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Posts Tagged ‘coconut milk’

I’ve always loved making popsicles at home. I just don’t like the bought stuff – full of fake flavourings and sugar. I tried many times before, and always have the same problems: The popsicles take up a lot of space in the freezer, they leak in the freezer, they make a huge mess when the kids are eating them, etc. But I thought it was worth it.

And a week ago when I was innocently waiting for my insoles to be fixed, I caught sight of a box of colorful plastic tubes that promised “no mess!”,”Fill, Freeze and Twist!”. I took one packet to try. The things are pure genius: It is built like a large tube of lipstick: you pour whatever you want to freeze in, you cover and freeze, and when you want to eat, you remove the top and use it to twist the bottom part, making the frozen popsicle rise so it’s easy to eat. The kids enjoyed it thoroughly, and there was really no mess! Also, as it stands on its own in the freezer, it takes up less space and doesn’t spill; and there is no need to remember to stick a spoon in it half way through.

Easy!!

My first try was with a mixture of coconut milk, unsweetened applesauce and maple syrup; my second was with apple and pear juice (we have an excellent juicer, and the apples and pears were beginning to look suspicious in the fridge). To fill four twistixes I juiced two apples and 4 pears. The result? Yum!

Popsicle

I bought Twistix at “On the table” at Wolfson Mall in Jerusalem. More information on Twistix here.

Twistix

Gotta beat the heat!

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I love the Internet. When I joined the foodie blog roll, the random five for the day included Tes at home and I liked it, so I joined the newsletter. Even though many ingredents I don’t even know (pandan leaves, dragonfruit) it’s always interesting to see new techniques and ideas. In what other configuration would I be exchanging recipes with someone in Thailand?

I put a bunch of recipes to try out later. One of them was Thai Sweet Gems. It looked easy and gorgeous. Also, I really liked the idea of the natural food coloring. I really don’t like artificial food coloring and almost never use it. On the other hand, sometimes you want somthing red, or green, or blue. It adds festivity and interest. I don’t know why it never occured to me to make my own, but now that it did, I could hardly wait to try it. An additional bonus was that it is non dairy yet creamy, so perfect for Kosher meals!

Natural food colors

The colours:

I used cherry juice for red (I thought that as it stains clothes so effectively it should be great in food 🙂 ), puréed kiwifruit for green, strained apricot jam for orange, and cocoa for brown. For the fruits, I pureed them and then passed them through a strainer. It was rather slow. The result I placed in seperate cups. The colors looked beautiful!

The recipe:

I mixed the coconut milk and the sugar, and when adding the flour I hit the first snag – it was very very lumpy. Not a few lumps here and there, but more lumpy then liquid. So I took out my trusty blender stick and blended it. First snag solved! Then I split it into 4 bowls, and I mixed the color into each one. The cherry looked purple (no idea why), and the cocoa looked brown, but the kiwi was a very pale green and the jam a very pale orange. If I would have told you to pick out the green one you would have found it, but if I would have asked you which color it is you would have said “off white”. Still, it tasted heavenly. I especially liked the kiwi.

After adding colors

Now for the cooking part. Tes wrote: “Cook the batter one by one over the medium heat. Vigorously and continuously stir until the batter become transparent and very thick (almost like dough). Remove from the heat and keep aside. Repeat the process for other batches.”

So I did that. The color surprisingly intensified during cooking. The result reminded me very much of the lemon pudding in lemon meringue pie – not the color or taste, of course, but the texture. Thick and slightly transparent.

After cooking

Then I wanted to put the coloured dough into a piping bag, and… the second snag: no piping bag. I looked where it was supposed to be, I looked where I could have put it, I looked where someone could have put it – no piping bag.

Sooooo… I tried to make one out of baking paper. At the beginning it worked, but I forgot the crucial point of taping the edges so it won’t fall apart so of course it fell apart in the middle. Armed with experience and sello-tape, I taped a second paper well and started to pipe the dough out to put in the oven. And… the third snag. It didn’t harden. It got a bit dry on the outside, but no “hard and crunchy on the outside”. I tried high temperature, low temperature, and placing it outside on my balcony. Nothing. It remained of the texture of the inside of a jelly bean. Tasty, but not what I wanted. What to do?

I called the kids, told them to taste my sweets and see if they like them. They happily ate ten as quickly as possible so I won’t stop them, and decreed that they loved it.

So the goal was achieved, one way or another 🙂

What I could save before they were eaten

More food coloring ideas:

Red: Cherries were good, probably red beetroot should work well too.

Green: I thought that mint leaves would make a beautiful green and tasty sweets. Kiwi wasn’t green enough.

Blue: Only blueberries come to mind, or blueberry jam, or purple plum jam for bluish-purple

Yellow: Apricots,  orange juice.

Orange: Carrot juice, mango juice.

I have a birthday coming soon, I wonder how my husband would react to cherry and mint flavoured flowers on my chocolate cake?  😮

Have a nice weekend!

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I really felt like a good exotic rich soup. Unfortunately, I cannot really make a soup like this, because my husband likes chicken soup, vegetable soup and tomato soup. In extreme situations he is willing to eat onion soup, but that is as far as it gets. My kids like chicken soup only, and even then only their grandparent’s chicken soup, never mine. So the solution was simple: We invited people to dinner for Shabbat, and that way I had an excuse to make an interesting soup.

I regularly get the food magazine “Derech HaOchel” (The food road/way, very loosely translated), and they had seven soups of different colors, ranging from green split pea and mint soup to black bean soup. I thought of making the white soup (cauliflower) but in the end went for the orange soup (pumpkin-carrot-coconut). I really liked the idea of coconut, as it makes the soup creamy without making it dairy. Also, I hoped there was a chance my eldest would at least taste it (he loves coconut).

I am almost embarrased to admit it, but though I’ve been cooking for more than ten years I have never made what is known in Israel as “orange soup”. I like it, and I ate it, and I know what is usually in it: pumpkin, carrot, sweet potato, onion. But I never made it.

So: If not now, when?

So I got to work! (… with some changes, of course 🙂 )

Ingredients:

Olive oil for frying
1 onion, chopped small (I use the food processor)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 kg carrots, peeled and chopped (food processor for that too)
500 gr pumpkin, chopped (ditto)
0.5 liter water
1 cup of strong lemongrass tea (ideally, one stalk of lemongrass, but I didn’t have any so I used this instead)
0.5-1 tsp dried thyme (ideally fresh, but didn’t have that either)
1 can coconut milk
salt & pepper to taste
0.5-1 tsp mild curry powder (optional)

Fry the onion and garlic in the olive oil until transparent. Add the carrot, and fry for another 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin and fry for for another five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tea , water, thyme and curry (if using) and cook until the vegetables are soft. Taste occasionally, but don’t worry if the taste of thyme is very strong as it gets milder during the cooking. Add the coconut milk. Blend the soup to smooth consistency (I used a “stick” blender to blend in the pot, it was so easy and quick). Make sure the soup is heated through and done!

For serving, you can chop some spring onions and sprinkle on top for extra colour and taste.

Looks good enough to eat!

My guest liked it very much; my eldest did in fact taste it, but decided he didn’t like it. I am sure that if I make it more frequently though, he would like it. I loved it – it was creamy and comforting. I also discovered later that it freezes excellently. And it was absolutely delicious.

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