Sunday, April 30, 2006

Coconut Cake

I've a bit of a weakness for coconut in sweet things. At school fetes I always head straight for the tables with sweet stuff for the coconut ice (have never had a good commercial one, and it's no fun to make). And I love the old bounty chocolate bar. So I've been looking for a good coconut cake recipe for a while, and I think this might be it. It's adapted from Nigella Lawson's 'Forever Summer' where it is call Coconut Slab and she makes enough for a crowd (cooked in a baking dish!). I've reduced the cake size, added some desicated coconut to the cake mix, removed the eggs and changed the icing, it just seemed obvious to use chocolate (and I've rather a lot spare from the chocolate sampling of the previous post). I used a 19cm square cake tin, and as you can see from the photograph, it ended up a bit on the thin side. I don't mind this, but a slightly smaller tin could be an option.

115g unsalted butter
115g castor sugar
4 tbs milk
135g plain flour
1 1/3 tsp baking powder
15g cornflour
100ml coconut cream (ie the thick tinned stuff - not the thin coconut milk)
1/2 cup desicated coconut

Chocolate for coating the top of cake (I used about 75g)

Cream butter and sugar until light, then add milk and mix in thoroughly. Add both flours and baking powder and mix well, then stir in coconut cream and desicated coconut. Put into a lined tin (19cm square for a thin cake) and bake at 180 degrees celcius for 30 minutes or until done.

Melt chocolate in bowl over container of boiling water (ie using water that is boiling hot, but not on the stove) and spread over cake.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

chocolate sampling

I admit I don't think an almost 3 year old girl is going to care much about the quality of her chocolate. However so far her diet has been chocolate-free (it is a hassle finding nut-free chocolate and what you don't know you don't miss), but as the bunny is visiting this week-end I was curious as to the quality of the nut-free chocolate out there. Now I should say at the outset, that while I like a nice bit of dark chocolate, I'm not a raving chocolate connoisseur, so please accept that my judgements are from an uneducated palate and pretty subjective. Thanks to the spouse for helping here, I think he has good judgement with the sweet stuff.

First up Sweet William Original Diary-Free Chocolate (Australian-made). These can be purchased in bunny shapes, however I sampled the basic 50g bar which I purchased in Safeway (in the health-food section). We like these the least of all chocolate sampled; it was a bit grainy, tasted a bit like carob (it wasn't and I'm not fond of carob, so I see it as a fault), was quite thin and had a disappointing aftertaste. In addition the label says may contain traces of almonds so these are not for us.

I found Alpha dark chocolate eggs in David Jones, these are made in down-town Balaclava. They were the most expensive chocolates I purchased ($7.95 for 100g). For a diary-free chocolate these were pretty good, still a little of that odd caroby aftertaste but much better body and texture. Not sure if the small girl will like dark chocolate - I kind of hope not so I can eat these ones. Was amused by the label which claims 'Servings per package - 5' , there are 7 medium-sized hollow eggs in the bag.

After hunting fruitlessly in a few Safeways which were supposed to stock Kinnerton's milk chocolate easter eggs, I found a bag in Kmart. These were just under $4 for a 160g bag of small solid eggs. The texture was a little grainy, ok but overall Cadbury milk chocolate tastes better. These are made in the UK.

A finally Willow Mild Chocolate. We sampled a 20g bar of this (60c). These are made in Mordialloc and are much nicer than the Kinnerton's. No disconcerting aftertaste and not at all grainy. As Hannah would say (and hopefully will on Sunday) - Yummo!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

chocolate bunnies...

Too busy to blog lately, in a week I go to New Zealand for a conference, so I've been madly trying to finish the paper and talk (and get to know powerpoint and so on and so on). My dearest girl will be staying behind in Melbourne, and I must say I'm quietly freaking out at the thought of not seeing her for nearly six days. Yay for the telephone and internet.

I thought I had to mention these bunnies though. There is a company called Allergy Block, existing both online and as a shopfront at 220 Elgin Street, Carlton. The bunnies are nut and egg free, and the chocolate, made by a local company called Willow, is not too bad at all.

I've found two other companies that produce nut-free chocolate. Kinneton is an English company that retails products locally in K-Mart, Big-W, Target, Myers and so forth. Most of their chocolates are licenced character based (not something that I'm big on), but they do have plain small solid eggs which I think the bunny needs to both track down and try out - I'll update this when I've done this. Sweet William is based in Sydney, and as well as being peanut-free the chocolate is dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, vegetarian safe, halal etc. It may contain traces of other nuts so is not really a contender for us.