Monday, 30 September 2013

coconut milk panna cotta with agar agar

i have a very simple, delicious and healthy recipe to share with you all today... it's coconut milk panna cotta made with agar agar flakes. it's so easy to whip up for dessert, that i keep a small jar of agar agar flakes (which you can get from most supermarkets - i have used the Sanchi brand) in the cupboard, along with a tin of coconut milk for any time i fancy something a bit "treat-y".

you can soften the texture with some yogurt, or extra coconut cream if you like. the recipe is basic, leaving it open for you to get creative, add in flavourings that you love and top it with whatever you enjoy!

you can easily place this in moulds and then turn it out and drizzle with a delicious berry sauce and make it look incredibly elegant! all i did was place it in some pretty bowls and eat the entire thing straight away - oops. it still looked beautiful though...

coconut milk panna cotta
makes 4 small desserts

1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp agar agar flakes
1 tbsp honey

1. place the coconut milk and agar agar flakes in a saucepan, and let sit for 15 minutes.
2. whisk together and then bring to a simmer - stir constantly.
3. keep whisking on the heat until the agar agar flakes have completely dissolved - about 5 minutes.
4. leave the pan to cool for 15 minutes, then whisk again and divide into your serving bowls. cool these at room temperature for half an hour, and then pop them in the fridge to harden up for 4 hours.

cook's notes:
  • these have a tendency to separate, depending on the brand/type of coconut milk you use. to reduce the changes of creating two layers in your dessert, choose the best quality coconut milk, add in some extra yogurt or coconut cream, and follow the above steps, making sure not to boil the mixture.
  • the recipe is inspired by the one on Camille Styles blog
  • this is a great body cleanser - this seaweed is fantastic for digestion (see full health benefits and uses on Web MD - love discovering new ingredients)!
this was so good i made it 3 times in a week! it's good with raspberries and fresh mint, or a sprinkle of ground flaxseed, and works well with cinnamon and fresh vanilla seeds. i've also added coconut palm sugar as the sweetener but that makes it a little too brown in colour and therefore not totally appetising.

thanks for reading! i hope you're all enjoying the beginning of autumn i'm loving the colours begin to change in the trees...)

currently listening to:  the other side by jason derulo

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

cream teas, clovelly and crab sandwiches

guess what? we've been away on holiday! since getting married, we've not had a proper holiday, and so we took a week in Devon in a gorgeous self-catering cottage near Halwill Junction... time to relax, cook, read, watch movies together and sleep. it was sublime.

i adore holidays in our own country. we've got such a diverse countryside, with ever changing communities as you drive through fields and forests across county lines - and there's still so much of our own country that i want to explore! i made a mental note a few years ago to try and explore the UK before i tried to discover the rest of the world again, because i felt like i didn't really know it as well as i should. i suppose this is the first step towards this exploratory mission...

anyhow, onto some holiday snaps:

breakfasts in pj's in bed is important from time to time on holiday. it was so fun making our own breakfasts each morning, at whatever time we liked and with the best Waitrose supplies. we had eggs, veggie fry-ups, fruit, coffee, all things we wanted. i even read through my own book for inspiration and we had mexican style baked eggs one day - yum!

we made sure to walk every day, whether that was around shops, by the seaside, along a river or in a forest. we even rented cycles along The Tarka Trail one day - which was perhaps my favourite day, even though i ended up with a sore behind. we stopped for lunch in Fremington Quay, and ate delicious fishcakes and scrummy lemon polenta cake.

it's also very essential when in Devon/Cornwall to make sure you get a good cream tea, and we made sure that the one cream tea i had was the best! we went to The Coffee Room in Bude, where the scones are made by the father of the woman who runs the place, and who also runs the bakery down the road (which make amazing pasties - better than Pengenna).

don't forget to put the cream on after the jam if you're in cornwall, and cream before jam if you're in devon!

ostler's cottage was gorgeous - it's a classic cottage, and as such was perfectly well appointed - we were even greeted with red roses and homemade cherry sponge on arrival. the gardens were phenomenal too - inspired by Sarah Raven (who I work for!) and brimming with colour. a little touch of paradise.

going on holiday in blackberrying season is awesome. we spent the whole week trying to find the biggest, juiciest, tastiest ones, and swapping our best finds for taste trials. i love blackberry season, so it was good to finally get out and try a few. 

we did our fair bit of sightseeing - bude, padstow, and clovelly to name a few towns we discovered. bude is my favourite, with random shops and cafes. at padstow we ate some amazing local fish, and went for a walk along the cliff path which was blustery but brilliant. clovelly is a very cute little town - you have to pay to get in, but it's worth it...

we ate a crab sandwich from the seafood shop at the bottom of the hill, and then we ate lunch at the New Inn at the top of the hill - totally unassuming place, but the food was just perfect. i had a veggie lasagne, and Pete had the seafood platter.

so there you go, a little glimpse into what we got up to! hopefully i'll be back soon with a couple of delicious recipes and lunchbox photos for you all. i hope you're enjoying the beginning of autumn too!

currently watching: breakfast on bbc1 - very important to catch up on what's been happening in the world whilst you've been away!