Posts tagged coconut
Vegan food in Thailand!

I wanted to write my foodie experiences in a separate post to this one so here you go!

Fist thing I'm gonna put out there... Fruit! So much amazing fruit!! For example, on the last day I bought 4 beautifully sweet ripe locally grown mangos for the equivalent of less than £1 - you wouldn't even get one mango for that in the UK and it would not have tasted anywhere near as good either.

I also want to briefly mention here (though I'll also be writing a separate post at some point) about water! In Thailand everyone drinks bottled water. I knew it would be hot and I didn't want to be caught short. It just so happened a couple of weeks prior I had a conversation with a colleague about a water filter bottle called Puritii that is so sophisticated, you can even filter swamp water if you wished! Of course I was intrigued and I knew my trip to Thailand would be a perfect opportunity to try it. He gave me a bottle to put through it's paces and so I'll fill you in on that in due course, plus it makes an ideal opportunity to talk about water quality- a topic many have asked me about recently.

Anyway, back to Thailand food! Here are my overriding thoughts (obviously these are purely based on my limited experience)...

Things I found tricky/surprising about Thai food:

  1. Not many people understood what 'vegan' meant- vegetarian is very common but vegan not so. It seemed a little odd to me since it's a culture that naturally doesn't use dairy so it's only the egg (and fish sauce) that would need consideration.
  2. There is fish sauce and egg in many meat free dishes so I had to be very careful as it wasn't always obvious.
  3.  In hindsight I should have got familiar with the phrase for vegan- which is 'jai' however his refers to Buddhist veganism which also does not include garlic or onion and I feel that would have been even more limiting in options and flavour.
  4. There don't seem to be any beans and lentils anywhere! The veggie protein of choice is tofu which is eaten in abundance. I do not eat it much at home, but was happy to switch whilst I was there. I did miss lentils and beans though!
  5. Even though there is an abundance of veggies, their are very few leafy greens- I found I was craving some spinach and kale. Morning glory is the only readily found leafy green in the markets so I ate as much as I could.
  6. Chocolate- it did not seem to exist! I was surprised that I missed it, not so much in a craving for sweet things as there was so much sweet stuff, but more as a desire for a little indulgence since there was no dessert I could eat- other than fruit, or mango and sticky rice (so good!) I did cook a chocolate cake though- see below!
  7. Thai people put added sugar in everything, even many of the fruit smoothies have added sugar unless you specifically ask for them without. All the seemingly herbal teas come sweetened with syrups as well. It seems crazy to me since the diet is naturally sweet.

Things I loved about Thai food:

  1. The amazing fruit needs reiterating here! I also tried durian for the first time- an acquired texture, much more creamy that I anticipated. I also loved their mini bananas, much sweeter then what we have in the uk.
  2. Lots of veg heavy dishes with light sauces. Limited gluten as most are accompanied with rice or noodles of some description. I liked the lightness of the meals (but I did eat a lot!)
  3. Lots of veggie/vegan restaurants in Chaingmai, once you knew where to look. They all served plenty of delicious vegan options which made life much easier! One of my favourite restaurants we went to was Bamboo Bee. I tiny little research with only 4 tables and a lot of customers- we had to wait an hour before we could be seated. The place is run by Bee herself and the dishes are organic vegan, yet such amazing value. A huge meal for 4 people (and we ate a lot of dishes) was well under £20.  She also has an book with all recipes that I plan to buy and recreate- particularly the sauces as I could do with some new ideas in that department.
  4. Fresh coconut- I reckon if you were stranded on a dessert island you could survive a long time on coconut, drinking the water and eating the meat-such a perfectly packaged food!
  5. Mango and sticky rice. This was one of the first dishes I had at a little open air market. So so good, made with sticky rice, coconut milk, sugar if some kind and a whole fresh mango. Yes I know, total carb alert! I would love to try and make my won versions as a treat.
  6. I didn't feel very bloated through my trip, even though I was eating so much much sugar fruit, which is great as travel and change if routine often affects my digestion.

 

I made two big jugs of delicious fruit smoothie to share with everyone on my last day, the recipes are below of you fancy recreating some of your tropical bliss as we move slowly into summer!

I also made my much loved banana chocolate cake for both a leaving party and a birthday... I made 4 cakes in total (following the same recipe I first made here in Lanzarote!) I had very limited utensils, no oven (only a microwave) and no measuring tools BUT it still worked surprising well and everyone loved it! It certainly helped satisfy my chocolate craving.

The original choc-banana cake!

The original choc-banana cake!

My version making the best of what I had! (that say's '27' on top)

My version making the best of what I had! (that say's '27' on top)

I managed to track down the cake ingredients at a local market... But it took ages as hardly anyone understood what I was trying to say! We had to use a translation app on the phone and show them the Thai phrase each time. Even then we went from stall to stall until we found what we needed. I thing the stall holders were quite bemused ;-)

I did eat a lot more carbs during the last two weeks that I have in a long long time. However in the past when I have tried a carb heavy diet (a year ago I experimented gin 80/10/10) I felt very bloated and it did not work for me well at all. Yet I did not feel at all bloated in Thailand. The two main differences were lack of beans- not sure if this combination of food works better!? And also the difference in climate. I am a big believe in eating locally grown foods in accordance with climate for optimal results. I now feel as though it's less an issue of the ratio of carbs/fat/protein but more an issue of the relationship to climate. Something I'll be export more. 

I'll leave you with a few foodies photos taken thought out my time in Chaingmai. All photos were taken on my phone. 

Plus scroll down for my smoothies recipes... 

The only photo I took of the smoothies (alongside a yellow watermelon -  how cool?)

The only photo I took of the smoothies (alongside a yellow watermelon -  how cool?)

For the smoothies I used fresh coconut meat which was amazing as it left little chewy pieces of coconut in the smoothie. This was in large part accidental due to the power of the basic blender I was using, if using a more highly powered machine it will be smoother, unless you stop blending whilst there are still some visible specks of coconut.  

Recipe: chocolate, banana, coconut smoothie

Makes approx  1 litre

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup coca powder
  • 5-6 mini bananas (approx 3-4 regular)
  • Flesh of half a coconut (approx 1/2 packed cup)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup water

Recipe: banana mango, coconut smoothie

Makes approx 1 litre

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mango
  • 3-4 mini bananas (approx 3 regular)
  • Flesh of half a coconut (approx 1/2 packed cup)
  • 1 cup ice
  • 1 cup water

Do you want to know what my favourite meal was.... yup, mango and sticky coconut rice served from a street trader ;-)  I already have my sights set on recreating the recipe... but since I haven't yet had time since returning this recipe looks like an easy start... though this one is more traditional!

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Coconut Macadamia milk

I'm following the theme of beverages since my Summer Drink Up Challenge is at the forefront of my mind! 

It might seem strange but I don't actually drink much 'milk' of any kind.

I don't drink traditional tea of coffee so have no need for milk there. My smoothies and shakes tend to use nuts or blended fruits for creaminess.  I don't eat cereal for breakfast so no need for milk there either. I DO however eat porridge, and although it's fine with water or blended nut butters, sometimes I really fancy some milk to make it super duper creamy.

I previously shared this crazy beautiful idea for quinoa milk and cream. I still love it as it makes a great chocolate thick shake and it's so easy.

Recently I had a play around with other milk ingredients. This was one of my favourites. I blended coconut flakes and macadamia partly for flavour but also because introducing coconut helped keep the cost of the macadamias down (they are sooooo expensive).

I will say you do need a nut bag or fine mesh straining cloth to ensure you get a super creamy milk.  I bought mine on Amazon and it's a really useful purchase. 

I also want to mention here that the link above takes you to my newly created Amazon shop. I decided that because people so often ask me for recommendations for books and tools I love, it made sense to me to put them all in one place. It just means that any product you buy through my shop (at no extra cost to you) gives me a teensy weeny percentage of the affiliate fee.

Let's get back to the milk....

Recipe: Coconut Macadamia milk (all measurements are approximates depending on preferred viscosity)

  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup macadamias
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla bean

Method:

Blend all ingredients together until totally smooth. Set your mesh bag over a large jug or bowl and pour the creamy mixture into the bag. Using your hands squeeze and massage the mixture until the milk is filtered and you only have pulp left.

You can reserve the pulp for other baking use.

The milk will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge.  Other options for flavour include adding fruits or cocoa to the mix.  I also made a version for Real Food Source (pictured at the top of the page) with blended in bee pollen for an extra nutritional boost and slight caramelly flavour (I do appreciate this is not vegan).

 

What should I do with the pulp I hear you ask?

I haven't yet got a recipe on my blog, but these nut pulp macaroons from Elana's Pantry could be a great place to start!

I'd love to hear from you if you make your own milk and if so, what your favourite ingredients are!

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus. 

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
A free gift! ...The coconut oil book by RealFoodSource

Every time I work on a another book for the Real Food Source I say it's the best one yet! 

I absolutely loved the nut butter ebook... perfect for any nut butter fanatic. Now The Real Food Source have just launched the latest free ebook to download, all about coconut oil, you can download it for FREE here. It's proving pretty popular already and it was only added to the ebook collection a couple of days ago.  

It features lots of sweet and savoury recipes, most of which are vegan (there are a few recipes not created by me so aren't necessarily plant based) plus beverages and also some tips on body products, body products is an area I am becoming super passionate about, and coconut oil really is your best friend when it comes to feeding your body both inside and out.

Let us know what you think if you do check it out, and also if you have made any recipes form the other ebooks!

So what's next on the horizon? Maybe a few more healthy versions of your Christmas classics. I'll keep you posted ;-)

Stayed tuned tomorrow for a new spin on one of my favourite recipe creations from the book. Here is a little sneak peak!

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers plus my FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  

Day to day you can always find me hanging out in these places:

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Banana oat coconut shake

The summer is in full swing swing and today I have been in the milkshake making mood! Well in between sitting outside in the sunshine preparing for my first 'Health Food Store Tour' happening next week... eeek so excited!  I have some more cool milkshake recipes to come your way next week too!

I love my green smoothies, but sometimes something a little more creamy, with a touch of indulgent sweetness takes my fancy. This was perfect served straight from the fridge. 

I've been testing out the new drinking oats by Rude Health, and because they are super fine and flaky, they blend effortlessly into smoothies thickening them up without the need for extra banana or nut butter... not that there is anything wrong with either of those ingredients, it's just that sometimes you don't want hugely bananary smoothie and sometimes you want a few extra carbs over fats. In this recipe I used one very small banana, whereas typically I would've needed a much larger one to create the same thickness.

I've also been trying the new Rude Health coconut milk as you saw in my choc banana oat bakeand it makes for a lovely change poured over a mini fruity bowl of muesli. 

P.s new give-away next week! Remember I said i'd teamed up with lots of companies I love, well next week I'll be launching a bundle of Rude Health products! Watch out for it...!

Recipe: Banana oat smoothie

Serves 1

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (I used rude health coconut milk)
  • ¼ heaped cup rude health drinking oats (or 3 tbs fine oatmeal*)
  • 1 small banana
  • A pinch of cinnamon or vanilla powder 
  • coconut flakes to serve

Method

Blend all together until think and creamy. Add coconut flakes for a chewy topping.

Serve immediately or chill to cool and thicken slightly.

 *you could use regular fine oatmeal- it might just have a bit more of a texture than the drinking oats.

The super thin drinking oats...they 'dissolve' into any liquid!

 

I'd love you to join me in other places too!  

Why not sign up for my newsletter in my sidebar where I feature roundups and special offers  plus me FREE ebook. If you are new round here check out my 'About' and 'Getting Started' tabs up top. To buy nibbles you can also find me over at Wholeplus.  Day to day you can always find me in these places:

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Easy homemade body butter...the perfect Christmas gift!

In the last few months I've been getting more and more into homemade body products.  

I have no idea why it's taken me so long really, it seems obvious that if you care about what you put inside your body you would also care about what you put on your body since the skin is the largest organ of the body and takes on board whatever your throw at it!

whip 1a.jpg

It's been a slow transition and i'm not quite there yet, I will be sure to do a full round up of my various discoveries in the next few weeks but for now I have a very simple but totally luxurious body whip... perfect for a little Christmas indulgence for yourself or as gifts for others!

It takes two key ingredients and any natural extracts such as lavender or vanilla that you may choose to include.  The proportions of the oil/butter dictate whether you end up with a thick body butter or a lighter body whip.... I adore the whip!!

I have linked a few websites below that I originally found to help guide me in my experiments, they provide slightly different ratios of solid to liquid oils compared to those i have used- i'm not sure if altitude has any bearing on this but I certainly needed a lot less solid than seemed called for to achieve a beautiful fluffy whip. Have a play and re-blend with extra solid or liquid as necessary. You can also substitute for other oils/butters (such as shea) to those I used.

A pretty jar, a ribbon and label would be all that is needed to transform these simple concoctions into a beautiful gift.

I also gave my sister a set of some of these homemade beauty products for her birthday last month. Body butter, face toner, deodorant, face powder, bronzer... some of these are still works in progress, so I will reveal all in due course...

body products 1a.jpg

Recipe: Thick body butter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cocoa butter 
  • ½ cup coconut oil (or use extra cocoa butter)
  • ½ cup almond oil 
  • extracts to suit- I used 4 drops lavender and 1 tsp vanilla bean powder

 

Recipe: Fluffy body whip

Ingredients

  • ½  cup cocoa butter 
  • 1 ½ cup sweet almond oil
  • extracts to suit- I used 8 drops lavender (creates a very light fragrance)

Method (same for both)

Melt the solid oil/butter in a bowl over boiling water until melted then stir in the almond oil and any extracts.

Allow the mixture to partially cool (edges beginning to solidify), whip well until thick fluffy and white. Cool and whip again if necessary until fluffy.

Note: the lighter whip will fluff up more easy than the thicker butter.

 

Some links to other blogs recipes:

Great body butter recipe by 'Rawmazing' (great recipe starting point)

Thick body butter by 'Wellnessmama' (she has lots of great natural beauty recipes)

A zest body whip with a difference by 'She Wears Many Hats'  (note this recipe incudes honey so is not technically vegan)

Thick body butter with the higher proportion of solid cocoa butter.

Thick body butter with the higher proportion of solid cocoa butter.

Ingredients for the thick butter...I just love the big chunks of cocoa butter! :-)

Ingredients for the thick butter...I just love the big chunks of cocoa butter! :-)

More whip... my favourite!   

More whip... my favourite!

 

...even more whip!

...even more whip!

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Goji coconut balls

I've never been particularly big on goji's. Of course I was aware of their 'superfood' acclaim but I was always a bit 'meh about including them in my diet .  However I've been superfooding it up much more of late, with the introduction of pretty much daily green smoothies, my course lectures at IIN and also the fact the the Real Food Source have added them to their shop gave me the obvious means to begin adding them more frequently in to my meals and snacks.

goji balls 1.jpg

A few key findings about goji's:

  • They are high in antioxidants, specifically the carotenoids (like beta-carotene) and zeaxanthin (compound that absorbs blue light and helps protect the eyes).
  • The antioxidants in the berries are thought to help fight off free radicals in the body.
  • Goji Berries have about 20 different vitamins and minerals, making it one of the most nutritionally beneficial foods available.
  • They have 18 different amino acids.
  • They have been used for many years in teas, juices and tinctures to treat ailments naturally.

My Wholeplus food range features 'Toppers' created as a natural sweet sprinkle topping for breakfasts, desserts and snacks of all sorts. One of the flavours is Vanilla Goji Spice, and when blending up a big batch one day, I had the urge to smoosh some of the sprinkles together into a ball as a little afternoon treat, and voila... a gorgeous goji berry ball. I rolled in a few extra whole goji's for good measure. You could also roll in some extra coconut if you fancy too.

goji 1.jpg

 

Recipe: Goji coconut balls

  • 250g dates
  • 2 tsp vanilla powder
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1 tbs maca
  • 80-100g coconut
  • 50g goji berries (plus extra to roll in if desired)

Method:

Grind dates with spices and half coconut until sticky and coarse. Add remaining coconut and gojis and pulse until coasre and chunky.  

The mixture should still be sticky enough to roll into balls (stickiness will depend onto moisture content of the dates to start with). Roll the balls in extra coconut or gojis if desired. 

goji balls 2a.jpg
goji balls 3a.jpg
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Coconut milk power... and an e-book!

As most of you know, I work collaboratively with The Real Food Source, developing recipes for their site using their products. It's all good 'real food'... exactly the sorts of foods I believe so strongly in. 

Over the past few weeks I have been busy in the background creating a little e-book that is almost ready for launch. It will be a 'living book' and by that we plan to host it on their site as a free download collating the recipes recipes posted on the blog that will continue to grow over time as more recipes are added. 

The other unique thing about the book is that it is 'ingredient specific'.  It's all about coconut milk powder, demonstrating ways of using this fab (but somewhat unknown) source of dairy free goodness in such a portable form. If this book is well recieved we plan on rolling out more ingredient specific books based on the ingredients they sell... what would you say to a collection of nut butter recipes, or almond product recipes?  We love to hear your thoughts once it is released within the next week or.

Today I simple wanted to share with you a recipe recently posted over on their site and also a sneak preview of the some of the recipes that will be going into the book.

Enjoy!

thai soup 3a.jpg

 

Recipe: Thai coconut soup

Serves 2

Ingredients: 

  • ¼ cup coconut milk powder (I used 30%) See the Real Food Source for CMP options
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 small onion- finely sliced
  • 1 stick lemon grass
  • 1 red chilli
  • 2-3 large slices fresh ginger
  • 1 cup endamame beans ( I used frozen)
  • ½ cup packed kale (chopped fairly small and massaged)
  • ½ cup rice noodles (optional)

Method: 

Saute the onion and kale in a dash of oil for a few minutes until softening.

Add the coconut milk powder, water, lemongrass, garlic and chilli*. Mix to alow the CMP to dissolve and simmer for a further 5 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse.

Add the endamame beans and rice noodles (if using) for a further few minutes until cooked.

To serve, remove the lemon grass, chili and ginger pieces (wash and pat dry and store in the fridge to use again in the next few days if desired) and serve soup immediately.

*Note: to allow the lemongrass, chili and ginger to release most flavour ensure there is plenty of exposed surface are- i.e I scored lines down the length of the lemon grass and sliced the chili in half.

You can find the full post here

 

Now for a sneaky preview of some recipes the book... all using coconut milk powder as a key ingredient!

granola 5a.jpg
ice cream 6a.jpg
truffles 4a.jpg
cheesecake 4a.jpg
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
Melty chocolate sponge balls

Considering these little balls use oat flour, I was not entirely sure how they would turn out or hold together. I'm happy to report they are both dense but still spongey and hold together well, they didn't even split noticeably in the oven as they rose which I was also anticipating. Bonus!

choc balls 1a.jpg

They are best served warm so that the chocolately centre oozes as you bite into it... but it;s totally your call. You could also add some dried berries in the centre here as I did in one batch I made for a little extra sweetness and texture.  Whilst there is quite a lot of cocoa and some dark choc chunks in the balls, there is no added fats or sugars (other than dates and stevia) so I think they pretty much tick all my 'healthy indulgent' boxes. 

These were a lot of fun to make and very simple, just make sure the mix is not so sticky you can't roll them! 

choc balls 3a.jpg

Recipe: Melty chocolate sponge balls

Makes approx 10 balls

ingredients:

  • 1 cup oat flour (very finely ground oats)
  • scant ½ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup date paste plus approx. 10 drops stevia (or other liquid sweetener to taste*)
  • ¼ cup non-dairy yoghurt or thin fruit puree
  • ½ cup water or fruit juice (I used orange juice to add extra sweetness)

----

  • dark chocolate chunks for centre of each (I used 1 small square from a bar for each ball)
  • coconut flakes to coat (and to mix through if desired) note: soe of my flakes were chunky but I think the fine ones work best.

 

Method:

Mix the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Mix the wet ingredients separately and then add to the dry and mix well to achieve a firm but sticky dough. The dough should not be so sticky so that it can’t be handled- add a little cocoa to dust you hands if needed.

Using your hands make apricot sized balls formed around the chocolate chunks. Roll in the desiccated coconut and lay on a lined baking sheet.

Bake for approx 15 minutes at 180C until the coconut begins to look toasted.

Best served warm for a melty chocolate centre!

* if you use alternative sweeteners e.g agave syrup, you’ll need to slightly reduce the added liquid content accordingly.

 

choc balls 4a.jpg
choc balls 2a.jpg
Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF