A Craft in the Life: Coconut and Courgette Soup

Over the last few weeks me and my mum have brought back several varieties of courgettes from volunteering at Cogges Manor Farm in Witney. The walled garden is currently packed full of courgette and marrow plants, covering the plots with their large green leaves, bright orange flowers with green and yellow courgettes hanging off twisted vines. In order to use up all the courgettes we now have in the fridge, I decided to make a large batch of Coconut and Courgette Soup. This soup is one my family’s favourites, as the combination of soft courgette and sweet coconut milk gives a refreshing and very moreish flavour 🙂

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Coconut and Courgette Soup

You will need:

2.2lb /1kg Courgettes (Around 8) or Marrows

Salt

1 Large Onion, Chopped (Either white or Red)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

1 Tsp Grated Fresh Ginger

2 Garlic Cloves, Crushed

2 Tbsps Chopped Basil and Mint

1L /35 fl oz Vegetable Stock

250ml /8½ fl oz Coconut Milk

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Let’s get started!

  • Peel, de seed and chop the courgettes/marrows into 2cm chunks.
  • Put them into a colander, sprinkle with salt and let them drain for 30 minutes to get rid of the excess water, then pat them dry with a tea towel/kitchen paper.

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  • In a large stock/soup pot, fry the onion gently in oil until softened.
  • Add the ginger and garlic, along with the salted courgettes, basil and mint.
  • Pour over half the stock and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

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  • Once the courgettes are soft, remove the soup from the heat and allow to cool.
  • Blend in a food processor and return to the pot with the rest of the stock and coconut milk, then simmer for 5 minutes.

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  • Season to taste then serve topped with extra chopped basil/mint.
  • You are all done 🙂

This Coconut and Courgette Soup definitely works well as a summer soup, due to it’s light, refreshing flavour and bright green colour. The recipe makes a large batch of soup which you can store in the fridge for 2-3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months. Make sure to test the soup before you add any final seasoning, as salting the courgettes before cooking can be enough salt. I love the addition of the coconut milk in this soup, as it gives a delicious creamy taste which is really complemented by the mint and basil. Definitely try it out 🙂

A Craft in the Life…

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A Craft in the Life: Cherry Coconut Bombs

Looking through my new recipe book I was particularly intrigued by these Cherry Coconut Bombs, which consist of a coconut, condensed milk and cherry ball coated in milk chocolate. I really like cherries and coconut, so I couldn’t wait to give them ago!

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Cherry Coconut Bombs

You will need:

5oz/150g Desiccated coconut

½ tsp Coconut/Vanilla Flavouring/Extract

3½oz/100g Glacé Cherries

3½oz/100g Condensed Milk

2oz/50g Icing Sugar

9oz/250g Dark/Milk Chocolate (Or you can use half of each)

Extra desiccated coconut or freeze dried cherry powder for decorating

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Let’s get started!

  • Begin by combining desiccated coconut, 2 tbsps of boiling water and vanilla flavouring/extract. Using your fingers to mix until softened, then set aside.

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  • If glacé cherries are very sticky, give them a rinse in a sieve and pat dry on kitchen paper/tea towel.
  • Finely chop the cherries and add to the coconut along with the condensed milk and icing sugar, mixing thoroughly.

 

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  • Using your hands, roll the mixture into around 25 even sized balls and place onto a greased and lined baking tray (Your hands will get very messy as you do this! – I had to rinse mine after every 5 balls).

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  • Cover with clingfilm and chill for a few hours (I just left mine overnight).

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  • Melt the chocolate either over a pan of boiling water (Making sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water) or carefully in the microwave (I decided to use 125g milk and 125g dark, but you can use whatever you like/have).

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  • You can use this chocolate and a piping bag to make edible cherry stalks, piping onto a baking tray lined with grease proof paper and chilling in the fridge.
  • Drop each cherry coconut ball into the melted chocolate, lifting it out using a fork to allow excess chocolate to drain off before placing back onto the greased and lined baking tray.
  • You can then scatter coconut or cherry powder and add a stalk on top of each – if you decided to make/use them.
  • Chill the cherry coconut balls until the chocolate coating and stalk are firm.

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  • You are all done! 🙂

I really enjoyed making and eating these chocolate bombs! After you break through the chocolate coating you reach a sweet, coconutty centre with little pieces of cherry throughout. The ingredients are very easy to find, however the recipe does require a little time to get right. The hardest parts are rolling the coconut, condensed milk and cherries into balls without them falling apart, and coating each evenly with chocolate, again without them falling apart (I did lose one during this process but it just meant I got to have an early taste…). Definitely make sure you chill the rolled balls for as long as possible, preferably overnight, before coating with chocolate to help prevent this happening!

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They are very moreish but not so sweet that you can’t knock back 5 or so in one sitting… I have never really made anything similar to these bombs before, except for chocolate truffles – but I would definitely make them again and would recommend giving them ago 🙂

A Craft in the Life…

A Bake in the Life: Lemon Muffins

I had a big bag of lemons to use up so I had a look through my favourite muffin recipe book and decided to make a batch of lemon muffins. I wanted to make them a bit more interesting so I decided to use some ground almonds in the mixture, lime juice in the icing with desiccated coconut to decorate.

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Lemon Muffins

You will need:

For 12 muffins:

10oz/280g Plain Flour

1 tbsp Baking Powder

Pinch of Salt

4oz/115g Caster Sugar

2 tbsp Ground Almonds

2 Eggs

9 floz/250ml Milk

3oz/85g Butter

Zest of 2 Lemons

For the icing:

6oz/175g Icing Sugar

Juice of 1 Lemon/Lime

Desiccated Coconut

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Let’s get started!

  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6.
  • Grease/line your muffin tin with paper muffin cases.
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar and ground almonds.

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  • Measure out the milk in a measuring jug, then add the eggs and lightly beat. Add the butter, lemon zest and milk/eggs mixture then combine until smooth.

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  • Before I pour the mixture into the cases I always spoon the mixture from the mixing bowl into the measuring jug. This makes it a lot easier to pour the mixture into the muffin cases.
  • Bake for 20 minutes until the muffins are well risen and golden brown on top.
  • Leave the muffins to cool in the tin for around 5 minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack.

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  • To make the icing combine the icing sugar with a few tablespoons of lemon/lime juice. If the consistency is to your liking spoon over the cooled muffins. If not, add more juice until it is to your taste. Top with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut.

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  • You are all done! 🙂

Like most muffins, these lemon muffins are really easy and simple to make. The addition of ground almonds give a slightly marzipan taste which is complemented well by the lime icing and coconut decoration.

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Lemon muffins are so simple to make you could add in almost anything: poppy seeds, sultanas/raisins, lime/orange zest, honey… the list is endless and I will definitely be trying out some of these alterations soon 🙂

A Bake in the Life…