Posts tagged coconut

Passionfruit Crème Brûlée

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ith Valentines Day heavy on the February agenda and a strong committed desire to stay at home and cook up a feast, this dessert made a perfect and suggestively named addition. Personally, the thought of going out for dinner on Valentines Day fills me with dread! The busy restaurants, the ‘special menus’, the overpriced deals and the crowds of daters and lovers. Understandably, showing your love with your cooking is not for everyone. And I’ll admit, for someone who loves nothing but spending a month menu planning and an entire evening in the kitchen, creating a 3 course feast was selfishly high on my priorities. This also being the way to a/my man’s heart, it seemed like a win-win…

When thinking of a menu, creme brûlée and passion fruit were the first things on the list being two of my beloved guests favourites. A decadent, creamy and light end to a meal that finished off a French themed super perfectly. Call me cliche with the theme but I didn’t hear any complaints…

I always fail to remember how easy creme brûlée is to make. And this year I finally, FINALLY invested in a cooks blowtorch. And an investment I wish I’d done long ago. A cheap and tremendously useful kitchen addition. Gone are the days of burnt creme brûlées shamefully neglected under the grill. Sweet creme brûlée, a mans gadget and the involvement of flames…again…a win-win dessert. And who doesn’t love the first crack of the sugary top!?

Serving suggestion: I failed to make these on the night but I’d serve these with mini coconut shortbreads. See here and instead of adding the rosemary, replace with 2 tbsp of lightly toasted desiccated coconut.

Serves 5 (I reused the infamous ‘Gu’ ramekins and this made 5)

  • 500ml double cream
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 6 passion fruit
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C. Find a deep roasting tin and get your ramekins ready in the tray.
  2. Add the double cream to a saucepan and scarp in the seeds of the vanilla pod using a teaspoon and add in the pod too. Scald the cream. I.e. Heat until just below the boiling point. It should be just ready to bubble but not simmer. Remove from the what and let the vanilla infuse for a few moment while you whisk the eggs.
  3. In a large bowl, add the egg yolks, sugar and the pulp from all the passion fruits. Whisk well to combine.
  4. Place a tea towel underneath the bowl to prevent it moving and then, whilst whisking continuously, pour in the hot cream in a slow stream. Continue whisking until well combined.
  5. Strain the mixture through a sieve into a good pouring jug or saucepan. Discard the vanilla pod husk and the passion fruit seeds.
  6. Pour the mixture evenly among the ramekins in the roasting tray filling to the top.
  7. Fill the tray with hot water, pouring until the liquid comes about halfway up the ramekins.
  8. Carefully so as not to spill, place the tray in the centre of the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes until just set and with a very slight wobble in the centre. Leave to cool completely before chilling in the fridge.
  9. When ready to eat, remove from the fridge and scatter a thin, even layer of caster sugar over the top. Using your blow torch, glaze the surface and the sugar will begin to caramelise. Rotate the ramekin as it melts to ensure it evenly caramelises being careful not to burn. Sit for about 1 minute and then enjoy! With shortbreads if you wish.

If you’re keen for a French showstopper then I also made this pork cassoulet for main.

Chana Dahl and Flatbread

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e all know our favourite comfort foods on a cold, challenging day or just after a bit of a tough one be it winter or summer. They usually consist of English favourites like bangers and mash or a hearty pie. Mine vary throughout the seasons but usually consist of a creamy coconut rice topped with Asian salmon (recipe here) or a big bowl of fish soup. But dahl is another comfort food altogether and one that so effortlessly lives up to the job.

There are many types of dahl, made from varying pulses. Having sampled ‘Dishmoon‘s’ infamous black dahl I’ve been on a quest to make a rival recipe! I religiously order it with every visit to Dishoom. I even have a colleague who orders a portion with the bill so he gets a bowl ‘to go’. Its that good! However, I’ll be confidently honest here and admit that my attempt at a black dahl (recipe here) ticked the box for me in terms of flavour and decadence.

However, this variation is suitably named as ‘Speedy dahl’. The flavour is there but you don’t get the depth that you get from a slow cooked and infused recipe with commitment of time and love. So, after a long run around London last Sunday afternoon, a cold bitter chill in the air and a deserving appetite I set my pan on the hob to master a new recipe. Serve in bowlfuls with roti, naan, chapatis or flatbread alone or refined here with a piece of elegantly friend sea bass, it’ll offer the comfort you need. Its a hug in a bowl…..

Serves 4

  • 3 tsp cumin and coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil 
  • onion, finely chopped
  • Knob ginger (about 35g), finely pounded with a pestle & mortar/grated
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely pounded with a pestle & mortar/grated
  • 1/2 can chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml coconut milk
  • 250g yellow split peas (rinsed well)
  • 3-4 small green chillies, finely chopped
  • fresh curry leaves
  • 1-2 limes
  • Coriander, roughly chopped
  1. To start, drain the split peas well in 4-5 changes of water then allow them to sit in a bowl of water while you start the dahl.
  2. Dry fry the cumin, coriander and mustard seeds in a hot frying pan until fragrant. Next pound in a pestle and mortar.
  3. Add the turmeric, garam masala and set aside
  4. Heat the coconut oil in a hot frying pan and sweat the onion of ragout 10 minutes until soft and beginning to carmalise.
  5. Next add the ginger, garlic and chopped chillies and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Add the dry spices (and a touch more coconut oil if needed) and stir all to combine, frying the spiced onions for 2-3 minutes more.
  7. Add the tomatoes, coconut milk and the curry leaves. Drain the split peas and add these too.
  8. Bring to the simmer and then allow to bubble slowly and gently for about 1 – 1.1/2 hours (alternatively pop in a low 150°C oven with a lid on) until the split peas become tender and begin to break down. Keep an eye on it while it simmers so it doesn’t catch on the bottom. Add a touch of water if its drying out.
  9. After this time and the lentils are soft, remove from the heat. Use a potato masher to gently ‘mush’ the lentils into a paste. This is just to make it thicker, you don’t need to aim for a smooth dahl.
  10. Taste and season well and add the juice of at least 1 lime or more if required. It should lift the taste of the whole dahl.
  11. Scatter with the coriander and the dahl is ready to serve!

I served mine with fennel seed flatbreads (recipe here). Amend the spice/seeds as needed.

Chickpea Curry, Coconut Yoghurt, Naan and Mango Chutney

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 am not a vegetarian (lets just make that clear) but sometimes meat just isn’t required. When flavour is so prominent there is sometimes no need for it and this curry certainly has a big punch of spice. If you’re going to make a curry, don’t be timid, the more spice the better in my eyes! And I reassure you that you won’t miss the meat in this one – chickpeas make a substantial replacement. However feel free to replace with diced chicken, whole chicken legs, chunky white fish or even lamb. Or keep it vegetarian but pulse free with chunky cauliflower or broccoli or stirring through some spinach at the end.

Homemade flatbreads, sweet mango chutney and a cooling coconut yoghurt are the perfect side dishes. Who needs a takeaway….

Serves 4

Curry

  • 2 x cans chickpeas, drained
  • 1 can (full fat) coconut milk
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large/ 2 small red onions roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 red chilli, chopped
  • 1 thumb piece ginger, grated
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fengrueek seed
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, garam marasal, curry powder, tumeric
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • Bunch coriander
  • 1 lime
  • Spinach or extra vegetable optional

Yoghurt & Flatbread

  • 250g plain yoghurt
  • 2 large handfuls desiccated coconut
  • 500g self raising flour
  • 1 tbsp nigella seeds
  • Milk
  • Mango chutney to serve
  1. Start by mixing the flatbread dough. Add the flour, nigella seeds and some salt and pepper in a bowl. Add a small splash of milk (a little at a time) mixing as you go until you have a smooth dough that is not too wet. If you do add too much milk just counteract with some extra flour. Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead for a few minutes until combined and smooth. Leave the dough ball to rest in a floured bowl while you make the curry.
  2. Start the curry by toasting the whole spices in a hot dry frying pan for a few minutes to release the fragrance. When you smell them toasting remove from the heat and add to a pestle and mortar and grind well. Add the dry spices and set aside.
  3. Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan/saucepan (bear in mind you will need the curry in a saucepan later so use whatever is easiest) and gently soften the red onion for about 10 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and fry for a few more minutes.
  4. Next add the spices to the onion mix and fry for about 2 minutes adding a splash more oil if needed.
  5. Next add the tinned tomatoes and simmer gently for a minute mixing well to incorporate the onion spice mixture before adding the coconut milk to the sauce.
  6. At this stage I recommend transferring the sauce to a saucepan with a lid if you haven’t already. Simmer gently for 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce before adding the chickpeas. Season to taste and keep on the simmer while you make the flatbreads and yoghurt. Add a splash of water for a thinner sauce or simmer to reduce for a more concentrated texture (depending on preference)
  7. Toast the coconut in a dry frying pan until just turning golden. Remove and add to the yoghurt. Set aside.
  8. Take the rested flatbread dough and divide out into generous golf ball sized rounds. Roll into flatbreads, the thickness of a 10p piece and set each aside. Heat a dry frying pan on high and turn on the extractor fan! Dry fry the flatbreads on each side. They should puff up a little in pockets and char a little. You’ll have to play with your own hob temperature but a high heat is needed. Continue with all the breads, wrapping them in a pile in a clean tea towel to keep them warm and soft after each one.
  9. (If adding any vegetables, add to the hot curry now and simmer until cooked.)
  10. When the breads and yoghurt are done and the mango chutney is at hand and ready to go, chop a large handful or coriander and the stems and add to the curry. Squeeze in the juice of the lime and taste and adjust the flavour as needed.
  11. Serve the curry in large warm bowls topped with the yoghurt, chutney and a scattering of coriander. Dip in your flatbreads to your hearts content.

 

Coconut Blueberry Yoghurt Loaf

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was recently lucky enough to receive a generous bounty (excuse the pun) of The Coconut Collaborative’s tasty products to do some experimenting with. As my close friends will know I love all things coconut. I can’t get enough. So any food based with this creamy exotic flavour is in my good books. While targeted at the dairy free among us, you would not know for the lack of it with it creamy moreish taste. I thought I’d attempt to use their delicious flavoured and non flavoured yoghurts in a cake, dairy free, and packed with fruit. Devine.

And I know recipes do tend to write this a lot but this really (truly, honestly) is the EASIEST cake in the world to knock out. I think it took me a 5 minutes. Mixing bowl, spoon and loaf tin. Minimal washing up…more eating time. No scales needed just a ratio of yog-pots!

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  • 1x 120g pot of ‘The Coconut Colloborative’ blueberry yoghurt (Here is have used this coconut based yoghurt so this is a dairy free loaf! But feel red to use any yoghurt of choice)
  • 2 pots self raising flour
  • Just under 1 pot caster sugar (dependant on the sweetness of your yoghurt)
  • 1/2 pot of vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract/ seeds from 1 pod
  • Pinch salt
  • 150g blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. and grease and line a loaf tin
  2. Place the yoghurt in a large mixing bowl and then add the rest of the ingredients except the blueberries.
  3. Mix thoroughly to combine until you have a smooth batter
  4. Mix in the blueberries
  5. Spoon the mixture into a loaf tin and bake in the own for about 45 minutes until cooked. Bake for a little longer if a knife inserted into the middle does not come out clean.
  6. Leave to cool, dust with icing sugar and serve with extra blueberries and a hearty spoonful of Coconut Ice cream (see here for a dairy free option)

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Sticky Salmon-Pineapple Kebabs, Thai black rice salad

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‘m always surprised at the amount of people who are surprised at the flavour that rice can have on its own without additional added flavours. If you pick the right rice that is. If you’re used to the same old white or even brown rice then venture out! I use red French Camargue rice as my staple now due to its wonderful nutty flavour but after stumbling over some Thai black rice recently which fell into my innocent shopping basket I had a salad on the mind. A dark and nutty flavour goes wonderfully with Thai flavours and fruits. Try mango and prawns, basil and coriander (see here) which was my initial intention. However as a nod to the gorgeous weather this weekend a barbeque inspired kebab was required. Seeing as my garden-lacking London flat could not supply my bbq needs, a sticky, sweet and if you cook the salmon well, oh so tender kebab a top this fresh and herby Thai rice salad suited Sunday evening down to the ground. Cold beer to accompany and the BAFTAS.

Serves 2 (make 4 skewers)

  • 2 salmon fillets, cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 fresh pineapple, cubed into 2cm chunks
  • Broccoli florets (about 6-8)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 large tsp sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp runny honey
  • Small knob ginger, grated
  • 4 oz Thai black rice
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • 50g desiccated coconut
  • Bunch coriander, chopped (save some for garnish)
  • 2 sheets nori seaweed, cut into small 1 cm wide pieces or strips (optional)
  • 1 lime
  • 4 skewers (soaked in water for 20 minutes)
  1. Combine the soy sauce, sesame, honey and ginger in a bowl and mix well
  2. Marinade the salmon chunks, broccoli florets and pineapple chunks in this mixture for 1 hour in the fridge.
  3. After 1 hour, prepare your skewers. Feed alternating salmon and pineapple and broccoli chunks onto each. Set aside on a line baking tray and chill. Preheat the oven to 180°C.Jess - Salmon Asian KebabsJess - Salmon Asian Kebabs2
  4. Meanwhile make the rice salad. Simmer the rice for around 25 minutes until just cooked with a little bite.
  5. While this is cooking toasted the coconut in a dry frying pan until just bringing to turn golden. Watch it as it catches easily. When fragrant, remove and add to a bowl.
  6. Combine with the chopped spring onions, coriander and the chopped nori sheets.
  7. When the rice is ready, drain well. Immediately add the bowl of coconut and herbs and squeeze in the juice of the lime. Place a lid on top and keep warm.
  8. Remove the salmon skewers from the fridge and heat a frying pan until hot and add a tsp of oil.
  9. Sear the skewers on both sides to get a lovely caramelised effect all over. Add the rest of the marinade to the pan (it will sizzle) and then immediately transfer the skewers and the pan juices to the baking tray. Pop in the oven for 5 minutes to finish the cooking.
  10. Meanwhile, plate up the rice in warm serving dishes. After 5 minutes check the salmon is tender and cooked through but just pink and remove from the oven. Top your Thai rice salad with the kebabs and any extra chopped coriander to garnish.

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Rum Roasted Pineapple, Coconut Ice Cream, Mint Sugar

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‘m not a dessert person or a sweet tooth, unless it comes to ice cream. And this so happens to be my favourite ice cream recipe! Don’t get me wrong I love making desserts. Planning them, creating them and being able to execute a beautiful creation but I usually never eat them. So with guests for supper this weekend, a fuss free dessert was required. With a fatty hearty main on the cards, a fresh and citrus cleansing after was the perfect match. You can take more time over this as I mention below (see notes) by adding some grated coconut to the ice cream, grilling the pineapple towards the end, caramelising with a blow torch or wonderfully charring on the barbeque but fuss free was the aim here.

I made the ice cream in 5 minutes at breakfast and it was ready and set by dinner time and is just as impressive as a classic recipe. The pineapple is sweet and deliciously roasted and with a depth of flavour from the rum that makes this more than a fruit salad finish to a meal. Sometimes the simple ones are the best and this is no doubt a powerful but humble choice.

Serves 6 

Pineapple

  • 1 large pineapple
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 tbsp dark rum
  • 2 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 6 tsp butter

Coconut Ice Cream

  • 400ml full fat coconut milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • Zest 1 lime
  • 1 fresh coconut, grated/ 150g toasted desiccated coconut (optional)

Mint sugar

  • Bunch mint leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  1. Start on the ice cream. If you’re after a super fast recipe, simply combine the condensed milk, coconut milk and lime zest, whisk to combine then place in a tupperware in the freezer (untouched) for at least 8 hours. For added flavour though you can add in the grated flesh of one fresh coconut or the desiccated coconut but if you’ve ever tried to grate a fresh coconut you’ll know it takes some commitment…
  2. Preheat the oven to 190°C.. Warm the rum gently in a pan and then add the sugar and the seeds of the vanilla pod. Stir to combine.
  3. Top and tail the pineapple and remove the rind. Cut in half lengthways and then cut each half into thirds. Remove the hard centre segment and then place the slices in a large bowl.
  4. Spoon over the rum mixture and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
  5. Line a baking tray and spoon the marinading pineapple onto the tray evenly with any of the leftover rum marinade. Place a tsp of butter on top of each and roast for about 30 minutes until tender. You can stick them under the grill for the final few minutes to char them slightly if you like but again, the aim here is fuss free!Jess - Pineapple
  6. Once ready remove from the oven and set aside. Bash the sugar and mint in a pestle and mortar until crushed and vibrant green
  7. Top each slice of pineapple with a little mint sugar and serve warm alongside a creamy scoop of your coconut ice cream

 

NOTE: There are certainly ways to ‘glam’ this up. Grill the pineapple once cooked for a caramelised effect, scorch with a blowtorch for the same effect or beautifully grilled on the barbecue. Add the fresh coconut to the ice cream as mentioned or make a lovely heard of sesame praline (melt caster sugar until golden, add sesame seeds and turn out onto an oiled sheet of parchment). Shortbread would also never go unwanted here.
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Beef Rendang

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‘ve been looking for a cold carefree weekend to indulge in this slow cooked curry for ages but with long busy working days, midweek life hasn’t obliged. I love any form of slow cooking and coupled with my more recent love and commitment to the Asian flavours of the East they are combined lovingly here in a comforting wintery curry that while warming the heart will also transport you to the sunny climates of Malaysia….of Bruges!?

Bruges might not seem like the most logical inspiration but a quick hop skip and jump over to Belgium for the evening promoted this weeks blog post! The cold chilly weather, the (sadly) persistent rain and the festive Chrismassy lights was cue for something warming on return to the UK. But my main incentive starts with beer.

Histroical, medical and romantic, Bruges is a small and compact little city. But it has without a doubt the highest concentration of chocolate shops and beer merchants littered on every corner! Belfry view done and canals walked it was time for the brewery tour!

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ne of the oldest breweries left in Bruges, De Halve Maan promised history and charm and certainly delivered. We began in the brewing room before winding our way romantically around the high beams and rafters of the old listed building from cold cellar to the top of the roof before ending up in the restaurant bar, rewarding beer in hand, leather sofas and a warming fire to dry our wet feet. With Belgium beer on tap we drank away the rainy afternoon with a platter of meat and cheese and long outstayed our welcome.

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o on return home and that carefree Sunday afternoon to indulge, we drank our loot with this warming curry.

Serves 3

  • 500g braising steak, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 large red chilli, chopped (a hot as you dare!)
  • 2 inch large piece ginger, chopped
  • 1 tsp tumeric
  • 1 lemongrass, bashed roughly
  • 15 g tamarind paste (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Large pinch ground coriander and cumin
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 cardamon pods
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 5 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 350ml coconut milk
  • Rice, lime and coriander to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.
  2. Start by making the paste. Place the onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, tamarind and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until you have a fine paste.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of sunflower oil in a large ovenproof saucepan/casserole dish over a medium heat. Cook out the paste for about 5 minutes but don’t burn or let it catch. Next add the lime leaves, cardamon, star anise and cinnamon stick.
  4. Add the chopped beef and cook for 10 minutes on a medium high heat until starting to colour and brown.
  5. Meanwhile, dry toast the coconut in a hot frying pan until golden brown and toasted (careful not to burn). Set aside.
  6. Next add the ground spices and the coconut milk to the beef.
  7. Bring to the simmer and mix well. Add the coconut. Place in the oven with a lid for 1 1/2 hours .
  8. During this time, check and stir occasionally. After this time, check the thickness of the sauce. If it needs to be reduced, remove the lid and placed back in the oven for 5 minutes or so or reduce on the hob. Add a splash more coconut milk if it looks too dry.
  9. Serve on warm rice dressed in lime juice and scattered with coriander.

Chocolate Mint Tart with Sugared Pistachios

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y recent adventure to the colourful delights of Morocco has naturally fuelled my blogging obsession once again. I have, for this week at least, exhausted the classic tagine and now have only sweet treats on the mind. Green & Blacks recent emphasis on colour in our taste and perception can not only be reflected in their packaging but I couldn’t help but see this mirrored in Morocco which is a country that is summed up by colour and flavour. A feast for the eyes. With teasing fresh mint tea available in Morocco at any opportunity (whether requested or not) I stole this flavour inspiration using Green & Blacks new ‘Mint Crisp’ bar.

If you’re a chocolate connoisseur you’ll already have noticed Green & Blacks new bars – ‘Thins’ – so this won’t come as surprising news. Long ago I spotted the ‘Mint Crisp’ flavour and stocked up. I love this new format or bite-sized slices of flavoursome chocolate. Ironically here I’ve used the new ‘Thins’ bar in this recipe….which won’t make you that. But hey, the mint brings back the buzz of the Medina’s and Riads.

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This tart is rich and dense. If you’re not a mint fan then feel free to make this soley dark or try using G&B’s salted caramel thins in stead. The crunchy topping adds a lovely texture but again can be substituted with pecans, walnuts, or almonds (which would go particularly well with the salted caramel bar). Devour with some clean simple ice cream or fruit.

Pastry

  • 1 x quantity of shortcrust pastry (see here for recipe) made with additional small handful of desiccated coconut.

Filling

  • 150g Green & Blacks ‘Mint Crisp Chocolate’
  • 100g Green & Blacks dark 70-80% chocolate
  • 100ml single cream
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Topping

  • 50g pistachios
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 large lime, zest only
  1. Start by making the pastry case according to the link above and using a deep 20cm wide pastry case. Add a handful of coconut to the flour if you like.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Set aside your blind baked pastry case while you make the filling.
  3. Mix the cream and milk together in a saucepan and heat until just about to come to the boil.
  4. Remove from the heat and break in the chocolate in small pieces. After a few minutes mix together until the chocolate is smooth and fully melted into the cream. Use a whisk to throughly combine the cream and melted chocolate.
  5. Leave to cool until lukewarm.
  6. When lukewarm, beat in the eggs and vanilla.
  7. Place the tart case on a baking tray and fill ¾ full with the chocolate filling.
  8. Place the tray on the oven shelf and once its stable, fill the tart to full with the remaining mixture (or as much as will fit int your tin! I had a little left over)
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes until just set and shiny.
  10. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  11. Meanwhile make the topping. Crush the nuts in a pestle and mortar until finely crushed but with a few chunks here and there.
  12. Toast the coconut in a dry hot frying pan until just beginning to colour golden and then add to the nuts. Stir in the lime zest and the sugar and combine.
  13. Once the tart has cooled, use this mixture to scatter over the top of the tart.
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Sticky Soy and Sesame Pork

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peedy and delicious. If you get embarrassingly excited at the idea of sticky sweetly glazed tender strips of pork on soft oozing coconut rice then I suggest you give this recipe a try. Another long week at work, Friday nights recipe choice had high expectations to satisfy a variety of needs. I craved nothing more than comfort, flavour and relative speed. If you serve this on plain rice then you’ll have an even speedier dinner in minutes but I can never resist a coconut infused creation. Except coconut water. Whats the fad about? Dishwater disguised in a eco-friendly carton. Having been found on numerous occasions unashamedly desperately corkscrewing a hole into a fresh coconut only to slurp the fresh juicy ‘milk’ from inside with a straw this is a far healthier (economical) and dramatic way to get your coconut hit! Its fresh and delicious. Plus you get the joyful task of angrily throwing the empty coconut onto a hard floor (outside recommended) to crack it open to access the meaty pure white flesh. Perfect for grating into curries, porridge, use in cakes (see here) or into your coconut rice!

Serves 2

Sticky Pork

  • 1 pork fillet, sliced into thumb sized slices
  • 1 knob ginger, chopped
  • 1 small red chilli, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 bunch coriander, stems and leaves chopped separately
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • ½ tsp rice wine vinegar
  • Sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 50g salted peanuts, crushed lightly

Coconut Rice

  • 4 oz brown rice
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Good handful desiccated coconut
  • 1 lime, zest
  • Handful chopped coriander to serve
  • Green vegetables to serve
  1. Begin with the rice. Warm the coconut milk in a saucepan with about ½ cup of water (you may need to add more water as it cooks). Bring to a light simmer but be very careful as the milk will boil over if left unattended on a high heat.
  2. Let it simmer on a fast simmer for about 25 minutes. You want to end up with cooked rice that has absorbed mostly all the liquid but is still loose so it oozes on a plate. Keep an eye out and add more water if it dries out before fully cooked.
  3. When cooked and still oozing, add the desiccated coconut, chopped coriander and lime zest and keep warm.
  4. Start on the pork which is a pretty speedy process so have your green vege and warming plate ready to go not soon after!
  5. Combine the cornflour with 2 tbsp of cold water in a jug. Add the soy sauce, sesame, vinegar and honey and mix well.
  6. Heat a frying pan or wok on a medium high heat. Quickly flash fry the chopped chilli, spring onion, garlic, ginger and coriander stalks in a splash of sunflower oil until softened. Add the pork and turn up the heat to get a nice colour on the outside.
  7. Fry for about 5 minutes or so until the pork is just cooked but still soft and not dry. Immediately add the soy mixture and stir quickly.
  8. This will thicken and bubble and glaze the pork. If it turns too thick too quickly loosen with a splash more water!
  9. Remove from the heat to prevent it overcooking and add the chopped peanuts and sesame seeds.
  10. Serve atop your coconut rice scattered with extra coriander, any spare sesame seeds alongside your green vegetables with a wedge of lime.
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Seabass in a Fragrant Coconut Sauce

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As an avide foodie I crave and adore nothing more than a night in with a new recipe, ingredient, technique or guest to experiment on for the blog! Cheaper, more fun and far more relaxing. However, since moving to London the expanse of diverse, exciting and vibrant culinary pop-ups, restaurants, cafes and bars has stolen part of my attention which had been held hostage to the blog for a long while. I rarely eat out, only really on occasion. And then, nothing pains and bruises me more than ordering (or eating!) something I could have made myself. Be it better, warmer, larger or cheaper! Hence, I choose my dining locations carefully and my menu choices with thought.

However, as a fellow foodie, my willing sister and I venture out on a monthy or so basis to one of London’s restaurants to excite our taste buds, get inspiration and frankly for a girly catch up. Our list of ‘must try restaurants’ is only growning sadly. It seems that once one is ticked off another is added. We’ve had some great food but last Friday, after long frustrating working weeks, a home cooked delicious meal was in order. A few luxurious king prawns, a little love, time and attention and an aromatic riesling guaranteed and certainly delivered a more relaxing, cheaper, (boozier…..ahem…..) and enjoyable evening. This dish was delicious and hit the spot for flavour, decadence (without being time consuming I add, especially if you miss out the stock infusion at the start) and highly satisfying. Followed by a few too many scoops of my cheats salted caramel ice cream it was agreed that an evening in was far more rewarding and enjoyable than filling London’s bars and tills with our hard earned cash!

Serves 4

  • 4 seabass fillets
  • 8-10 large raw whole king prawns (win heads and shell) Optional – if you want to make a flavoursome stock. Raw cleaned prawns are fine if not.
  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Thumb sized piece ginger, grated
  • 20g tumeric root, grated
  • 1 large red chilli (heat according to taste)
  • 350ml fish stock
  • 400ml coconut milk
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 1 Kaffir lime leaf
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • Bunch spring onions, chopped
  • Large bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 limes, 1 cut into wedges to serve
  • Around 8oz rice – I used red Camargue rice
  • Greens to serve e.g. mange tout, pak choi etc.
  1. [This first step is optional and can be skipped. It will add a depth of flavour to the dish by using the shells and heads to enrich your fish stock. Peel the shells and heads from the prawns keeping the prawns for later. Heat a little oil in a saucepan on a medium high heat and add the shells and heads. Fry for about 5-8 minutes until they turn pink and begin to release their flavour and oily orangey juices. After this time, add the hot fish stock and simmer gently for about 4 minutes.
  2. Sieve through a fine sieve into a jug or another saucepan retaining all the liquid but then discard the shells. Keep the stock warm until needed.]
  3. Next, heat a tsp of coconut oil in a heavy based saucepan. Fry the ginger, tumeric, garlic and chilli for a few minutes until fragrant. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  4. Bash the lemongrass with the back of a knife a few times to open up the layers and add to the pan with the lime leaf and simmer gently for about 10 minutes to reduce the sauce and let the faours infuse.
  5. Add the fish sauce (I suggest adding it a tbsp at a time and tasting in between as once its in you can’t take it out again!).
  6. I made this a day ahead and I really think it benefitted from some time infusing in the pan while quietly chilling in the fridge (especially using the lime leave and lemongrass which will release thier flavours endlessly). I recommend at this stage to remove from the heat and leave to cool and infuse overnight. If not, continue as below.
  7. Simmer (or reheat, depending on your method) the sauce until you reach the desired creamy consistency you prefer then remove the lemongrass and lime leaf and discard. Stir in the chopped spring onions and coriander. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm while you prepare the rest.
  8. Cook your rice and add the juice of 1 lime to the drained hot grains and set aside to keep warm.
  9. Heat a frying pan over a medium high heat and add another tsp or so of coconut oil. Cut your seabass fillets in half if you wish, and score the skin to stop them curling up on frying. Fry, skin side down for 2-3 minutes, flipping only whe the skin is crisp and the flesh is almost done which you will see when the majority of it has turned white.
  10. While the seabass is cooking, add your prawns to the hot coconut sauce. Add them when the sauce is barely simmering to gently and lightly cook the prawns. Don’t overcook these or they will go all chewy. They need very little time and heat so a brief blast in the hot sauce until they just turn pink will do sufficiently.
  11. To serve, divide the lime rice among large warmed soup bowls.
  12. Top with the seabass fillets and divide the creamy sauce around the outside. Scatter with any reserved coriander and a juicy zesty wedge of lime!

To serve – I served mine with some briefly blanched sugar snap peas and mange tout. Drained and dressed quickly with a teaspoon of sesame oil while still hot and scattered with nigella seeds.

NOTE: This would also work very well with salmon. Feel free to gently poach the fillets in the coconut sauce for a different technique. Serve with any greens you like. Another addition would be to grate in some fresh coconut for added texture and taste.

WINE: Served with a lovely aromatic riesling to balance with the spice in this dish. Or a beer if you prefer! See here for some lovely suggestions.

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To follow if you’re feeling like you need a Friday treat…………

  1. Mix 1 can caramel condensed milk, 300ml single cream, 1 ½ tsp flaky maldon salt, crumbled in a tupperware. Freeze until set and then devour! NO CHURNING INVOLVED! (Crumble in some roasted hazelnuts, walnuts peanuts or pecans if you like)
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