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Archive for the tag “Coconut”

Mélange à trois: jelly, empanadas, rice rolls

Some weeks the urge to mix it up is irresistible. With our lockdown clan (The Husband, the two daughters and me) reunited for my birthday, this was just such a week.

We needed celebration. We needed snacking. We needed playful food.

We needed celebration. We needed snacking. We needed playful food. Enter Guardian Feast Issue No.178 the let me entertain you issue with Ravneet Gill’s pineapple and coconut jelly, Felicity Cloake’s perfect cheese empanadas and Yotam Ottolenghi’s zingy tofu rice paper rolls.

My challenge to cook at least one recipe from each issue of Guardian Feast in 2021 (find out more about that here), continues apace. This week it was lovely to have the return of the eldest daughter’s nimble fingers and strict kitchen protocol.

Read on for the usual useful insights into tackling unknown recipes and tempting mouthwatering deliciousness.

The photo of Ravneet’s beautiful pineapple and coconut jelly was simultaneously droolingly succulent and terrifying. I wanted to grab a spoon and plunge it into the photo but I wanted Ravneet to make it for me. However, part of my reason for tackling a recipe a week from Feast is to wrestle through recipes I would otherwise skip over. Here goes.

Ravneet Gill’s pineapple and coconut jelly

We only have one jelly mould in the house and I felt a tad offended that The Husband considered it ‘eccentric’ for the jelly in hand. I mean, it is ‘a great jelly mould’ as required by Ravneet, perhaps just not the one she had in mind (see below).

My lobster jelly mould. Perhaps not quite the ‘great jelly mould’ for Ravneet’s spectacular pineapple and coconut jelly

It’s a wibbly wobbly pina colada!

Since the coconut jelly (a delicious smooth, creamy panna cotta) must set before the pineapple wobble is poured on top of it, I made this over two days (I’m learning to read a recipe properly before I start it!). I used the gelatin powder I had in stock, rather than the recommended platinum leaves. It seemed fine. I ended up with more of both jellies than required – a small ramekin of the coconut and double pineapple and lime! My daughter was clearly right in her interpretation of the recipe: ‘400g pineapple, trimmed, peeled and cut into small chunks’ means the unpeeled and untrimmed weight. Oh well, double dibs on pineapple jelly? No one’s complaining.

If I were to make this gorgeous party centrepiece again – it’s a wibbly wobbly pina colada, why wouldn’t I? – I would clingfilm the surface of the coconut panna cotta to prevent it forming a slightly rubbery skin while it’s setting (although The Husband loved the ‘texture’).

Wibble wobble, lobster jelly on a plate: my take on Ravneet Gill’s pineapple and coconut jelly. Pina colada on a plate!

The eldest daughter picked up the baton for Yotam Ottolenghi’s zingy tofu rice paper rolls and Felicity Cloake’s perfect cheese empanadas to create a welcome home feast for the youngest daughter.

Feleicity Cloake’s the perfect… cheese empanadas

The eldest daughter ordered in masarepa (pre-cooked cornmeal) specially to make these golden cheese toasty wraps.

The biggest challenge was (as Felicity hints) handling the corn pastry. Felicity counsels ‘handling it with wet hands at all times’. The issue for us was that the pastry tore and holed really easily. Wet hands helped but the biggest breakthrough was using extra masarepa and greaseproof paper in the envelope creation. That way you barely need to touch the empanadas with your hands.

Felicity suggests a range of acceptable extras to add to your cheesy filling. To be honest ours needed a bit of flavour-plumping – the blend of mozzarella and halloumi was not the most flavoursome. We all agreed that we’d add jalapeno peppers in the mix next time and probably change the cheese combo for something with a bit more oomph. We baked ours – although I can see the appeal of deep frying!

Yotam Ottolenghi’s zingy tofu rice paper rolls

Like Ravneet’s jelly, Yotam’s vegan rice rolls look so pretty and appealing on the page. We couldn’t wait to recreate them. Yotam’s right to call them ‘zingy’. Bursting with pine nuts, sesame seeds, chestnuts, ginger, garlic and chilli, they have exactly the right balance of chew and crunch and zest and heat.

The eldest daughter took charge of prep while I got the shitake shrooms soaking and searched out the rest of the ingredients. Instead of adding the fried ingredients to the cold marinated tofu, we popped the tofu in the pan and let it warm through and soak up the soy saucy flavours. Other than that, we stuck to Yotam’s instructions. Bish bash bosh: top nosh.

Original recipes:

Ravneet Gill pineapple and coconut jelly

Felicity Cloake the perfect… cheese empanadas

Yotam Ottolenghi – zingy tofu rice paper rolls

Mélange à trois. What a feast!

We’re on a (chocolate) roll!

I’m celebrating my love of the food columns and supplements in The Guardian by trying to cook at least one recipe from each issue of Guardian Feast in 2021. Find out a bit more about that here.

It’s week 11 of my epic attempt to cook from each issue of Guardian Feast and it’s beginning to feel as if we’re on a bit of a roll. Which is apposite. After all, who could resist the Ottolenghi kitchen’s chocolate and coconut mochi roulade pictured on the front of Feast Issue No.165 and shared liberally on Insta by Yotam and Ixta? I couldn’t. And neither could the eldest daughter who declares she’s always wanted to make mochi. And, let’s face it, this roulade is a GIANT mochi.

Who could resist that chocolate coconut mochi roll?

The mochi roulade is what my mum termed a ‘dinner party dish’. She used to make Delia Smith’s chocolate roulade as one of the obligatory five choices of pud when she and Dad entertained in the 60s and 70s. I always remember the anxiety over ‘cracking’ as Mum rolled up the cake slathered in its cream. Also, the sheer amount of time and effort it took to create the thing. I feel I might be in for a similar ride – I’ve never seen 400ml of cream and some coconut flakes put through so many processes! Anyway, I rush ahead. Mum’s roulade always tasted fabulous – and to us it always looked amazing, cracks and all. So, that’s all I’m hoping for: Fabulous!!!

In fact, finding a way (a way to make mochi) is even more challenging than anticipated. Glutinous rice flour is a very particular ingredient – and not one to be substituted easily, if at all. There’s none on our high street in this far corner of north eastern England. So, desperate to get on, we order from the online supplier who we usually try to avoid, hoping for next day delivery. Turns out that even the God of Amazon cannot deliver glutinous rice flour to Berwick-upon-Tweed on Sunday (although it can to most other parts of the country). So, Monday is mochi day.

It’s rich licks. The daughter and I agree a little goes a long way. The Husband begs to differ. He thinks a lot is just right.

No matter, I prepare the caramelised coconut flakes and infuse the cream overnight as recommended (the kind of thing I’m never usually organised or patient enough to do). I decide that kitchen Ottolenghi must have industrial-sized baking trays and ovens – there’s no way I can spread 200g of dried coconut flakes across one tray – so I use two. I also decide that anything mixed with maple syrup and condensed milk is impossible to make ‘not clumped together’ no matter how much you mix them. Hey ho, they taste so sublime that I take the 50g of leftover coconut flakes from my packet and give them the same treatment so that we can snack on them while we await the full event. As for the coconut and cream journey, it seems a bit counterintuitive to tip a pile of crispy flakes into cream and infuse, but I do as I’m told.

Overall, the mochi cake itself is incredibly easy to put together. I realise too late that my tin of coconut milk is 50% coconut extract rather than 70%. I whisk by hand to begin with ‘until all the ingredients come together’ and then use a hand whisk because my processor only has blades. The batter’s quite runny and a good fit for the tin. After 25 mins in the oven, I can see some quite large bubbles ballooning off the top of the cake, when I take it out they fall and it feels ‘set but springy’ to me. When it’s cooled, it does sink a bit in the middle leaving a slight ridge around the outside, so maybe I should have left it for a couple of minutes (actually the ridge is quite a good guide when it comes to smearing on the coconut crisp sludge and cream!). I crack on (it’s a Monday night, after all!).

As the cake cooks, I reheat the cooled cream and coconut flakes, press them through a sieve and hoick them into the processor with cocoa powder and – ingredient of the moment – maple syrup. Weirdly, they begin to smell and taste like cornflakes to me. The eldest daughter, cruising the kitchen on a work break for sniffs and licks, dismisses this as motherly foolishness. Nevertheless, the ‘coarse paste’ tastes a bit like posh cornflake crispy cake mix to me. Bish, bash, bosh! I hurtle through the rest of the prep and the moment of mochi rolling truth arrives. I’m hoping the solid stretchiness delivered by glutinous rice flour will prevent cracking. I’m right.

Ta daaaaaaa!!!

The end result is everything we’d hoped for in its chocolatey, crunchy caramel-topped, coconutty creamy, chewy, mochiness. The ping of salt from the caramelised coconut is a stroke of genius. There’s no doubting it’s rich licks. The daughter and I agree that a little goes a long way. The Husband begs to differ. He thinks a lot is just right.

Even though we had to wait for our mochi roulade, we were able to indulge ourselves for Saturday cocktail hour. It was such a chilly, bright and glorious March evening, that we took our ‘good mixer’ apple martinis from Anna Haugh at Myrtle down the garden and enjoyed the sunset. Just lovely.

Through a glass brightly. What could be more perfect than a Berwick sunset viewed through an apple martini?

Original recipes:

Yotam Ottolenghi – Chocolate and coconut mochi roulade

Anna Haugh – Apple martini

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