Lemon Coconut Slice… aka Something To Do With Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk

Vegan MoFo
Week 4: 21st-27th November 2016 Memories & Traditions
21st: Favourite memory – What’s your favourite ever food memory? Recreate it.

Moving is so boring and time-consuming, but I’ve managed to keep up with MoFo (I think..?) over at my Instagram… with some yummy bakery items and quick meals.

Recently I grabbed a can of sweetened condensed coconut milk from the Asian grocery store. One of my friends has been telling me to make crushed iced dessert to pour it over, à la the $1 bowls I’ve had in night markets in south-east Asia, that often also things like contain fruit, corn, and red beans… which is a great idea! But I thought I’d go with a less great idea…

Junky junk!

One of my favourite treats when I was wee lass was Lemon Coconut Slice. It’s pretty daggy, all sugar, crushed biscuits, and sweet milky gunge, a bit 80s… so a fancy hipster retro slice, I guess! (And it only used half a can of sweetened condensed coconut milk so I can still do the crushed ice thing another time!) For all you non-Australians out there: Nuttelex = plant-based margarine = something akin to Earth Balance.

I used this recipe as a place to start.

For the biscuit base, I used:

1/2 cup sweetened condensed coconut milk
125g coconut Nuttelex
205g packet of Leda Arrowroot biscuits
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup desiccated coconut

Leda biscuits happen to be gluten-free, so these Lemon Coconut Slices are now both gluten-free and animal-free! Hooray! But you could also use any other slightly sweet digestive or plain biscuit.

Warm the Nuttelex with the coconut milk in a saucepan until combined.

Melted Nuttelex and condense coconut milk

Mmm, yellowy sludge.

Beat the biscuits to a crumby pulp! I used a knife handle because I like to live dangerously. A better option might be a food processor, or putting the biscuits in a bag and pulverising them with a safer sort of less-pointy blunt object. But that’s not as fun.

Biscuit crumbs

When you are too tired to destroy the biscuits any further, justify your laziness with the idea that you really should leave a few big pieces to “add texture,” then add in the lemon rind and coconut.

Lemon rind and coconut on biscuit crumb

Add in the combined coconut milk and Nuttelex to create a sticky biscuit mixture.

Biscuit base mix

Press it into a pan and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm… aka freeze for a short time while you make the icing.

Pressed base

For the icing (frosting), I used:

2-3 cups of icing (confectioner’s) sugar
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 heaped tablespoon Nuttelex
a few tablespoons of desiccated coconut

Soften the Nuttelex and combine with sifted icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a thick icing. I added extra icing powder until I had a nice thick but pliable mix. Scoop/pour on top of firm biscuit base and spread evenly.

Spreading icing

Top generously with coconut and place in the fridge (or freezer if you’re impatient like me) until firm.

Coconut on top

Cut into small squares. The original recipe suggested 18 squares and I went with it. I’d probably go with 20 small squares instead next time because sugggggarrrrrrrr.

Cut up

Delicious! Full of fresh lemony goodness!

On plates

And pretty darn sugary… and fatty af… and therefore delicious.

Low shot of biscuit base

Pretty much exactly the same as I remember… except I don’t enjoy sugar as much as I used to, so I have to go drink half a dozen cups of tea right now to cleanse myself… BRB…

Cleansing broccoli, mm

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Vegan MoFo + moving interstate

Haven’t had much of a chance – much energy left! – for blogging while we’re in the process of relocating, but I have tried to keep up with Vegan MoFo on Instagram.

A last meal out before we move –

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View from our new place that we’re renting before finding somewhere more permanent –

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Sunset in the other direction –

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Fuji Wuji Snowflake is quite happy with his new place… peeking around corners –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

… and lying in sunbeams.

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Taking the kids for a climb on the dice at a nearby park –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Picking up delicious bakery products from a new all-vegan bakery on the Gold Coast, Flour Of Life, midway between our old place and new place while moving – TVP meat pies, seitan chicken pies, boston bun (and a few other bits consumed before the photo! Potato-topped pies and sausage rolls and cinnamon doughnuts) –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

One of the first visitors to our new place… and probably among the tiniest we’ll have…

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Grabbing some snacks from the all-vegan café 2 doors up from our building(!) –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Trying out the new kitchen –

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

Lunch today! Including some PINK FOOD.

A photo posted by Renée Grrrl (@tahinikill) on

A few more pics and pieces over at my Instagram.

Now we are connected to the NBN(!) I have fewer excuses not to blog… 🙂

… apart from endless unpacking, organising and reorganising, trying to keep the children entertained at the same time, and worrying about how the kitty is settling in. 💖

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All things far away… mashed together…

Vegan MoFo
Week 2: 7th-13th November 2016 International Week
November 8th: Far Away – If you dug straight down, where would you come out? Make something from that country!

Oh, this will be exciting! she thinks.

*gets on Google and finds free map tools: tunnel to the other side of the Earth*

*lands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean*

Bugger.

*checks for closest country*

Western Sahara. Well, at least I covered that when I taught my kids some geography last year, and we read a cool kids book called Africa Is Not A Country – great read, that one… So, Western Sahara borders Morocco… so chickpea tagine? Yum. But I broke my fancy tagine pot last time I moved, oof, sadness.

*twiddles thumbs sadly for hours*

*looks at MoFo blogs*

Kittens Gone Lentil has already done a tagine! Looks great! Hmm, I better do something else…

So, I’m in the ocean… Maybe I’m on a boat (no, don’t start singing that, shut up, brain). What am I going to eat? Seaweed? Yeah, why not? And the UK is in the Atlantic so I could go Anglophile and do some fish’n’chips – ie. seafu (tofu wrapped in seaweed) and baked fries… something I do fairly often as an easy meal that my kids enjoy… but hmm, I’m much more of a ruddy Scot so I’d best mess up that Sassenach food a bit, it’s too simple otherwise…

*grabs some cookbooks*

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*mashes them together*

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Voilà!

I made nori tempeh fish from Japan (well, an adaptation, clearly, so Indonesian-Japanese fusion..?) baked in Indian aloo bonda chickpea batter with sweet potato fries, North American style… to make a not-very-classic version of a British dish for this MoFo adventure in the north Atlantic Ocean… I also made some soy Greek yogurt-based tartare sauce… which is possibly of French origin. There’s chopped up capers, mustard, and other seasoning guff in it. Worked out pretty nicely!

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Have I destroyed the timeline sufficiently? … wait, what? No, not that.

I’ve tried to tear down some foodie walls between nations instead of building them. It tasted pretty good, the kids were happy with it. The tempeh fish-bondas would have been nicer deep-fried than baked, but I ain’t gonna do that on a hot day at lunchtime. The oven was bad enough!

I know a fusion day is coming up later in the week… but this is commonly how I roll in the kitchen: throw everything in the air, see where it lands… and apparently, today, it was far, far out to sea. ⛵

Or possibly in outer space. 🚀

Just having one of those days!

Vegan MoFo 2016 - corn banner

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Food indigenous to South-east Queensland, Australia… with some imported additions…

Firstly, over the weekend I was travelling and preparing to move, so you’ll have to forgive my lack of MoFo blogging, but over on my Instagram and Twitter you may have seen some brief updates for Late Night Snack day, a meal at Tea Master in-between, and Comfort food day. Now we’re on to –

Vegan Month of Food
Week 2: 7th-13th November 2016 International Week
November 7th: Close to Home – Make a food from your own country, state, or hometown.

I could’ve gone with something colonialesque like a cheerful sugary pavlova or chocolatey lamingtons… but nope, delicious as those are, I’ve got my Nope hat on today – the Nope is strong in this one. Soooo rather than rant and rave about the various horrors of colonialism and the many white lies Australian history books tell (further reading: Black Founders) instead I’ll share some photos of when my family harvested some indigenous food – bunya nuts!

The food had great significance to Aboriginal Australians who held an enormous bunya harvest, feast, and trade festival every few years that thousands of people would attend… terra nullius, indeed. :/ The last gathering was held around 1902 before a great deal of the bunya trees were felled to make way for timber plantations.

Bunya nuts, found predominantly in South-East Queensland, are found inside enormous football size (at least!) cones from enormous 30-45m (98-148ft) bunya trees, each spiky cone weighing up to 10kg and containing 30-100 nuts… As you can imagine, it’s best not to stand underneath these trees when their cones are approaching maturity! Lots of enormousness. Coconut palms don’t seem so dangerous any more, huh? Australia: where even the trees are trying to kill you.

Spiky murder balls aka bunya cones
Spiky murder balls that fall from the sky aka bunya cones

Traditionally the nuts were often ground into a flour or roasted and eaten like chestnuts – and they are fairly similar to the roasted Japanese chestnuts I’ve eaten: delicious, nutty, and a bit starchy.

Pulling apart the bunya cones
Pulling apart the bunya cones

A wheelbarrow full of nuts... but wait, there's still more to pull apart!
A wheelbarrow full of nuts… but wait, there’s still more to pull apart!

My husband’s family has a property west of the Gold Coast with a few trees on their land, so I was lucky enough to get to try lots of nuts a few years back.

We left them in their shells to dry out a bit... yes, there are multiple hullings to go through. These trees don't make it easy.
We left them in their soft woody shells to dry out a bit… you can’t just crack these babies open, they require some hacking with a knife… yes, there are multiple hullings to go through. These trees don’t make it easy.

In modern times, urban foragers typically roast them, or parboil and pan-cook them with salt and garlic or toss them in a curry… They reminded me of wee potatoes, so I thought I’d have a go at cooking them in a garlicky pasta sauce, a bit like gnocchi.

De-hulled and simmering away in a big pan of garlicky marinara sauce.
De-hulled and simmering away in a big pan of garlicky marinara sauce.

Served over pasta.
Served over buckwheat spirals.

The bunya nuts are quite smooth so they don’t hold sauce well, but all together it was still quite delicious. Starch served over starch: can’t go wrong!

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Baked beans gone wild

Vegan MoFo
Week 1: 1st-6th November 2016 Treat Yourself (and others)!
3rd: Treat yourself… to a break – What’s your “easy cook” meal? That you make when you can’t be bothered to cook much?

*puts loaf of bread on plate*

*slams down tin of beans and peels back lid*

DONE. Gourmet af.

bread loaf and tin of beans

That’s homemade gorram sourdough. If I want to eat half a loaf, I bloody well will. It’s delicious.

At this point in the process of throwing together an easy meal I get to thinking, what if I warmed up the beans and toasted the bread? That shit would be lit.

pot of beans

With the bread in the toaster and the beans warming on the stove, I realise I have some leftover pressure-cooked white beans in the fridge and I add about 1.5 cups worth to the saucepan to extend the baked beans – the sauce to beans ratio is always too damn high – and I’ve just doubled the tin for a few cents. Suck on that, Heinz.

Then I get to thinking, but if I’m having beans, surely I should have some greens as well! Beans and greens all the way, baby. So I pull this out of the fridge…

salad and pickled cabbages

Pairing kim chi with baked beans on toast is a legitimate lifestyle choice. Don’t judge me, Anglophiles.

beans and stuff

See? Look at that. Beautiful. I even went a bit fancy and fried a couple of tofu sausages I bought at the stupormarket. And again –

beans again

Glorious.

food arial view

And a bit of sauerkraut for the kids because that kim chi is peppery.

Sure, you could say a proper easy meal would be just beans on toast and not accompanied by a handful of salad, a scoop of fermented cabbage, and a splatter of balsamic, and a sausage on the side… and maybe you could also say I shouldn’t mix cuisines with quite so much reckless abandon… but you’d be wrong. Sometimes in life you have to take risks. I, too, like to live dangerously. May the force be with you. Live long and prosper. I might have had a strong cup of coffee this morning, who knows.

One starts off preparing a quick-and-easy meal always with the best of intentions, and one always lets things get out of hand… if only a little bit.

Kim chi is life. Peace out.

vegan month of food

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Vegan salads: not all leaves and twigs!

Vegan MoFo
Week 1: 1st-6th November 2016 Treat Yourself (and others)!
November 2nd: How to make friends – What’s your go to “impress me” meal?

Not to go for the obvious choice or anything… well, okay. Captain Obvious: AWAY!

Sorry… Not sorry, because you do win friends with salad, providing it’s not a bowl of sad, limp iceberg lettuce… and Lisa The Vegetarian is as brilliant a Simpsons episode as they come.

I typically use Ani Phyo‘s books for salad recipes because she is legit bawse af when it comes to creating salad recipes… as you’d hope from a raw vegan chef! Although her dessert recipes are also legit af due to her pregan background as a pastry chef… but I digress… because the following two salads are neither Ani Phyo’s recipes or entirely raw. I had a hankering for something a bit heartier – starchier! – today.

I’ve taken this potato and artichoke salad from Leah Leneman’s Vegan Cooking For Everyone to many lunches and it’s always been a hit! Normally I add capers, but today I went with chickpeas and a side of crusty baguette drizzled with garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, and sprinkled with nooch and salt… mmm, cheesy deliciousness… Oops, I mean Gary deliciousness.

potato artichoke salad on a bed of red oak lettuce

… plus, Vegan Cooking For Everyone was the first vegan cookbook I ever bought so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for it. #cookbooknerd Years ago I served this salad along with Ykillamoocow No Bull pies to my 86 year old Grandpa for lunch and he loved it!

So that was lunch today, and for dinner I made a salad from Leigh Drew’s Greenilicious that I’ve been planning to take to a mixed vegan/non-vegan potluck at the next opportunity: Char-grilled Zucchini and Basil Salad, with the optional add-in of pan-fried tofu to make the dish heartier.

zucchini-salad

A lovely light dish for a warm Spring evening. So simple!

You might remember Leigh Drew from such social media accounts as @zuckerbaby.1 on Instagram and from such cookbooks as Veganissimo and Wrapped In Pastry… check out her Patreon page for her next cookbook! I had lunch with Leigh recently at Mandala Organic Arts Cafe on the Gold Coast and she is delightful! SUPPORT HER OR ELSE. Hi, sorry. I can’t help it – her recipes are fab.

Leigh was interviewed by Australian musician Christine Anu on ABC Sydney yesterday for World Vegan Day: listen! She’s on within the 1st 20 minutes. (Note: this episode of Evenings expires in 6 days.)

And since I started this post with The Simpsons, I’ll end with it – to complete the circle.

donald-trump-simpsons

… good luck with your presidential election, America. Sheesh.

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