What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: coconut

Somewhat Familiar Chocolate Slice

I know the Great Day that Isn’t a Fair at the boys’ school isn’t for months, but I’m all inspired. You see, there was a cookbook produced. With very high production values. It looked so good that everyone got very excited and ordered enough copies to be printed for about ten per family. And what do you know, they didn’t all sell. So to encourage a bit of movement we’re going to bake some recipes from the book and sell them at the cake stall alongside the book.

Of course the recipes were all tested at production time, but us cake stall mavens would like to know how they taste and if they’d be better in muffin form, if they’d travel, if they’d be better at the coffee stall and if half of them really do require a tin of condensed milk. I do love this kind of challenge, so I’m starting with a chocolate slice.

I’m making it in the Thermomix. It isn’t difficult to convert recipes to the Thermomix. The first thing you do is look through the ingredients to see which ones need to be processed now that you’re buying everything in a less processed state. It’s only coconut, so I weigh 90 grams of coconut flakes into the jug and process them until they’re approaching crumb level, way before they turn into flour.

Tip out the coconut and put 150 grams of butter in the jug. Melt it by setting it to 100 degrees and put it on for two minutes at speed three. Slide in a tablespoon of golden syrup. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence. Put in the coconut, a tablespoon of cocoa, half a cup of sugar, a cup of flour and two teaspoons of baking powder. AND a cup of lightly crushed cornflakes. Yes, that’s a little off putting, isn’t it. Mix it all together by a quick zap in the Thermomix. It’s all a bit crumbly.

Press it into a lined baking dish and bake at 180 degrees for about twenty minutes. The recipe suggests waiting until the base is cool until icing it, but I didn’t. Make the icing by putting 180 grams of caster sugar in the freshly washed and dried Thermomix jug and zap it on speed nine for about twenty seconds to turn it into icing sugar. Add in two tablespoons of cocoa powder, thirty grams of softened butter and a tablespoon and a half of boiling water. Zap it at about speed four for about ten seconds until it’s all combined, then spread it on the slice base. It’s quite a thin layer of icing. While the icing is still soft sprinkle it with desiccated coconut.

It will crunchify over an hour or so, so hold off cutting it up until then.

I had to try a piece for testing purposes and you know what? I’ve had it before. It’s one of those vaguely chocolate slices that turn up when you bring a plate to school morning tea for new parents. I can see why you’d make it, it’s easy, it holds together well enough to go in a lunchbox, it has a good texture, nobody’s going to accuse you of using cornflakes. I guess it’s just never really made me go “wow, I really need to find out how to make this!” like lemon slices do. Muffet said she’d prefer it with a softer base before asking for another piece. I’ll wait to see how the boys like it before adding it to the personal repertoire, but it could definitely be assigned to the coffee stall. Or I could take it to a school morning tea.


Bounty balls

I feel like there’s a pirate joke in there somewhere, but I’ll let it go.  I’ve learned my lesson and am doing a test run of Bounty Balls before unleashing them on the general public.  I may also need to come up with a better name.

I really love it when people give me raw ingredients.  A friend of mine recently accidentally bought two and half kilos of shaved coconut rather than the five hundred grams she’d intended.  It could happen to anyone.  She was correct in assuming I’d be delighted to take some off her hands.  Earlier this week I was trying to convert some of it into desiccated coconut in my coffee grinder, now that the hand held blender has gone into the cleanup after it refused to be a substitute for a Thermomix. The result was useable on top of a raspberry slice, but it was more of a coconut meal than little shreds.  It also smelled gorgeous and I was keen to use it something else.  Combined with my recent chocolate mint experience, the obvious choice was to have a crack at the Bounty Bar.

How people found new recipes without an entire library of cookbooks or access to Google is beyond me.  Tons of trial and error, I’ll bet.  I was surprised not to find lots of Bounty recipes, I guess people are pretty happy with the commercially available version.  The one I decided on was on, but came with a warning that it hadn’t been tested and there weren’t any reviews.  It was also half in metric and half in ozzes.  It looked like it might possibly work though, so this morning I gave it a go.

Mix together 100 grams of desiccated coconut with 200 grams of condensed milk.  If you’re processing the coconut in a twenty year old coffee grinder, be aware it will only take 20 grams at a time.  It will smell very good, though.  It’s also not the best idea to wipe out the crumbs with your finger without turning it off at the wall, but I like to live dangerously.  Start mixing in 200 grams of icing sugar.  That will be quite wet, so you work more and more in until you have a fairly stiff dough.  It actually behaves like a flour dough, I think it probably took about 300 grams for this batch.  You can knead it and everything.  Interesting.

Pinch bits off to roll into little balls, put them on a tray lined with baking paper and whack them in the freezer for ten minutes.  Meanwhile melt 300 grams of good quality dark chocolate over a double boiler.  I used metal tongs to dip the coconut balls, more lenticular than spherical, really,  into the chocolate, then placed them on a tray lined with baking paper.  Not as fiddly as it sounds.


I have them in the fridge now, but the Horror snaffled one on the way.  He snarfed it down, choked quite a lot, had two glasses of water, then asked for another.  He’s not getting one, but be warned, you can’t just breathe them in, they should be savoured.  I hope they set nicely.  Might be safest to keep them in the fridge.  Hidden behind the pickles, so the Horror can’t find them.


Two types of Chocolate Muffins

I value audience participation, so I asked the Horror from Outer Space if he were given the choice between chocolate peppermint muffins and chocolate coconut muffins, what would it be? “Bacon muffins” he said.

I think if you’re going to make chocolate muffins, you may as well go all out and make chocolate with chocolate chips. I went looking for recipes, and loosely based my first version on that of an American woman who was making these as a healthy treat for her son who was going off to college. Should I even comment on that? Perhaps not. They were OK, and have been eaten, but required work. The recipe I provide here is more satisfying.

Take a metal bowl and melt about sixty grams of butter in it by sticking it in the oven which you’ve turned on to preheat. I do like avoiding washing up. Once it has melted, you’ll want to leave it to cool for a bit so you don’t cook the egg too early. My original version used oil at this step, but the butter makes it richer. Add a half a cup of milk and an egg and beat it all together. If you’re going down the chocolate peppermint route, add half a teaspoon of peppermint essence to the mixture now, no more, that stuff is strong. Now the dry ingredients. Add a cup of flour, one quarter of a cup of cocoa, one third of a cup of sugar, one quarter of a cup of chocolate chips, two teaspoons of baking powder, one teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda. If you’re going down the coconut route, add a quarter of a cup of desiccated coconut here. You don’t have to do coconut or peppermint, but I wouldn’t advise doing both. Mix thoroughly, and spoon into those little pattycake cases, I don’t want my kids eating large sized ones of these. It makes twelve if you fill the cases up, then you’ll get those nice muffin tops, rather than the ones resulting from eating too many muffins. I would normally then top with about three chocolate chips per muffin for an even more exciting top, but I got to the bottom of the packet and am resisting opening the big packet I got from Chef’s Warehouse. Bake at 180 degrees for about twenty minutes. When you’re testing for doneness with a skewer, make sure you haven’t stabbed one of the chocolate chips, because that will give you the wrong idea.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I must return to basting my batting.

Nepalese Porridge

Back in the early days of our marriage we would have an annual conversation. It was very short, and it went like this. “Shall we start a family this year, or travel somewhere exotic?”. It’s amazing we ever had children at all, really. One year we went trekking in Nepal.

Nepal, as you would know or imagine, is a very different country to Australia, but the first thing that strikes you is that it’s almost completely vertical. Coming from a wide brown land, this is a bit of a shock, because it means that to get anywhere you need to go up stairs, often for hours at a time. I had hoped that all those stairs would have a slimming effect on my rather large calves, but no, they just got very ropy. Camp was made every night on small patches of grass bordered by a cliff face on one side and a sheer drop on the other by unfailingly cheerful porters. After making camp they would immediately set up tiny camp stoves and produce delicious meals of vegetables and lentils and rice, and sometimes a chicken that had been seeing the sights from a basket on the cook’s back. All a little lost on me, it was in Nepal I discovered that I don’t really digest lentils.

Breakfast was often a hot porridge, and after tasting it I couldn’t believe we don’t do it this way here. I made some this morning. I’m putting in a photo of the uncooked ingredients, because after it’s cooked, it looks a lot like porridge which makes for a rather uninteresting photo.

Chop up a small green apple and put it in a small saucepan. Add a quarter of a cup of chopped hazelnuts and a quarter of a cup of flaked coconut, two cups of oats and two cups of water. As it happens, I got everything except the water from Honest to Goodness, they have a stall at the Orange Grove Markets. Put on the stove and stir until the water is absorbed. It makes enough for two, or one really hungry person. I sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar, but you could put a cinnamon stick in while cooking. It was a little spartan, you may want to add sultanas, which would start bringing into Bircher Muesli territory, but it’s all breakfast. My husband said he prefers it plain. My family is a tough audience.