Archives for category: Joyous Crocodile

The beloved mother of one of my dearest friends passed away yesterday evening. It was expected for the past week but so sad. What was amazing was that she left on the date of her cherished late husband’s birthday. Their deep love had sustained them and their families for a long long time and she never seemed the same after he passed. I’m thinking of them together again.

Here is a picture of her and my friend at the Joyous-Crocodile wedding in February 2012.

Tomorrow Joyous and I will travel to the city to spend some time with my friend, and her boys who are two of my god-sons and are 10 years and 3 months old.

In Maori culture it’s traditional to take food whenever you visit someone, at this time it’s particularly important as the whanau (family) will be hosting many many visitors as people come to pay their respects.

This dear friend of mine is loved very much not only by us two but also by Joyous’ brother. So to remind her of his love, (he is presently at home in the Caribbean), and our love for her, I have baked a batch of Caribbean themed cookies.

The recipe is actually adapted from an old kids recipe book that I had as a child, although I never remember baking these biscuits (aka cookies) back then. They are now a firm favourite with the wife, especially since I thought to add the lime.

Coconut Lime Cookies

Ingredients:

100g butter

1 C sugar (I use raw sugar)

1 egg

1 C flour

1 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

Approximately half a lime (zest and juice)

2 C coconut thread

Method:

Cream butter and sugar, then add the egg and beat together.

Mix flour, baking powder and salt together then sift them into the wet mixture.

Add the lime zest and juice. I buy limes when they are in season then freeze them. To use, take the frozen lime and micro plane it all, ( skin, pith and flesh), into the mixture.

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Stir it together with a fork, try not to over mix. This will be quite a thick mixture already.

Add the coconut thread (yes two cups is the right amount!), then stir it all together gently. It will be very stiff.

Roll teaspoon sized amounts of dough between your palms to form small balls and place approximately 4cm apart on a baking tray, preferably lined with baking paper. Do not press flat.

(This photograph is of a tiny tray for our teeny oven, you should get a lot more on a tray and not need to make 3 batches!)

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Bake for approximately 8-12 minutes in an oven which has been preheated to 180 degrees celsius. (My oven has no temperature gauge, so it’s a matter of watching them until they are just turning golden brown.)

For chewy cookies remove when they first go golden coloured, for crisp ones leave them a minute or two longer. They are delicious either way.

Allow to cool on a rack then store in an airtight container. I have no idea how long they might last as they always go in the first 2 days in our household.

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Kitchenalia notes:

Small flour sieve purchased from the Matakana Op Shop in 2012. Flour tin (largest of 3 matching vegetable tins), purchased from a street market in K’Road in 1995 (yes I’ve been schlepping them from house to house to house to house since I was about 18 years old). Teeny speckled baking tray luckily came with our teeny oven that doesn’t fit hardly any other baking dishes. Perfect metal spatula bought from a Matakana ‘Top Market’ vintage stall in 2012 (purchase inspired by years of using a matching one of my mothers as a child).

One reason I’ve been so slack at posting is that Joyous and I did one of our detoxes from May to July.

I figured that not so many people would like to see those recipes, but lately I have reconsidered and think that the really yummy ones might be good to blog.

Now the detox involves cutting out the following foods: gluten, sugar, dairy, eggs (although we allowed some this time after the first important fortnight), alcohol, caffeine, red meat. However, although that may seem really restrictive, there’s lots you can eat still. Plus with some inventiveness, and lots of herbs and spices, it can still taste great. (Honestly.)

Some examples of what we cooked:

– Quinoa with dry roasted pumpkin, pan fried fish (in olive oil) & salsa verde.

– Fresh snapper burgers in gluten free baps (highly recommend Phoenix breads), with rocket salad, hummus, jalapenos, gherkins & Japanese sesame dressing.

– Burritos in corn wraps with chilli beans & felafel or fish or chicken

– Fish gently cooked in crushed tomatoes, capers, kalamata olives, garlic, herbs and a generous splash of white wine (just cook off the alcohol & leave the flavor)

– Cold quinoa salad with smoked fish, rocket & hummus

– Prawn GF pasta with a GF roux sauce, capers, red peppers, broccoli and lemon thyme

– Chocolate crackles made with rice bubbles, kremelta (solidified coconut oil), dessicated coconut, stevia & raisins

– Chocolate self saucing pudding with almond meal, GF flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg & loads of cocoa

– Chai banana ice cream made from spices, banana & coconut cream

(Lots of fish recipes as I’m pescetarian and we live by the sea.)

So I’ll blog some of the recipes for you to have a look at. The wife and I don’t do tasteless, so be reassured they will be worth trying out even if you are not on a detox.

Finally, a bit more on why I haven’t been blogging very much:

In order to help raise the profile of this blog I started following some phenomenal blogs like For The Love Of The South and Smitten Kitchen. As I started looking at them from a blogger’s perspective rather than just a baker’s one I became rather disillusioned. You see, I can be a real perfectionist. If I can’t do something really really well, then I often choose to do something else altogether.

Those other blogs are beautifully photographed, with consistently awesome recipes and fancy cookware. Whereas mine felt like the school homework project of someone living in a shack. Actually we are living in a tiny shack, with bad lighting, part of my gran’s 1950’s kitchen bench, op shopped (charity shop) kitchenalia and an oven with one fully working gas burner, one burner that leaves black burn marks on my pans and no temperature gauge!

But I have decided to try and do something different for me. Instead of deciding it will never meet my standards of ‘good enough’ and therefore giving up, I’m going to try and keep going with it even though it might not be the absolute best. I figure the large majority of my readers over there are are just regular people too (hi Mum). So most people probably read it for the recipes, (or just because they are curious about what I’m blogging), and aren’t judging the pictures anyway – so I shouldn’t be so fussy right?

I’m going to just to try and get the recipes up here even if I just have one slightly mediocre picture to accompany them.

Oh and as for the op-shopped kitchenalia… well I think I might just make that a feature and see if I can provide some background notes on when and where my quirky bits and pieces came from.

What say you?

Nearly every NZ’er has an Edmonds Cookbook. It’s the classic ‘going flatting’ gift that your mother or aunt or nana gives you. (Flatting is what my American readers would call getting an apartment I guess).

I grew up baking from this book. It contains all the Kiwiana classics such as Chocolate Afghans, Scones, Pavlova, Sponge Cake etc. I just stick to the baking from it though as the old versions also include some classic examples of cuisine such as Aspic Salad and Mock Chicken. (The book has had 57 reprints so the more modern ones don’t have all the same old recipes.)

The copy of the book that I use is extremely well used. I think it is the only thing I was given when my much loved (but tyrannical to everyone else) Great-Grandmother died. She was in her 80’s and named Beebee as she believed she was too fabulous to be named grandma when my mother was born in the 1950’s. I believe this book is from the same era, but it arrived without a cover so I don’t know its publication date.

She loved to bake and taught me to make perfect pikelets, fabulous scones…and today’s recipe…banana cake.

Now I realise this is pretty standard fare for us Kiwi’s, but for those who don’t live in NZ, this turns out  a perfect airy banana cake every time.

The recipe calls for it to be baked in two flat ‘sandwich tins’ (and traditionally it was sandwiched together with whipped cream but I always make it in a ring tin. I prefer to ice it with a tart lemon icing, but some people prefer chocolate icing.

However, I baked them yesterday as cup cakes for a very sad reason. A wee 1 year old boy from our small local community, was run over in his driveway and died last weekend. His Mum was one of the stall holders at our local Indie Craft Market, so the market organisers ran a cake stall to raise funds for his family. I thought cupcakes was the best option as they could be sold individually. So these were:

Banana Cupcakes with Lemon Icing & Love.

cakes

Ingredients and Method:

I’m going to cheat here and post a picture of the well-loved recipe here. Please don’t judge me, I have had this book since I was 10 and I guess it’s at least 60 years old. I’ll add notes on any small changes I make under the accompanying photographs.

It’s easiest to use an electric beater to cream the butter and sugar. I use Tiffany. She has been with me since I left home at 16. Since I already had the Edmonds book, my Mum gave me an electric mixer instead.  I still can’t believe she’s still going. (Tiffany, not my mum.) She’s my longest serving female cooking companion. And a cheap one at around $20 for the original investment!

Trusty Tiffany

Trusty Tiffany

I’m sure you know to use over ripe bananas to get the best texture and flavour. And I’m sure I don’t even need to say Free-range eggs do I now? You can make a respectable version using No-Egg (Organ is my brand of choice), and / or a margarine / olive oil type margarine. But butter is best if you aren’t vegan or dairy free.

Good NZ butter, free-range eggs & over ripe bananas

Good NZ butter, free-range eggs & over ripe bananas

I use Tiffany to beat in the eggs and banana and then set her aside to put her beaters up for a well earned rest.

A tip in relation to the milk (and yes soy milk works fine), when you measure the 2 tablespoons, add a little extra as you’ll lose some as it heats. Pictured below.

Adding about one extra teaspoons worth of milk

Adding about one extra teaspoons worth of milk

When you stir the baking soda into the milk, ensure it’s really well mixed into the milk, then gently fold it into the batter. Some people’s banana cake tastes baking soda-y and I guess they don’t mix it in well enough. But that said, don’t over mix or it will lose some of its lightness.

Folding. Gently.

Folding. Gently.

My lazy version of mixing the flour and baking powder together is to roughly stir the powder into the flour whilst it’s in the measuring cup, then sift straight into the bowl. Too much of  a hoha (annoyance) to mix into another bowl then sift into the mixing bowl.

My favourite sieve, only holds one cup but it's so cute :-)

My favourite sieve, only holds one cup  at a time but it’s so cute 🙂

Mix the batter with a spatula or wooden spoon. Make sure it’s 100% combined, but do the minimum you need to so it stays light.

Mixing gently...

Mixing gently…

Then either put in teaspoon lots into greased patty pan type ‘tins’, or put into a greased (and I usually put a wax paper ring in the bottom to avoid tears later), or follow the recipe and put it into two sandwich tins. This makes one 20cm ring tin, or 24 baby muffin / cup cakes plus some extra that I made into two small cakes for Joyous and I. Don’t overfill the holes! Just one teaspoon in each.

Batter up

Batter up

Bake as per instructions. You can tell this is an old recipe book as NZ hasn’t used Fahrenheit since the 70’s, so for you metric people – that’s about 180 C. A skewer in the top centre of the cake will tell you when it’s cooked. I prefer ever so slightly undercooked and just leave it in the pan for a around 10 minutes covered with a clean tea towel. It’s a fine line, gooey in the middle is BAD. Over cooked is blah. This cake should be moist and light.

Icing:

I used a basic icing of approx 2 C icing sugar (powdered sugar for the US readers), a good squeeze of a large juicy lemon and about 1 desert spoon of soft butter. It’s really a matter of mixing it till it looks right, and adding the lemon to taste. I like mine tart (so actually added 2 good squeezes of lemon juice.)

Sift the icing sugar first, not essential but makes sure there are no lumpy bits. Really I just wanted to use another photo of my sieve.

So pretty

Sifting prettily

Combine all ingredients and mix with a fork till stiff enough to hold together, but runny enough to spread easily.

A fork in unmixed icing

A fork in unmixed icing

A fork in mixed icing

A fork in mixed icing

I find it easiest to spoon the icing onto the cupcakes, then use a knife frequently dipped into a glass of warm water to smooth out the icing. Then I used my micro-plane to add zest to the top of the iced cupcakes and added organic edible cornflowers from our garden for colour.

And….voila!

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Ready to enjoy