Wednesday, 30 November 2011

GF Donna Hay Brownies

In this day and age, it is useful to have an simple, foolproof, gluten free cake that will wow and amaze.  For those of you still struggling for ideas, may I suggest this brownie?  It works for me.  It is fudgy, intense and melts in the mouth.

I don't take credit for it.  It was Donna Hay's recipe and mum was clever enough to substitute GF flour (Orgran) for the regular flour.  Since my sister and niece were diagnosed as celiacs, my mum has been great at experimenting with gluten free baking.  She has found that you can't always just substitute gf flour for regular wheat flour.  It works sometimes.  Especially when there is very little flour in a recipe.  Such as brownies.

Donna Hay calls these standby brownies.  The ingredients are pantry staples.  I have seen cocoa brownies on blogs quite a few times but never tried them until now.  They are brilliant.  So soft.  So rich.  So delicious.  I was so impressed with them when my mum made them at a family dinner, I had to get the recipe. 

I first baked them for afternoon tea at a work meeting.  I baked them early in the morning.  Sylvia was fascinated by them as I cut them up before heading to work.  So interested in them that she nibbled on the small piece I gave her to taste and then lay on it as she reached across to take another piece.  Could that count as evidence that they make you crazy with desire?

I made the recipe again on the weekend for the cake stall at the weekend fete.  I wanted something easy, impressive and suitable for restricted diets.  Most of them sold, and I was a little relieved to have a few leftover that I could take home.  I have a feeling that these brownies will become a favourite GF recipe.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: On the way to make burgers I discovered a mash!
This time two years ago: Mexican Lasagne and our Jetset Baby
This time three years ago: Leftover Cream and Paprikash

GF Standby Brownies
slightly adapted from Donna Hay
Make 16-25 depending on how small you cut them

150g butter
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
3/4 cup (75g) cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1/2 cup (75g) gluten free plain flour (or regular wheat flour)

Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).  Melt butter with sugar and cocoa together over a low heat or in a microwave (I did the later).  Mix in vanilla and eggs, whisking well.  Add in flour and stir well.  Spoon into a lined 20cm cake tin.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until centre is just set.  Cool in the tin.  Dust with icing sugar if desired.  Cut into squares to serve.

On the Stereo:
We bring you a king with a head of gold: Dark Britannica II - Various Artists

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Grill'd - quick and healthy burgers

A few weekends back, we headed into Carlton because E wanted to visit a shop called Lord Uke.  Sylvia and I went to the supermarket while he drooled over ukeleles.  We then went to the new Readings discount store and the Poppy Shop for a few more purchases.  By then we were hungry and headed to Grill'd for lunch.

I was keen on Grill'd because I had been there in a lunch break the week before and had a lovely peaceful time with a burger and suduko.  The Garden Goodness Burger (above) was a nice combination of vegie patty, beetroot, tomato, lettuce, avocado, relish and mayo.

When I went there with E and Sylvia, I decided to try a different burger, the Bombay Bliss (see top photo).  I am usually wary of curried burgers but this one hit the right mix of tasty without being overwhelmed by the spices.  It came with red peppers, lettuce, tatsiki and relish.  I liked it better than the previous burger because the chickpea patty was more substantial and satisfying.

I wasn't surprised to see it was listed by The Age newspaper as one of the top 5 vegetarian burgers in Melbourne.  They called it "a '70s sharehouse meal in a bun, but in the best possible way".  Both burgers are satisfying and reasonably healthy.  Lots of fresh salad and very little in the way of grease.  They come in an impressive stack that is held together with a skewer.  They can be eaten with your hands but are a bit messy, especially with all the sauce.  (And there are also vegan options.)

Grill'd is one of those modern franchises that prides itself on friendly staff and a bright cheery interior with a hint of grunge.  It is a pleasant place to eat provided the music is not turned up (we almost didn't sit inside because the music was too noisy but fortunately it was turned down as we were choosing seats).

Meanwhile, Sylvia had the herbed chips and E had a meaty burger that he needed a knife and fork to eat.  Then between the two of them, they worked out what to do with the bottle top.  Grill'd gives each customer a bottle top to put in one of three jars labelled with local charities.  The one with the most bottle tops is the one toward which Grill'd makes the largest donation.  I had long finished my burger and was happy to read my new Christmas cookbook for kids while they made their choice.

As a postscript, I went there again for lunch this week.  When I returned to my bike, I found someone photographing it.  Like a good blogger I whipped out my camera.  Actually the reason for the interest was not really my bike but the bike stand.  Someone has covered the bike stand in a bright knitted cover.  That's what happens in the hip inner-city streets.  I am sure those at Grill'd would approve!

350 Lygon Street
Carlton 3053
03 9347 1666
See website for restaurants in other locations.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Chocolate crackles and the copha conundrum

Chocolate crackles!  They fill me with a nostalgic glow.  They bring memories of childhood friends, baking with my mum, cake stalls, fetes and birthday parties.  Where there was fun, there were chocolate crackles.  Yet I haven't made them for years and years.  Why?  I don't like one of the main ingredients: copha.  This weekend we had Sylvia's child care fete so I took the opportunity for a wee experiment.

Firstly let me tell you about the weekend.  Though it has mainly been baking, shopping and bubbles in the backyard, it has been full as a state school.  I headed off to the shops yesterday in heavy rain.  I had to circle the carpark many times before I found a parking space and that everyone else had decided to do their Christmas shopping as well.  I came home laden down.  In my bag was Sylvia's first pair of thongs (photo above for those who might not use the same term).  She loved them.

Fortunately I remember E arriving in Australia and learning to wear thongs or I wouldn't be nearly so sympathetic to her funny flippy floppy steps.  I have worn thongs for so many years that I can't remember what it was like not to do so.

Likewise I was making chocolate crackles from a young age.  They were just part of my life.  Yet when I made them last night I was amazed at how long it took for the copha to melt.  It made me dislike the stuff even more.  Those of you outside Australia will probably be unfamiliar with copha.  It is described as a vegetable shortening.  It is made of hydrogenated coconut oil and soya bean lecithin.  It was once ubiquitous in Australian children's sweet treats but is less so today now that such fats are looked upon less favourably.

I decided I would experiment with one batch with copha and one with coconut oil, which is more popular among the health-conscious these days.  Yet I am not so keen on coconut oil either.  Then I found a recipe that used melted chocolate instead of any oils.  Having read that use of copha has declined because chocolate is more affordable, it made sense to try this alternative recipe.  The darker chocolate crackles are the ones with melted chocolate. 

In addition to the chocolate crackles, I made a Banana Cake and Gluten Free Brownies.  Then I worried about how to take the food along to the fete.  Why did I make a rectangular loaf when it is far easier to find plates to fit round cakes?  Should I package up individual chocolate crackles?  Was cling film enough to cover them?  Did I have enough room to write the ingredients on my labels?  NB These days all the ingredients need to be written down for cake sales.  I was glad I found some freezer bags to cover the brownies after I dropped the plates covered with cling film.  They remained on the plates but I thought it would be hard to carry them about at the fete.

The fete was busy and chaotic and colourful as all fetes should be.  This is our first experience with this centre so we had to work out the ticketing system.  Thankfully there were vegetarian sausages and pizza on offer for lunch.  I was even more impressed that there were little tubs of salad to go with them.  Sylvia enjoyed some of the art activities and got green flowers painted on her face by a fairy.  E took along his ukelele and strummed on it in the garden.  Even dolly got a new crown.

At the end of the fete a lot of my baking was sold but not all.  I was not surprised that the copha chocolate crackles were less popular.  The only advantage of this version is that they were more appropriate for vegan and dairy-free diets.  I much preferred Geoff's chocolate crackles.  They were far richer and had less of the oiliness that I don't like so much.  It is a joy to find that I can now make chocolate crackles without having to buy copha ever again.

Other recipes using rice bubbles:

From Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Mars Bar Slice
Pooh Bear Honey Slice
White Christmas

From elsewhere:
Corn and chive bubble pikelets - Kelloggs (Australia)
Almond butter rice crisp treats - Oh She Glows
Chewy rice bubbles bar (with condensed milk) -
Strawberries and cream muesli bars -
Two tone chocolate crispies - Chocolate Log Blog
Walnut surprises - Kitchen Maid

Chocolate crackles
From the Kelloggs website
makes 24

1 cup icing sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
250g copha, chopped
3 tbsp cocoa
4 cups Rice Bubbles

Melt copha in a large heatproof mixing bowl in the microwave.  It seemed to take ages compared to butter.  Mine got so hot that I left the last few lumps to melt in the heat of the mixture rather than returning to the microwave. Gradually stir in icing sugar and cocoa.  Now add the coconut and rice bubbles, stirring very gently until they are all covered.  Spoon into patty pan papers and cool in the fridge.  I think these are ok to keep at room temperature once firmed up but if you are keeping for quite some time, I would probably keep them in the fridge.

Geoff's chocolate crackles
From the Sydney Morning Herald on 18 August 2010
makes 16

200g milk chocolate (I used melts)
100g dark chocolate (I used 50% cocoa)
3 cups Rice Bubbles
1 cup dessicated coconut

Melt melt chocolates in a large heatproof mixing bowl.  Gently stir in rice bubbles and coconut.  Spoon into patty pan papers and keep in the fridge to firm up.  As with above chocolate crackles, can be kept out of the fridge unless being kept for more than a few days.

On the Stereo:
Bill Breathes: Phish

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Two Pizzas - with Facon and with Chocolate

How do you redeem a disappointing pizza?  Use the leftover pizza dough to make a decadent dessert pizza.  Yes I am afraid last night's experiments with my coconut bacon on pizza weren't as good as they could have been.

Unfortunately I only had enough tomato pizza sauce for Sylvia's pizza so I blended some rocket and walnut to make a pesto for the base of our pizza.  I topped it with marinated artichokes, cherry tomato, coconut bacon (that hadn't been fried) and cheese.  The pesto was too bitter.  Fortunately it left me with hope that if I used a sweeter sauce the coconut bacon might make an excellent pizza topping.

I didn't have much dough leftover but it was enough to spread some nutella on the base and scatter with chocolate melts and raspberries (baked at 190 for 20-25 minutes).  This was so rich that a little went a long way and this pizza was still around at breakfast time the next morning.  It was oh oh so good!

Friday, 25 November 2011

Flower Cake

Last Sunday we had a birthday lunch for my nieces Ella and Grace.  Planning began weeks before with ideas, children's birthday cake cookbooks, online searches, consultations and hand drawn diagrams.  Pleasing twin girls is doubly challenging.  Finally it was decided to go with Grace's choice of a flower cake and to give Ella her choice next year.  Here is how we made it.

We went down on Saturday afternoon to stay at my mum's.  My nieces Maddy, Ella and Grace were sleeping over.  Not only did Sylvia get to sleep in the loungeroom with her big cousins and watch cartoons with them in the morning, but I got the chance to help my mum and the girls make flower biscuits on sticks.  We had decided to use the same GF cut out cookie recipe that we used when we made cookie wands for Maddy's birthday earlier in the year.  This time they were to look like flowers and be planted in a pink cake.

As I have said, planning was key.  We had to go down the street for edible "decorations" early in the morning.  We had trouble finding the candles in the supermarket.  The funniest moment was when my nieces started making faces and gesturing because they saw themselves on the CCTV.

Upon returning we started on the flowers.  They were the most complex part of the cake.  Firstly we decided upon seven flowers to represent the girls' seven years.  I consulted each girl on their seven colours and came up with a final seven.  We chose two flowers for each colour (I've done enough of these to be cautious and make sure there were back ups) and Maddy used her colour-wheel to choose coloured m&ms for the centre of each flower.  Complicated stuff!

I thought that mixing up seven colours of icing was a challenge.  I decided the cake would look better from all angles if we iced both sides of each flower.  Seemed simple.  All we needed was somewhere to dry them.  My mum took care of that with a brilliant idea of making holes with a sharp knife in the bottom of an ice cream tub. 

The main problem was that the icing kept sliding down taking the sprinkles and m&ms with it.  I think it worked best when we didn't have too much icing on a biscuit.  Thicker icing didn't help because it just gave more icing to slide down the biscuit.  I was determined the m&ms would stay on and just kept pushing them back into place until the icing dried enough to hold them.

While the girls and I were decorating the biscuits (with Maddy entertaining Sylvia to keep her fingers from getting sticky with the bickkies), my mum started on icing the cake.  Despite Ella's concern that boys would not like pink, that was the colour chosen.  Grace and Sylvia helped to put a ring of freckles around the side of the cake and scatter chopped mint bubble chocolate (like aero bars) over the top.  Unlike in the Food Ideas recipe (from a Party Time lift-out), we used a gluten free Basco vanilla cupcake mix for the cake.

Once all the flowers were decorated and dried, we chose which flowers to plant in the cake.  Not an easy task!  Then we iced a round biscuit for each of the girls with their initial in sprinkles.  Next to each round biscuit was a number seven candle.  We lit the candles at the same time so the girls could blow out their candles together.  And despite Ella's concerns, Cooper loved the pink cake.
Once we enjoyed our Mexican meal and the cake was demolished, the kids had lots of fun playing with slapbands, textas and stickers.  Sylvia and Ashton played the piano.  My oldest niece, Quin, did an excellent job of painting the girls' faces with Ella and Grace's new face painting kits.  Most hilarious was Maddy in her cape with spooky face paint.  I did a strongman moustache on Cooper but he wasn't impressed with my handiwork.  All the kids sparkled.  Just like the flowers in the garden!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

WSC: Choc Apple Pumpkin Oat Biscuits

I took some photos of these choc chip cookies while Sylvia was in the bath.  It is the only way I can photograph food without her "helping" me by removing food props or just helping herself to the food on display.  I took a few photos - firstly with sylvia's new monster bedspread and then with dolly's new pink pillow.  If you watch children's television like I do, you might understand if I explain that they are more like Peppa Pig's brother George Pig with his dinosaur-grrr and jumping in puddles, than Upsy Daisy of In the Night Garden who loves daisies and preening herself.

Yes these are sturdy little bikkies with a nubbly oaty texture. I had pumpkin leftover from a stuffed pumpkin when I saw other pumpkin cookies on Eat Me Delicious.  The link led me to these Pumpkin Scotchies from Two Peas and Their Pod.  I had no butterscotch chips so I added choc chips and, because I love We Should Cocoa, I remembered I had dried apples in my cupboard needing attention.  I also reduced the sugar.  Possibly that was why mine didn't seem to spread as the recipe and accompanying photo suggested.  (Below is a picture of my first batch that I didn't flatten and shape.)

Or maybe they just didn't spread into thin chewy cookies because it was a crazy evening.  I didn't have choc chips so I rode my bike to the supermarket to buy some.  Hurrah for daylight savings and getting back into bike riding and nice drivers who give way to cyclists at roundabouts.  Boo to supermarkets who place melts in the place where choc chips are usually kept when Cadbury changes its packaging.

Bake home E asked, how long til he could eat them.  Thirty minutes, I replied blithely.  It was more like an hour.  I can't really blame others.  But I did have to drag a small girl in sunglasses back to bed, carry a recalcitrant cat inside once darkness fell, chop the chocolate melts, and open the pantry only to have a jar of raw sugar fall at my feet.  The jar was plastic and didn't spill much because I was about to fill it but it was still the last thing I needed!  Lastly I decided to make soup while baking.  Finally I peeked in and was relieved to see that Sylvia was asleep.  Would you believe that Tiny Tim was singing "tiptoe through the tulips" on the stereo!

We still have quite a lot of the biscuits in the freezer.  I made over twice as many as the original recipe specified.  I cooked them much longer than the recipe said.  As I have discovered before, pumpkin makes biscuits soft and on the cakey end of the spectrum.  This can have benefits.  I cooked them until they were quite well done, which made them slightly chewy.  I suspect they are nothing like the original scotchies so I have renamed them in a way that shows I don't have a clue what to call them.  I don't even know what more to say about them, except that George Pig would say "dinosaurs - grrrrr" and that would mean they are very good.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe
This time last year: Apple and Cranberry Chutney
This time two years ago: Thanh Nga Nine - Vietnamese vegetarian appreciation
This time three years ago: Accolades and some random facts

Choc Apple Pumpkin Oat Biscuits
Adapted from this recipe
I made 66 small cookies

125g butter
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed pumpkin
1 cup plain white flour
1/4 cup wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp mixed spice (it's a bit like pumpkin spice)
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup dark choc chips
1/2 cup chopped dried apple

Preheat oven to 190 C (375 F). Line two baking trays with baking paper or a silicone baking mat.

Cream butter and sugars (I did this by hand).  Beat in egg and vanilla, then pumpkin.  Stir in flours, bicarb soda, mixed spice and salt.  Gently stir in oats, choc chips and dried apple.

Drop tablespoons of batter into prepared tray.  Flatten and shape with damp hands.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the top and bottom (the original recipe said 10-12 minutes but I found they didn't go golden brown).  Transfer to a wire rack and cool.  Store in an airtight container (or freeze).

On the Stereo:
The Black Session: Beirut

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

SOS Vegan Parsnip and Bacon Cake with Mustard Cream

It seemed a brilliant idea at the time.  I decided to veganise a recipe full of bacon and cream.  Mine would use coconut bacon and cashew cream.  The cake would be gorgeous wedges drizzled with the cream.  The cream was good but the bacon was too chunky and the cake fell apart after the oven turned itself off.  Not an unqualified success but we enjoyed dinner, nevertheless.

Frying the onion and bacon together was fine.  It looked right.  The cream was one of my better renditions of a cashew cream.  It works better in a blender than in a dodgy old food processor and I am learning to give it lots of time to thicken into a smooth cream.  I usually line my cake tins with some baking paper but decided it wasn't needed with this savoury cake.  Big mistake. 

This is how it looked when I took it out of the oven:

This is how it looked when I turned it out of the tin and reshaped it:

This is how it looked once it crisped on top and I flipped it (what a disaster!):

Yet you can see below that it looked more respectable once I had served the cakes with cream, nutty fries, asparagus and beetroot.  Next time I would season the parsnip cakes more, chop the coconut bacon finely, and cook it on a flat tray in smaller portions.  What I liked about it was the soft mild flavour of the parsnips with the smoky facon and the creamy mustard sauce.  A great combination of flavours and textures.

It is not actually parsnip season here but I was inspired by Ricki and Kim's SOS Kitchen event.  This month's theme is Parsnips.  To celebrate the theme, I am sharing some parsnip recipes I have loved and ones I would love to make:

Parsnip recipes on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
Parsnip recipes elsewhere in the blogosphere:

Parsnip and Facon Cake with Mustard Cream
Adapted from UKTV
serve 3-4

3 parsnips (about 400g), peeled and chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup coconut bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
finely chopped spring onion, to garnish

Mustard Cream:

1/3 cup raw cashews
1/3 cup water
1 tbsp soy milk (optional)
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground chillis
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste

Firstly pour boiling water over cashews in a small bowl and leave to soak while you prepare recipe (I think mine were soaking 1 hour).

Simmer parsnips for about 20 minutes or until very soft.  While parsnips are cooking, fry onions for a few minutes until golden brown.  Add garlic and coconut bacon and stir about a minute.  Add coconut oil and stir until melted.  Remove from the heat.  When parsnips are cooked, drain and mash with a pinch of salt.  Add onion and bacon mixture.  Check seasoning.

The recipe said to flatten into a greased 20cm cake tin.  Next time I will either flatten and shape into a circle on a greased baking tray (and flip in quarters) or line the bottom of the cake tin with baking paper.  Cook at 180 C (350 F) until crispy on top.  (My oven went out so I ended up crisping mine under the grill.)  Turn out onto a plate or chopping board and cut into wedges to serve.  Serve wit mustard cream.

To make mustard cream: drain cashews and then blend all ingredients in a blender for about 3 minutes or until thickened and smooth.  Check seasoning.

On the Stereo:
Just enough education to perform: Stereophonics

Monday, 21 November 2011

MLLA Avocado soy rotis

I am a cautious person.  Yet in cooking I often try to run before I can walk.  Plain food doesn't interest me.  I love a quirky addition.  Take roti for instance.  I've meant to make it for ages.  It has always seemed a challenge.  Then I see a version with both avocado and soy flour.  I must try this.  My sort of challenge!

The rotis were a fine companion over the weekend (if you don't take the metaphor too literally or I would seem heartless to eat my companion)!  I made the dough on Friday night to have with some leftover pumpkin, corn and tomato soup.  I only made a few because I was tired.  I was happy to dive into them while Sylvia watched In the Night Garden before bed.  The remaining dough went in the fridge.

The next day my friend Yarrow came for lunch.  He has experimented with roti far more than me.  I was disorganised so while I prepared pea and lentil salad, Yaz rolled and fried the roti, while keeping a small child away.  He advised that we dry fry and brush with melted ghee, or, as in my case, butter.  I had fried them with a spay of oil the previous night.  He looked up atta flour that was in the recipe and found that my substitution of bread flour and wholemeal flours was quite appropriate for this strong flour. 

It was raining so heavily when we went shopping that we couldn't park near my favourite Turkish bread shop so I had to buy a teeny one at the supermarket.  As it was, with the remains of the pumpkin bread, we had plenty.  With the vegies, dips, coconut bacon and rotis, it was a far too much for us.  A very pleasant lunch and I was pleased that Sylvia enjoyed eating the roti.
I took the last roti or two down to my parents place on Saturday.  We drove down in pouring rain and nibbled on roti before we had pizza for dinner.  The next day was a birthday lunch for my nieces, Grace and Ella.  The rotis were finished but the sun shone and my mum made us an excellent Mexican feast.  I helped the girls make a special birthday cake.  More about that soon.

The rotis weren't as difficult as I had thought, and seem so similar to this tortilla recipe so I might try it soon.  I think there will also be more rotis soon in our house.  I have noticed that Suma has posted some potato rotis at Veggie Platter as well.  I am sending these rotis to Simone of Briciole for My Legume Love Affair #41, founded by Susan of The Well Seasoned Cook.  I found these rotis via the last edition of MLLA and hope someone else might discover them in this round up.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe
This time last year: Leonard Cohen, rice salad and the great outdoors
This time two years ago: Pizza for the Impatient
This time three years ago: Nut roast with chestnuts

Avocado Soy Rotis
Adapted from Veggie Platter with good advice from My Indian Food
Makes 10 rotis

1 avocado
1/4 cup water
1 cup soy flour
1/2 cup wholemeal flour
1/2 cup white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt flakes
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp mustard powder
oil or melted ghee/butter for rotis to fry the rotis

Place avocado pulp and 1/4 cup water in a food processor and blend, scraping down a few times.  Add flours, salt and spices.  Continue to process until a greenish ball of dough forms.  Add a little extra water if needed.

Cover for at least 20 minutes or leave overnight in the fridge wrapped in clingwrap.  Cut dough into 10 small pieces.

Roll out each piece - my dough was on the sticky side so it needed quite a bit of flour. 

Fry on a medium to hot frypan until the dough puffs slightly and brown spots appear on the underside.  This should only take a minute or two.  The first lot I did I sprayed the pan with oil (see photo).

The second lot I did, we dry-fried and then brushed with melted butter.  Serve warm.

On the Stereo:
Live at KLRU Studios: Beirut

Sunday, 20 November 2011

WW Coconut Bacon

On Saturday morning, Sylvia got me up early (well at about 7am).  It was ok.  I had plans.  I had coconut flakes.  I had the remains of a bottle of Figaro Liquid Smoke.  I mixed them with some tamari, maple syrup and water.  They marinated while I got Sylvia porridge and pottered.  Then I fried the coconut flakes and made a sandwich with pumpkin bread, tomato and avocado.  It was one of the best breakfasts I have had for ages.

I first read about Coconut Bacon before when I made this Bean and Buckwheat Facon.  It didn't appeal.  Then Lisa (and other bloggers) raved about the CLT (Coconut Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich) at New Day Rising.  Now I want to go there but I don't eat out much and the place looks unsuitable for a toddler.  When I saw the picture of Vegan Fox in the Snow's sandwich with tomato, avocado and coconut bacon, I had to try it.

I was a bit unsure about it.  To bake or to fry? (Frying seemed quicker.)  Could I use smoked paprika given that I didn't have much liquid smoke left?  (Apparently, yes.)  Would the coconut soak up the extra marinade? (No.)  I checked a few other posts but didn't have much time for research.  So, as our lovely consultant at work advises, I got my hands dirty having a go at it.

The facon (fake bacon) was fantastic in the sandwich.  It crisped up nicely and was very tasty.  It was also far simpler and quicker than many other facon recipes.  My main reservation is that it wasn't as full of protein as the Bean and Buckwheat Facon that I loved.  I have however read that you can leave it marinating in the fridge for a few days and when cooked, keep it in an airtight container.

I didn't get the chance to store mine in an airtight container.  Serendipitously, my friend Yarrow, who gifted me the liquid smoke and trialed my previous facon recipe with me, came to lunch.  I was pleased to offer the facon as a snack because I was a little behind on lunch.  It kept up going nicely while we chopped, rolled and fried.  I served some pea and lentil salad with the meal.  It was wonderful with some flakes of coconut bacon sprinkled on top.  More on the lunch later.  It has been a busy weekend.  Meanwhile I have more facon marinating in the fridge and look forward to frying it up.

I am sending this coconut bacon to Ricki for her Wellness Weekends.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe
This time last year: WHB Cauliflower Tart
This time two years ago: Polenta Pizza People
This time three years ago: Chocolate Cake, Creative Control and Climate Change

Coconut Bacon (Facon)
Adapted from  VegWeb via Vegan Fox in the Snow

3 handfuls of flaked coconut (about 80-100g)
2 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp water (optional - only add if you need more liquid)
2 tsp liquid smoke (or 1 tsp smoked paprika)
1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Mix coconut flakes with other ingredients.  I found there was a little extra liquid so I added a little more coconut to soak it up (it didn't get soaked up when I left it to marinate for a while).  Spray non stick saucepan with oil and fry over medium heat until just slightly charred around the edges.  Recipes say you can also heat in a low oven until crisp but I haven't found advice on timing.  Cool on kitchen paper.  Great for garnishing salads, soups and sandwiches.

NOTE: I bought the coconut flakes at the organics stall at the Queen Vic market in Melbourne (beside the egg stall).  They were displaying packets at the counter so I bought some on a whim.

On the Stereo:
The Love Songs of Burt Bacharach: Various Artists