated coconut cream to soften it up and then this coconut flavourbomb is added at the beginning of the jam process. It couldn’t be easier.

If you don’t like coconut then you can simply use the method outlined below for the raspberry jam and omit the coconut but why would you??? It’s true love!

Raspberry and Coconut Jam

This jam is most excellent as the cake filling of a Victoria Sandwich (just don’t tell the WI there’s coconut in it) so to celebrate this epic Raspberry and Coconut Jam I’ll be posting my best recipe for Victoria Sponge in an upcoming post (hint: raspberry and coconut jam might be involved).

Raspberry and Coconut Jam

1kg raspberries
1kg jam sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
200ml coconut cream
50g desiccated coconut

  1. Place your raspberries, jam sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl and stir well. Leave to macerate together for at least a couple of hours.
  2. Pour the coconut cream into a saucepan and stir in the desiccated coconut. Bring to the boil then turn off the heat and let stand for a couple of hours.
  3. Stir the raspberries, sugar, lemon juice and coconut mixture together in a large preserving pan then bring to a rolling boil.
  4. Boil the mixture hard for about 5 minutes or until the jam has reached setting point (about 104.5°C).
  5. Decant the jam into sterilised jars and leave to cool. The jam can be stored in a cool dark place for about 12 months.

Notes:

  • If you can’t find coconut cream you can extract the cream from a tin of coconut milk. Place a 400g tin of coconut milk in the fridge for a day or so, whereupon the coconut cream will harden and separate itself from the coconut water. When you open the tin you should be able to just scoop out the cream leaving the water behind. There should be about 200g of cream in a 400g tin.
  • I often do steps 1 and 2 last thing in the evening and place both the macerating raspberries and the steeping coconut in the fridge (in separate containers) and then begin my jam first thing the next day.
Raspberry and Coconut Jam

Pineapple, White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies

Pineapple White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies
If there is one plaintive cry that is often heard in this house, it’s ‘Why do you never make cookies?’

It’s true that cookies are usually superseded by a sudden whim to make a cake or a brownie so they usually fall down the pecking order. Plus cookies are remarkably easy to eat aren’t they? What is it about them that makes you believe it’s okay to have two or three when you would normally only have once slice of cake. It’s probably because you have to eat one straight from the oven when the chocolate is oozing from within and they are still pretty dough like. Later on it would be churlish not to partake in a cooler cookie with your tea, letting your cup catch the crumbs so you can slurp them up later.

Pineapple White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies

My husband is also a bit of a dried fruit fanatic, there are usually odds and ends of trail mix or some exotic papaya strips that never seem remotely appealing to me. However, these candied pineapple chunks have been winking at me for weeks begging to be used in a recipe. I am not normally a pineapple junkie but I have found myself craving their sweet juicy acidity so whilst a few months ago I would have shuddered at including them in a bake, this time round they were the first ingredient on my list when preparing to make my cookies.

I think it’s rude not to include chocolate in a cookie don’t you? That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the odd oat and raisin number in my time but I usually think a bit of a chocolate addition would liven up the proceedings immensely. This time round I poured in a few handfuls of white chocolate chips, which are the type of chocolate oft neglected from my bakes, but here they seemed so right.

The desiccated coconut was added just because I cannot bear to bake or cook anything without coconut at the moment. I thought I would be bored by now after my endless forays of coconut oil, coconut flour, coconut flakes and coconut milk but it’s just so damn versatile in all its different formats and there is usually a place for it in whatever I am cooking.

Pineapple White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies

Now these cookies are huge, so make sure you space them apart a good distance in your baking tray. They are chewy but also a little crisp on the corners for the variety of texture which is so important in your daily cookie. The true test was whether they would pass the husband test and they did with flying colours. The only problem is that now he sees no excuse why there can’t be cookies every day.

Pineapple, White Chocolate and Coconut Cookies
Makes 12 large cookies

175g unsalted butter
175g soft light brown sugar
125g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
200g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
¼ teaspoon salt
150g jumbo rolled oats
75g desiccated coconut
125g white chocolate chips
125g dried pineapple chunks

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C.
  2. Cream the butter and sugars together until very light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time then the vanilla until completely combined.
  4. In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, oats and coconut.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the rest of the batter and mix until combined.
  6. Finally mix in the chocolate chips and pineapple chunks until evenly dispersed.
  7. Portion out the cookies by weighing out each one out to 100g then rolling into a ball.
  8. Place each ball on large baking trays about 2 inches apart from each other and flatten each ball slightly with the palm of your hand.
  9. Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until just turning golden brown.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes until transferring to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Or, eat straightaway so the cookie is warm and the chocolate is still melting.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Fructose-Free Coconut Brownies

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Fructose-Free Coconut Brownies

We had an utterly inspiring talk at our Women’s Institute meeting last night by one of our members, Alison Graham, about how to get the best out of your sugar. I have to confess I am an absolute sugar junkie and anything to help me curb the cravings but not obliterate cake and chocolate from my life is worth looking into.

Quitting sugar is one of the latest fads that diet gurus seem to be peddling which is all well and good but is it really practical? I’m sure most of us simply want to understand our bodies better from an informed perspective and enjoy the odd treat without being slaves to our 4pm sugar crashes. These days we are becoming more aware of what we eat, what triggers our eating habits and the science behind it. There seems to be new information to guide us all the time as nutritionists and scientists learn about how our bodies react to natural substances like gluten and processed substances like everyday cane sugar. All we can do is take the information on board and decide how it can work for us so that our food is giving us energy and not taking it away.

keep calm and no sugar

The ordinary cane sugar we buy for baking or using in our tea and coffee is made up of half glucose and half fructose. Glucose is in all foods and is the good sugar which our body needs to make and store energy. It’s glucose we crave when we need a sugar fix and our bodies recognise it and use up every calorie of it. Fructose is the interloper. That’s not to say all fructose is bad and if you eat it in the form of a piece of fruit then you’ll be fine, thanks to the fibre in the fruit which helps your body digest the fructose. It’s when fructose is not in its natural state though that you will have a problem. Even if you do a simple thing like blitzing your banana to make a smoothie or juicing your apple, then you are breaking down the fibre before you eat it. Without its fibre bond, your body cannot recognise the fructose so it doesn’t provide an insulin response, it moves to your liver unaided to form fatty acids which swim around your body until they are deposited as body fat.

Not only that but because your body hasn’t recognised the fructose you might as well have not eaten it in the first place, your body will still crave the glucose it wanted in the first place and will insist you try and get yourself more. So instead of having just the one glass of apple juice or one chocolate bar, you will crave another then another. If you stick to just the glucose in the first place you are giving your body what it needs and you should feel fully satiated.

So basically fructose, when not found in whole fruit, is not a good thing to be eating. It was surprising to me though that many of the sugars we consider as natural and healthy like honey or maple syrup are also just fructose so has the same effect within our body. This is also not to mention the obvious fake sugars out there like sweeteners and corn syrup which again are just fructose. There is a whole bunch more reading that I need to do on this subject as I’ve only had a taster and I have found it fascinating. Alison recommends reading Sweet Poison by David Gillespie for more information and I’ve already bought it for my Kindle.

IMG_6309

In the meantime to celebrate this fascinating talk and enthused by this new way of looking at sugar I wanted to bake something using pure glucose which is the good sugar our bodies need for energy. I saw these amazing looking Extra-Fudgy Coconut Oil Brownies from Pinch of Yum last week and knew this would be the recipe I would use as a base as I’ve been desperate to make them.

Lindsay had already done the hard work and made them dairy free since she uses Coconut Oil instead of butter in her brownies. However, I adapted it a bit by substituting the sugar in the form of rice malt syrup, which is a blend of glucose and maltose. Then to really get on board the health wagon I made it gluten free by adding coconut flour which also amped up the coconutty taste and added cocoa to boost the intense chocolateness. I couldn’t just leave it there though and topped the brownies with a rich ganache made from dark chocolate and a smidgen of coconut milk to thicken it. The coconut milk I use, as I’ve advocated before, is from Pride and is very thick with almost no liquid. The thinner your coconut milk the thinner your ganache will be so it might not be so easy to spread. I then sprinkled a liberal amount of unsweetened desiccated coconut on top to finish them off. The end result wasn’t overwhelming coconutty but definitely had a delicious hint and I have to say these are one of the best brownies I have ever made. They are dense and fudgy but also light without making you feel all stodgy inside after you have eaten them. They feel like a decadent treat but also wholesome like you are doing your body a favour by eating them.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Fructose-Free Coconut Brownies

Although I’m not sure I could tear myself away from all different types of sugar entirely, I love baking and cooking too much to restrict myself, I have certainly come away from these brownies and Alison’s talk by knowing that this way of living would be completely achievable if you still want to indulge in your treasured treats. The brownies were nice on day one, delicious on day two and then days three and four the brownies were absolutely sublime. These started off being just an experiment but they have ended up being firm favourites of mine.

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Fructose-Free Coconut Brownies

125g 70% dark chocolate
160g coconut oil
200g rice malt syrup
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g coconut flour
25g cocoa
½ teaspoon salt

For the ganache:
100g 70% chocolate
1 tablespoon coconut milk
3 tablespoons unsweetened desiccated coconut

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and line and grease a 9 inch square baking tin.
  2. Place the chocolate and coconut oil in a bain-marie and melt together.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and pour in the rice malt syrup, stirring until thoroughly combined.
  4. Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together in a separate bowl then stir into the chocolate mixture and pour into your baking tin.
  5. Bake the brownies for 20 minutes then remove from the oven.
  6. Leave the brownies to cool in the tin for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight to set before removing from the tin and topping with the ganache.
  7. To make the ganache melt the chocolate and coconut milk together in a bain-marie.
  8. Once the chocolate has melted and the mixture has thickened you can immediately use it to adorn the top of your brownies.
  9. For the final touch sprinkle on some unsweetened desiccated coconut then cut into squares.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl
I never know what to have for breakfast. I consider myself an incredibly unfussy eater as I will pretty much vacuum up anything, but when it comes to breakfast I stumble. I always wake up feeling a little nauseous, pregnancy or no pregnancy. I can’t do fruit – too acidic, dairy increases the nausea, I don’t like eggs and bread is a no-go for me except high days and holidays. The only thing that really sits well with me is protein and nuts.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

I like my breakfast simple, quick and healthy and now it’s January and I’m looking ahead to the incredibly life changing year that’s in store for me I want to treasure my body and start each day with good intentions, even if I have succumbed to my Christmas chocolate stash by 4pm.

Chia Seeds

I’ve been making this Coconut and Chia Breakfast bowl for the past few mornings and it has fit my fussy bill completely. It’s not too sweet, it’s dairy free, has lots of protein from the nuts and coconut and is surprisingly filling. Plus I love chia seeds.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

You can buy chia seeds from any health food shop and they are good to go on anything but they are best when paired with liquid. When cooked into the coconut milk they swell up to form little bubbles with a slight pop in the mouth. That is what I love about this breakfast bowl – the texture. Often I think I care more about the texture of a food than the taste and this one has it all; the creaminess of the coconut, the slight crunch of the almonds, the chew of the figs and the pearly goodness of the chia. It’s a terribly satisfying breakfast.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

Since this only takes about 10 minutes to prepare I have been rustling it up with no effort in the mornings but if you enjoy those extra 10 minutes in bed I see no reason why you can’t make it the night before and fridge it until the morning, although it will mean that the finished result softens slightly but that might be to your preference.

I serve mine with either toasted coconut shavings or sliced banana, perhaps even an extra drizzle of maple syrup if I dare.

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl

Coconut and Chia Breakfast Bowl
Serves 1

200g Coconut Milk
2 tablespoons Chia Seeds
25g Desiccated Coconut
30g Whole Almonds, toasted then roughly chopped
40g dried figs (about 2), roughly chopped
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Maple Syrup

  1. Place all the ingredients in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Bring everything to a gentle boil as you stir it all together.
  3. Turn off the heat and let stand for 10 minutes so all the coconut milk is absorbed.
  4. Serve with a topping of your choice.

Calypso Chicken

Calypso Chicken
Years ago when my mum was going through a bit of a clear out of a forgotten part of the attic, she came across my father’s old collection of food magazines from the 1980s. With no interest in them herself she offered them to me which I thrillingly accepted and I have been lugging them around with me ever since from house to house, bookshelf to bookshelf, much to my husband’s consternation.

Taste Magazines

They are an absolutely fascinating read and I pick them up every so often when I need a little bit of inspiration that pinterest and my many food blogs sometimes can’t give me with their wonderfully retro recipes and advertisements for Ambrosia custard. Last week I was thinking about the current food revolution in the UK but these magazines go to show that most of us have always cared about the provenance of food and great recipes.

These Taste magazines feel very different to today’s Olive, Delicious or Observer Food Monthly, there are a huge amount of lengthy articles, illustrated recipes and not much in the way of news and only a little on restaurants. Plus, for the most part, the photos, when they are not amusing in their rigid construction with the cooks hovering over the dining tables with magnificent perms and billowing blouses, are frankly a little off putting. I can while away hours flicking through these magazines, some of the articles are still relevant and there is just the same breadth of culturally diverse recipes as modern magazines cover today. Our generation didn’t invent the foodie, they have always existed but now they are just a bit louder, more demanding and they write food blogs.

Rum and Coconut Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

Rum and Coconut Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

Rum and Coconut Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

Rum and Coconut Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

I got a little bit lost in some of the magazines again this morning when I revisited them. Topics covered within the pages range from sections tasting the best supermarket canned sardines. There are articles extolling the virtues of cream, a lovely account of a visit to Beatrix Potter’s country garden and a very detailed piece on drying herbs. Another piece written about modern technology champions the microwave and there is also a hard hitting investigation on whether a couple can live on one 3 kg chicken for a week. Spoiler, they could but they wouldn’t want to. Nail biting stuff.

The recipes themselves range from an exploration of food on sticks to a complicated dish of jellied seafood followed by chicken mousse, which they claim is perfect for a romantic lunch to celebrate the royal wedding. Having spent the week making endless use of the blackberries which I have been foraging there is a lovely looking blackberry and caramel soft scoop ice cream recipe which I wish I had seen a few days ago. Although I did turn my nose up rather snobbishly at a hot potato and frankfurter salad and a low fat recipe for hollandaise which recommends replacing the butter with margarine, eww.

Taste Magazine

However, this recipe for Calypso Chicken which was nestled in a piece about Floella Benjamin’s Caribbean food heritage leapt out at me as soon as I read it. I didn’t think I had ever braised chicken in rum before but suddenly as I began to imagine the possibilities the whole world made total sense. It used creamed coconut, an ingredient which is more than often replaced in modern recipes with coconut milk. Plus angostura bitters is one of my favourite things to use in the kitchen, I usually add it to my fruit pie fillings but I can be more liberal now I know how much it lends to savoury dishes too. Alcohol plus cooking only signals good and tasty things.

I have been messing around with the recipe a little bit, changing the chicken breast to chicken legs to garner more flavour, and upping the quantities of some of the ingredients for more impact. The rum, ahem. It is a brilliant chicken recipe, so easy to put together with a perfect balance of spice in the rich coconut rum sauce. I have been serving mine with crisply fried plantain and fresh chillies sprinkled on top which sparks it off deliciously and have made it several times in the past couple of weeks.

Rum and Coconut Chicken | Stroud Green Larder

Expect to see more 80s recipes soon, now I have started I am going to find it difficult to stop. And I haven’t even begun discussing the crazily elaborate desserts, suffice to say they involve a lot of moulds, jellies and unnecessary garnishes.

Calypso Chicken
Adapted from Taste magazine, March 1987
Serves 4

4 chicken legs, boned
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp salt
black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 green pepper, de-seeded and sliced
500ml chicken stock
50g creamed coconut
3 tbsp dark rum
good dash of angostura bitters
pinch of saffron
Chopped fresh chilli and parsley to serve

  1. Mix the cumin, garlic powder, chilli powder and salt and pepper together then rub generously over the chicken legs.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large casserole dish on the hob and as soon as it’s hot add the chicken, skin side down.
  3. Fry the chicken for 10-12 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden. Then with a pair of tongs remove the chicken, set aside and add the onion and green pepper to the casserole dish.
  4. Heat the stock in a small saucepan until boiling, then remove from the heat and add the creamed coconut, rum, angostura bitters and saffron until they are well mixed together.
  5. As soon as the onion and green pepper has softened and are staring to colour in the casserole add the stock mixture, stirring in well with the onions and peppers. Bring up to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer. Add the chicken on top of the stock, flesh side down and simmer for 40 minutes until the sauce has reduced to thick and creamy.
  6. Sprinkle with chopped fresh chilli and parsley, then serve with crisp plantain.

Coconut Crisp Chicken: Day 14 of Whole30

Coconut Crisp Chicken
No, the lack of sugar hasn’t caused me to hurl myself off a cliff, if you’re wondering why I haven’t been documenting the last few days of my Whole30 journey. As it happens, I am doing quite well on Whole30 thanks for asking.   Well, in as much as I haven’t fallen off the wagon but the mere mention of a gin and tonic or a Cadbury’s Boost will send me apoplectic, so please don’t. To revive myself for the second half of the Whole30 challenge I have had a mini break from the kitchen these past few days and have been eating other people’s food. A veritable storm of working in Central London, fitting in some running, making all my meals and sorting out the three monsters, four if you include my husband, culminated in me throwing in the tea towel and hot footing it to the nearest paleo accommodating restaurants over the weekend.

Coconut Crisp Chicken  |  Stroud Green Larder

I ate Vietnamese salads and stir fries at the Song Que Café on Kingsland Road and lots of vegetable tapas and grilled octopus at La Vina in Harringay. I even managed to find something at the farmers’ market and enjoyed Moroccan tagine with salad instead of couscous in Ally Pally this Sunday. Perfectly doable but I have to say ordering soda water instead of a chilled glass of Chablis has been a little tough. Still, I’m almost halfway through so at least things are looking up.

Coconut Crisp Chicken  |  Stroud Green Larder

Another key ingredient of making this diet bearable, besides letting someone else do the hard work for a couple of days, is when I can indulge in a bit of a paleo treat and this coconut crisp chicken really is that. This is something I have been making for a while anyway, way before my Whole30 kicked off. The recipe evolved when I started reading about southern fried buttermilk chicken and the buttermilk brine that is used to soak the chicken in overnight before the fry. This method of brining chicken is genius and makes it so tender and perfectly seasoned, especially with the addition of spicy chipotle powder and paprika. I have been working on adapting the buttermilk solution for coconut milk to fit in with a paleo lifestyle and have enjoyed it every time I have been slowly tweaking and perfecting the recipe over the past few months. I think with this final version I have cracked it and it may be my favourite recipe of Whole30 yet. It is utterly delicious accompanied by a zesty lime slaw made of chinese cabbage and sprinkled with coconut flakes to up the coconut ante.

Coconut Crisp Chicken  |  Stroud Green Larder

When you think fried chicken it just carries such an air of unhealthiness to it that it puts people off. However, this recipe is using coconut oil and also, not as much as you think, just a couple of tablespoons melted into a wide bottomed pan are enough to aid the cooking and crisp up your coating. The ingredients here cover the gamut of coconut products lurking in my kitchen, as well as the coconut milk and coconut oil, we have coconut flour to dredge and desiccated coconut to bread the chicken. It’s fragrant and wonderful but do bear in mind that the coconut crisp is a bit more delicate than if you made it with plain old flour and breadcrumbs so be gentle when removing it from the pan.

Coconut Crisp Chicken  |  Stroud Green Larder

Oh, and Puppy joined Doggy Day Care this week and so I couldn’t resist including this photo of the little tyke having the time of his life in the open fields of Hertfordshire.

Billy Buddy

Coconut Crisp Chicken
Serves 2

2 chicken breasts
½ tin coconut milk (200ml)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp hot paprika
½ tsp smoked garlic powder
30g coconut oil
50g Coconut flour
1 egg, lightly beaten
50g desiccated coconut

In a large bowl whisk together the coconut milk, salt, paprika and garlic powder until combined.
Take your chicken breasts and with a meat mallet pummel them until they have flattened down to a 1.5cm even thickness.
Dunk the chicken into the coconut milk mixture and mix in to coat thoroughly. Place cling film on the top of the bowl and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour but overnight if possible.
Place the flour, egg and desiccated coconut in 3 separate bowls.
Bring the chicken out of the marinade, shaking off the excess. Dip the chicken first in the flour, coating on all sides, then the egg, and then the dessicated coconut, making sure it’s evenly coated.
In a large frying pan heat the coconut oil, then when hot add the chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side. Remove from the pan and serve immediately.

Escape (The Pinã Colada Cake)

(Escape) The Pina Colada Cake
One of the film websites I read recently had a feature where all the contributors had written about the worst tropes which are fallen back on time and time again on film and TV. One particular entry on this list decried the timeworn use of characters dancing in the kitchen. The writer said it was clichéd, unrealistic and twee. ‘C’mon, who does that?’ they lamented. Well, I do as it happens. I do it a lot to boot and I don’t mind who knows it. Obviously.

The two examples of this common trope which immediately spring to mind are at the end of Mermaids which I re-watched last week where they wiggle along to ‘If You Wanna Be Happy’ whilst setting the table. This scene not only led me to become obsessed with that song when I was young, but also made me desperate to be part of their wackadoo family. As a sidenote, I was extra surprised and saddened to hear of Bob Hoskins’ passing a few days ago as it felt like I had only just seen him on top form, I had forgotten he was in Mermaids and on my re-watch his was the performance I enjoyed the most. Such a wonderful actor.

The second example is in the classic episode of Dawson’s Creek when the gang all band together to save the Potter B&B by dancing around the kitchen at breakfast time. Of course their dancing seduces the grouchy critic Mr Fricke into thinking that the Potter B&B is the best place he’s ever stayed in the world and they get a stellar write up. Works every time; Four in a Bed take note. I refuse to believe that these moments are embarrassment ridden or cheesy but they certainly serve as encouragement for me to dance more, for better or for worse.

Pina Colada Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

In our house we love to dance badly everywhere, the poorer the dancing is the better. We throw ourselves around to the radio first thing in the morning, in the sitting room to perk us up on a Saturday afternoon and most importantly and significantly for this post, in the kitchen. Whilst waiting for butter and sugar to cream, whilst thumbing through cookbooks and most common of all when we are doing the washing up. It is the only thing that makes the dreary chore remotely bearable.

From his very first afternoon in our house whilst we were making the Sunday lunch Puppy has found our love of crazy dancing the best thing in the world. All I have to do is start to shimmy a little bit in time with Katy Perry and he has jumped up ecstatically, paws reaching for my hands so we can prance round the kitchen absurdly like a couple of escaped lunatics. The cats aren’t as impressed.

There are a few songs which absolutely guarantee a good old bop, our current favourite is Pharrell Williams’ Happy which is just invokes such joy but also sends me into fits as it goes hand in hand with those gosh darn hilarious minions. A particular favourite though, and you’ll be happy to know I am now coming to the crux of the matter, is Escape (The Pinã Colada Song) by Rupert Holmes. We always put it on when feeling gloomy to cheer ourselves up. As soon as its opening drum beat kicks in Puppy immediately assumes the Tom Cruise from Cocktail swagger, well if Tom Cruise were tiny, furry, four-legged and drunk; still he has the charm in spades.

Pina Colada Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

I was obviously listening to this song when I dreamt up this cake and the thought of it makes me smile, not just because it’s delicious but it also incorporates all the happy-go-lucky flavours of sunshine and paradise. It reminds me of dancing round my kitchen with my family and most importantly, it has glace cherries.

I have made this cake several times now and usually when I make something repeatedly I like to tweak things here and there, perhaps modify the icing, take a layer out, change the decoration. This incarnation though was perfect the first time I baked it and I have made it the same way ever since, even down to the number of cocktail umbrellas on the top.

This cake was made this week for a double celebration, it was a request from my husband whose birthday it was a few days ago and I also wanted to include it here to mark my official 99th post. Now, many people may choose to celebrate going into triple figures but hey I like 99. Plus it’s the bank holiday so I wanted to make sure this recipe was on offer to you should you want to make it and dream you are escaping to a tropical island.

Pina Colada Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

Escape (The Pinã Colada Cake)

Coconut and Malibu Cake
Adapted from Dan Lepard’s recipe in Short and Sweet

150ml coconut milk
50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
60ml Malibu
300g caster sugar
250g unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
275g plain flour
2½ teaspoons baking powder

  1. Heat the coconut milk until boiling then remove from the heat and stir in the desiccated coconut, vanilla and Malibu. Leave to soak for 30 minutes so the coconut softens.
  2. Meanwhile heat the oven to 180°C then line and grease 3 x 20cm round sandwich tins.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in a stand mixer on high for about 5 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time until evenly combined.
  5. Sift the flour with the baking powder. Fold into the butter, sugar and eggs alternately with the coconut mixture until just incorporated.
  6. Divide between the tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.

Pineapple Curd

1 227g tin pineapple chunks, whizzed up with juice in blender
3 egg yolks
2½ tablespoons cornflour
75g caster sugar

  1. In a small bowl blend the cornflour with a bit of the whizzed up pineapple until it’s formed a smooth paste.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and stir constantly on a medium heat until it begins to boil. Turn down heat and keep stirring as it thickens. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

Pineapple Frosting

8 egg whites (or 240g egg whites)
400g caster sugar
540g unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon salt
250g pineapple curd

  1. Heat egg whites and caster sugar in a bain-marie, stirring constantly until the sugar has dissolved and the temperature has reached 160°F.
  2. Remove the egg whites and sugar from the heat and pour into a stand mixer with whisk attachment. Whisk until the mixture forms stiff peaks.
  3. Change the attachment to a paddle attachment. On a low speed add the butter slowly cube by cube. When you have almost added all the butter the mixture will curdle curiously. Do not fret – this is supposed to happen. Just continue to add all the butter. Once the butter is totally incorporated the frosting will miraculously become a smooth velvety consistency.
  4. Add the salt and the pineapple curd. Mix in quickly and lightly.

Decorate the cake with toasted desiccated coconut, sun-dried pineapple, glace cherries and cocktail umbrellas.

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Remember rice pudding at school, chalky rice congealing in tasteless gloop.

Well, this rice pudding is exactly like that.  Enjoy!

Just kidding, of course it’s not, it’s worse.

Just kidding, of course it’s not, it’s amazing!

Chuck any preconceptions you have about rice pudding in the bin as I’ve gone for something a bit different today.  Generally considered a nursery pudding due to the fact most of us ate a version of the congealing gloop at nursery school, it can have the tendency to be a big bowl of stodge.  This recipe is much more delicate and fragrant thanks to baking the rice in coconut milk rather than your normal whole fat and fancying up the whole affair with the warming spice of cardamom.  I’ve also thrown out the rice pudding text book which advocates a simple silky texture and instead scattered a handful of coconut flakes to the top which accentuates the coconut and gives a lovely crunch.

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding2

The recipe was developed on the back of my current obsession with cardamom – at the moment I am looking to add it to everything and this past week I have been road testing the spice with all sorts of desserts and savouries.  If I see a recipe on pinterest that’s using cardamom then I’ve pinned it to my board quicker than a puppy chasing cheese.  This particular use here is my favourite so far as I love the softness of the coconut balancing with the burst of fragrant cardamom you get every other mouthful.  It makes for a very grown up interpretation of a kitchen classic.

The use of coconut milk also means that the recipe is delightfully dairy free.  I would thoroughly recommend Pride coconut milk as well which is easily obtainable in Sainsburys.  The only reason I mention it rather than allowing you to make up your own adult minds is that it’s half the price of other brands – about 80p, including supermarket’s own and has a very thick consistency.  So often I have been gipped by other brands which are too thin and have ruined recipes by making them bland and watery.

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding4

I had a very definite idea of what I wanted from this rice pudding and after an hour or so of researching quantities in my oven baked coconut milk rice pudding I pleasingly found Hugh Fearnely-Whittingstall’s recipe in the Guardian online.  I have nothing to prove and his recipe followed nicely the direction I had hoped to take.  So I swapped a few ingredients around and produced the below.  Now, I do have to apologise, mainly to Felicity Cloake from the Guardian, who berated writers for not using pudding rice in their recipes, asking us to stand up for our great national puddings.  However, since I’m not a writer, I’m a home cook and bearing in mind I have already tinkered about with the classic dish so much I didn’t bother going to the shops to get the pudding rice when I had plenty of arborio to hand.  It worked a treat.

Coconut and rice Pudding 3

Coconut and Cardamom Rice Pudding

Serves 4

Butter for greasing
80g pudding rice / arborio rice
65g caster sugar
400ml tin coconut milk
½ vanilla pod, cut in two, seeds removed
4 green cardamom pods, seeds removed
25g coconut flakes, toasted

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C.
  2. Grease a shallow baking dish which holds about 1.5 litres.
  3. In a large bowl mix together the rice, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla seeds and cardamom seeds. Fill the empty tin of coconut milk with water and mix in as well.
  4. Pour into the greased dish and bake for 1¾ hrs, making sure to stir well 3 or 4 times during the cooking time.
  5. Scatter over the coconut flakes and serve.