perfect in a pinch

home made organic coconut milk & coconut flour

I’ve been running dangerously low on supplies……

It’s a rare moment where I’m caught with an empty pantry & an order which calls for an ingredient I no longer have stocked.

Shameful, I must admit, but apparently I too am human.

The question is, what is a girl to do when she has an order for here amazing sugar cookies, & yet, is all out of coconut flour?

Easy. Make her own coconut flour.

Why yes, yes I did say I was going to make my own organic coconut flour. How’d you like them coconuts! (see what I did there, that slight of words & slip of a movie quote?)

We can argue all day about store-bought vs. homemade coconut flour, really. Both have HUGE plus & minuses that can be pitted against each other. At the end of my day though, I’m all out & I know for a fact that an order wouldn’t come by post till way after my cookies are due for delivery. So for me, it’s an all win situation. Not to mention that a by-product of making my own flour results in a full litre of freshly made organic coconut milk that comes with absolutely no preservatives or additives! See?

Win. Win. WIN! Situation.

One could really say it’s a twofer.

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new & improved carrot cake

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-free

I used to have a carrot cake recipe that I would use to woo people with. It was delicious & perfect, and completely stolen from Ottolenghi…. Yes, I confessed to this a few years ago in this post.

If it had been up to me, I would have gone on for another decade using the same tried & tested recipe. Not everything in this life is within my control, however.

You know how they say that good things come from bad situations? I’d like to think my new recipe is one of those good things.

I had a failed attempt where I’d simply tried to convert the old Ottolenghi recipe to gluten-free… my cake literally fell apart. Pieces. There were pieces of cake just sliding off & landing in a pile of crumbs. Disaster doesn’t even begin to cut it. Once I scrapped the conversion of his recipe & decided to start afresh with my own, things started to come together nicely.

Moist carrot cake with coconut & walnuts, & a delicious cream cheese frosting.... all gluten-freePleased doesn’t even begin to explain just how thrilled I am with the results. So that’s the moral of this little story… a change in circumstance led me to write my very own carrot cake recipe & branch away from the theft of someone else’s. I guess I became a better person for it.

Make it. Love it. Thank me later.

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creamy coconut & almond chocolates

milk chocolates filled with a creamy almond & coconut filling

Every muscle in my body aches.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to dig a hole in the dirt, when the dirt is basically hardened clay & lots of rocks??

I’m not talking about some pathetic little hole, either. I’m talking about a full on trench!

No one told me that organic gardening would be hard. That the soil could basically be barren of anything resembling nutrients. That weeds would thrive, or snails would reign terror. No, I wasn’t given the 411 before I started my little adventure into exploring my green thumbs.

Going away to Athens for a week because we were let-go from our previous employment? Bad idea.

Not that we didn’t have fun, we had a ton of fun. My garden has run rampant in my absence however & it’s taking a lot of very labour intensive work to get back into shape.

Pruning. Weeding. Burying compost. De-snailing. Re-potting. Cleaning up.

There’s been a full workload the past two days & now it’s time to treat myself to chocolate. Lots & lots of little milk chocolate bites filled with a creamy almond & coconut filling. I’ve been storing them in the fridge too so they have this slightly refreshing feeling whilst you’re eating them.

Tonight is a night for “Mad Men” & chocolate. I’ve already had my long, pampering shower so I no longer smell like a man, & now it’s time to relax. Maybe even a spot of knitting.

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sweet thai chili & coconut chicken strips

gluten-free

There are somethings in our kitchen that “they” have convinced us we have to buy ready made. Many of those, like mustard or ketchup, are sometimes better left to the pros. Not that you can’t make ketchup your self, but the effort and expertise that only comes through trial and error sometimes need a lot of time & patience to perfect.

However, there are others that are so easy to make and so very satisfying to consume that it’s a pity that we let a big factory take over the process rather than venture to do it ourselves. Making a simple jam or a sauce only requires a few ingredients. Economically speaking, it might be cheaper to buy it pre-made…. but can you really pronounce all of the ingredients listed on the back? How good for you can those be? Personally, I’d rather not consume them…..

With this in mind, we made a classic, eastern sauce that goes amazingly well with most things. Seafood, chicken, noodles, salads… you name it. I am talking about sweet thai chili sauce.

I have forgotten to mention the most important thing about making this yourself… you can adjust how sweet, vinegary, or hot it becomes according to your personal preferences. Play around with the quantities to get exactly what you like. Keep in mind one thing though as you proceed, the spiciness comes from the seeds of the pepper, not the flesh, and the heat will mellow out the longer you keep it jarred.

– Mel

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coconut & lemongrass cake

Something is well & truly wrong with me.

At the time I made the cake, it was the only thing I could do to appease the god of cravings. The urge to consume coconut in the form of a dense, moist cake with a light island like flavor was just overwhelming.

Now?

Now that I have to recount the story of the cake, the only thing I can think of is my small kitchen, my little Sushi who liked to sleep between my feet whilst I worked away, and Mel, my monster of a man who undoubtedly would devour every crumb that was left in his path. I miss that. I miss them.

I wonder if making the cake again now would bring my boys here to me, or maybe even transport me back to them.

Oh I’m such a sap sometimes.

Seriously though, when I say I had cravings, I mean my taste-buds had full on pledged war against me until I gave them what they wanted. I wasn’t allowed to enjoy anything else until I broke down & wrote this recipe.

It was worth it. It was totally worth it.

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