Category Archives: The Coconut

Tropical Friday…Banana Flower…

Purple in colour, this heart-shaped male bud,  is commonly seen for sale on the markets in Asia where it is considered a vegetable.  It’s a very good source of fibre and has many medicinal values.

The banana bud/flower is the large purplish bud growing at the end of the banana stem. The mature bud often has hard husks on the outside.

After female banana flowers get pollinated, they form bananas. After bananas are produced, the male flower still remains at the tip of the bunch which is what is used in cooking. It is loaded with fibre, antioxidants, iron, potassium, calcium and other vitamins.

When the husks have been peeled away, the leaves in the middle can be used and eaten… They can be steamed whole and eaten with a spicy dip. It is also be used to make a salad…a stir fry added to curries or a soup is very popular here always loaded with lots of vegetables and herbs…delicious and nutritious.

Finely sliced It makes a healthy delicious stir fry...just peel off the outer leaves to get the tender middle…finely slice and wash carefully then sauteed the chopped parts of this veggie in olive oil, onions, ginger, garlic, and red pepper with a 1/4 tsp turmeric, a few curry leaves and a tsp of masala powder. then serve it on a bed of spinach with an egg on top…cooks quickly tastes delicious and is so nutritious.

Chopped and mixed with some sweetcorn, a little red curry paste some shredded kaffir lime leaves dipped in some tempura and fried these little patties are lovely with a sweet chilli sauce…add some to your tom yum soup…delicious.

For true authenticity serve on the outer flower bud leaves…it also saves washing a plate…

If you are about to buy some for cooking, you should make sure to choose the fresh ones which are tight and undamaged. The outer husks should be closely overlapped with each other for freshness purposes…anywhere where bananas grow you should find these flower buds for sale …Dried banana buds can be purchased in Asian stores around the world…

If you study the picture I took of my banana tree then you can see the intricacy of the structure this video is great for showing the banana flower in closeup and how it is used to make soup…Mark Weins is one of my favourite food bloggers I love watching his face as he tucks in to his food he certainly enjoys his food…I hope you enjoy the video…

Do you prepare the banana flower?  Is it used in your culture? Please let me know in the comments.

See you tomorrow for Saturday Snippets where my word of the day was suggested by Clive over at Take it Easy… where the music rocks…Thank you, Clive…If anyone else wants a mention just send me a word… xx

Fruity Fridays…The Coconut…Is it a fruit, a nut or a seed?

 

The Coconut …Is it a fruit?  Welcome to Fruity Fridays where I showcase a different fruit each week.

 

I am sometimes flummoxed by what is a fruit, a nut or a seed or indeed a tree …Take the Papaya tree which grows in abundance here and also I will add grows very quickly …It has fruit with the same name as the tree but it is a PLANT …It has no branches and a soft stem with all the very large leaves at the top and can grow up to 10 metres high.  It is, in fact, a herbaceous plant as the stem bears little wood and stays green and soft until it dies. But ask anyone here and they will call it a Papaya tree…

Which brings me back to the Coconut …Well, it has a hard outer shell-like a nut, doesn’t it?

Don’t you think my Coconut tree looks magnificent?

Botanically it is known as a one-seeded drupe otherwise known as a dry drupe. 

Where does that leave us? With a fruit, a nut and a seed?

The name itself infers it is a nut….after all, a nut can be defined as a one-seeded fruit. But true nuts do not open on maturity and release their seeds… the nut has to decay and then it releases its seeds and is dispersed by an animal either in its faeces or just by being dropped on the ground.

The coconut we buy in the shops or market has no resemblance to the coconut on my tree and until I moved here I thought there was only one type of coconut…

There are so many here coconuts for drinking, eating the soft flesh, hard and hairy like the ones I knew…I am certainly furthering my education by leaps and bounds although I have always been inquisitive…Yeh Yeh…Ok..plain nosey…I like to know things…

coconut

It has 3 layers the first is typically green …This layer is called exocarp then you get the fibrous husk( mesocarp) this surrounds the woody layer ( endocarp) which surrounds the seed…. which is what you get in the supermarkets.

But did you know???

The coconut palm is not a tree as it has no bark, no branches, or secondary growth. It is a woody perennial known as monocotyledons as the trunk is the stem.

The coconut is known as the Tree of Life as every bit of the tree is and can be used for drinks, fibre, food, fuel, musical instruments,  cooking utensils and so much more.

it is also claimed although not formally recorded that during World War 11  and the Vietnam war when intravenous (IV) solution was in short supply, doctors used coconut water as a  substitute for  IV solutions.

If the shell of the coconut has not been cracked, the coconut water inside is usually sterile – that is, free of bacteria and the like. So technically it could be injected safely into people, to replace fluid loss? It might, however, be said it might just be better just to drink it to replace blood plasma.

So do we now know what the coconut is? A fruit, nut or seed?

Mangoes, peaches and almonds are in the same drupe family as the coconut. Although the coconut is a dry drupe and peaches and mango are fleshy drupes.  Well, I clearly am not a botanical expert but in my world but I have always thought of those as fruits so the coconut to me is a cross between a fruit and a nut which we eat the flesh off and drink the lovely juice of a huge seed.

There you have it!

Just in case you missed it…Here is my post on how to make your own coconut oil...   Which would make a lovely present especially…shhhhhh, with Christmas coming…

If you just want to make something for yourself and your family then these macaroons are easy to make and delicious.

Coconut Macaroons.

coconut-macaroons
What to make when you have egg whites leftover from making Carbonara? I have not made coconut macaroons for years. Next time for a little more colour I will lightly toast my coconut and maybe melt some chocolate and drizzle over them.

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 3 cups of desiccated coconut or fresh coconut if you have it.
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • 1/4 tsp of salt

Let’s Cook!
Whisk the egg whites, sugar, vanilla essence and salt until the mix is soft and frothy.
Fold in the coconut and put spoonfuls on a lined baking tray.
Cook in a preheated oven on 350F or 175 C for 15-20 minutes.
Remove from oven and cool on a baking tray.
This recipe made about 12 depending on the size of your spoon.

Enjoy!

Coconut any which way is available here and my early morning drink is often just a glass of fresh coconut juice…be very careful if you are coconut juice from a store though as often it is laden with sugar and not 100% coconut juice.

Coconut cream/milk is also used in curries and desserts…if you love cream but are looking for a great dairy-free option then make your own in a trice…easy to do just follow my recipe…

This lovely cream is a great alternative to fresh cream ….Fresh cream is not readily available here and tends to be treated so this little discovery was and is a godsend even hubby who loves cream liked it …

If you are trying to cut down not only on added sugars but fat and I have seen many recipes for making a non-dairy cream with coconut cream/milk that I thought it was time I tried it as this is the home of coconuts…haha…

Strawberries and non dairy coconut cream

Coconut milk is in the fridge as is the stainless steel pot and the whisk blades…Everything must be cold…It is quick and easy it whipped up in about 2 minutes if that I added nothing and as I said it was very nice even hubby who loves fresh cream and lots of it had to admit it tasted good…I think it is easier here as our coconut milk is 100% no additives at all…I will be making this in future and it is so much healthier. A non-dairy cream which would go with any dessert.

But not everyone thinks coconut oil is good for you… Coconut oil is “pure poison,” says Harvard professor… Good fats come mainly from vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fish. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, not solid….. The plot thickens my coconut oil is liquid? Far to warm here to solidify…

I know coconuts are high in saturated fats but…MODERATION… My health has improved since I have incorporated coconut oil etc in my diet although depending on what I am making I may use olive oil or another healthy oil again it is about balance and moderation…

Some research states that the saturated fat from the coconut may, react differently to other saturated fats in our bodies…..Why? Because most of the saturated fats in coconut are medium-chain fatty acids whose properties metabolism are different from those of animal origin. Medium-chain fatty acids do not undergo degradation and re-esterification processes and are directly used in the body to produce energy. They are not as ‘bad for health’ as other saturated fats. 

Personally, I love coconut and I love how it is utilised here not only for food but for wrapping goods or food whilst steaming…it is environmentally friendly and that suits me…

That’s all for today…I hope you have enjoyed learning about the versatile coconut …

Thank you once again for reading this post I hope you all have a fabulous week and stay safe these are troubling times xx

Dairy Free Lemongrass Icecream and the Amazing Coconut.

the coconut

Coconut cream makes the best ice cream… Ever!

Ice cream: using just 4 main ingredients this lovely icecream cost me virtually nothing to make as we grow Coconuts and lemongrass. This ice cream is also dairy free. It doesn’t get any better than that. Does it?

Coconut and Lemongrass Ice Cream.

Put 400ml of coconut cream in a saucepan and add 3 stalks of crushed lemongrass. Slowly bring to a soft rolling boil and remove from the heat. Set to one side and leave to infuse the lemongrass flavour for about 35 mins.

lemongrass-1713240_1280

In a medium-sized bowl put 1 large egg and 2 egg yolks, 125gm coconut sugar and a pinch of salt. Put the bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, but ensure the bowl does not touch the water, as your eggs will scramble.

Whisk the mixture until it is thick and frothy. Gradually add the coconut cream still whisking and whisk for 1 minute. You will now have a thinner liquid.

If you have an ice cream maker then follow the instructions.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker then don’t despair just follow the steps below and although it won’t be quite as smooth it is very nice.

Leave the mixture to cool down and then pour into a suitable container for freezing. Freeze until it is half frozen 2-3 hrs and then run a fork through the mix and return to the freezer, repeat this once or twice more and then cover the container and freeze completely.

You will then have a beautiful lemongrass flavoured ice cream.

Enjoy!

coconut food-3062139_1280

My aim is to cook as naturally as possible and not use any preservatives. We grow what we can or buy/ forage locally and always organically. Our water is well water and the only thing I use is electric from the authority. Gas is bottled.

As you can see the Coconut is a very versatile product and a healthy one and one with many uses around the home.

Fresh Coconut juice is my first drink of the day. This week I have just got the inside of the coconut. The outer shell already removed as this was brought to me by my Thai family. It is so much easier than trying to get the hard shell off the coconut. It also cleared up the mystery of what they were as I had seen many stalls by the roadside selling these. My favourite place to drink it is on the beach, but now I live in Northern Thailand I have to make do with just the drink and my dreams.

coconut

Once they are finished however it will be a short walk into town for me to see my little man who does all the hard work and sells it ready chilled in bags with a little of the very soft flesh added. It is lovely and at 20 baht a bag well worth it.

Did you know you can use coconut oil to polish your leather handbags or shoes try it and you will be amazed at the result?

Also, the very soft inner cream of the small very young coconuts is lovely for babies when they first start eating solid food. Both of my grandchildren were fed on it as tiny babies, it is so easily digested and perfect for young tummies.

Oil pulling which I do every day before I do anything, I use it as it deodorises your mouth and gums and it seems to be a great way of warding off any sore throats, although I think the honey helps as well.

A spoonful of honey and a coconut oil gargle and my sore throats vanish.

My daughter has been using Coconut Oil as a sunblock whilst she has been here on holiday

She has found the oil is very effective at stopping any burning.

I  also cook with as it is safer at higher temperatures and doesn’t give off any nasties like some other oils.

Just a word of advice though and don’t do what I did.

Do not mix Coconut oil with any other oil…Moi did ( when I didn’t ) have enough coconut oil and wanted a bit more oil, bad move!

I got a foaming mess that just kept foaming and foaming.

Coconut oil also makes for lovely crispy food especially chips and although I  have heard say that some can taste the coconut, I do not find that to be the case. It also makes a beautiful salad dressing

Other uses for coconut cream/water in my household.

I use the milk in shakes, curries and it is a lovely thing. Even lovelier if I can get it freshly made from the market.

 

What do you use  Coconut oil or cream for ??????????

 

If you fancy making your own Coconut oil, maybe as a present then I have attached a link with instructions. Have fun!

 

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