Every couple of months 2 men land up at our building and cut the ripe coconuts off the trees. They should really come around more often because we’ve got many dents on our car from falling coconuts. I watched them work the last time they were here. Its incredible how they do it. One of them shimmies up the tree, ties a rope around a bunch of coconuts and then the man standing below lowers it down. It all seems effortless, which it isn’t, it doesn’t take very long and at the end of it there are neat mounds of coconuts all around the compound.
Despite my Punjabi blood I love coconuts – coconut water, the flesh, the milk and the cream. I prefer coconuts in food but I do like them as a dessert as well. I have my favourite macaroons from Defence Bakery in Delhi, packets of which I bring back with me and I absolutely LOVE Baathk, a Goan coconut and semolina cake. I wish someone would give me a good recipe for it ..… HINT !!!
Inspired by the coconuts I tried a Jamaican recipe for Coconut Bread from Bill Granger’s Bills Sydney Food. Its half way between a bread and a cake and uses baking powder instead of yeast. It was yum.
Here it is-
Makes 8-10 thick slices
300 ml (10 fl oz) milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
2 ½ cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup caster sugar
150 g (5 oz) shredded coconut
75 g (2 ½ oz) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 180° C (350° F). Lightly whisk eggs, milk and vanilla together.
Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon together into a bowl, add sugar and coconut, and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and gradually stir in the egg mixture until just combined. Add melted butter and stir until the mixture is just smooth, being careful not to over mix.
Pour into a greased and floured 21 X 10 cm (8 ½” x 4”) loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until bread is cooked when tested with a skewer. Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes, and remove to cool further on a wire rack. Serve in thick slices, toasted, buttered, and dusted with icing sugar.
I had to turn my cake around half way through and cover with baking paper. I also reduced the temperature around the same time to 160° C – but that’s just my oven. It took a little less than 1 hour. I tried it with the icing sugar but it’s as nice without.
Bill Granger’s suggestion is to eat it for breakfast with lime marmalade …. Also to cut into slices and keep in the freezer.
As a nice ending to my coconut post, my 7 year old daughter came home today with a present – a baby coconut she found on the ground.
This is for anyone who wants to climb a coconut tree…. http://www.caske2000.org/survival/coconutclimb.htm