Hi! I’m back!

I initially thought I’d be gone from the blogging world for a day or two but it took me much longer to get back. We’ve been giving the walls a fresh coat of paint so things [inc the pc] had to be shifted to less convenient locations for a while.

My absence then stretched longer than expected as my faithful 10year old pc became comatose. With the help of a friend, my brother managed to bring it back from the dead and retrieve most of my stuff and food pics. I can now share them with you 🙂

On a positive note, I got to rediscover some old cookbooks. The very gorgeous plaited loaf featured in one of them had me hooked. The book came along with my food processor manual; dunno why I never thought of giving those recipes a try before. I’m glad I did now. Yup, better late than never.

PLAITED LOAF

 

Ingredients:

1/4 cup almond meal

3 1/3 cup all purpose flour

1 sachet [10g] instant yeast

1/3 cup granulated sugar

150 ml lukewarm milk

100g unsalted butter, softened

1 pinch salt

2 eggs, room temperature

1 tbs honey or golden syrup

 

Method:

  • Place flour, yeast, sugar, salt, milk, eggs and half of the butter in the bowl of your stand mixer.
  • Knead at low speed for 10 minutes or until dough forms a smooth ball. Cover bowl and leave for prove for 1 hour.

  • I left the dough in my mixer bowl out in a sunny spot.
  • After dough has doubled in size, add almond meal and return to machine. Use pulse mode to incorporate almonds.

  • Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and divide into 3 parts. Roll out each piece into a long sausage shape – 50 cm.

  • Place them parallel to each other and use both hands to braid them together. Press the ends together on each side.
  • The somewhat sticky dough will make this difficult and your loaf may not be as symmetrical as you would like it to be.

  • I  used only half of the dough for the plaited loaf. The other half I rolled up and dumped into a 7×3 inck loaf pan.
  • After shaping dough as desired, leave to prove a secong time for 45 minutes on a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

  • Melt the remaining butter in a small heatproof bowl.
  • Brush the loaf with a generous amount of melted butter.
  • Bake at 300 oF for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 

  • After the first 20 minutes, brush on more butter.
  • Melt the honey with remaining butter. Brush onto hot plait as soon as you remove it from the oven.

 

  • Cool on a wire rack to prevent it from becoming soggy.
  • Serve warm. Best eaten on the day it is made.

I also made a small batch of coconut rocks, commonly known as gato coco. Once popular in school canteens and laboutik sinoi, this sugar rich candy does not find many takers in our present day diabetic population. It should work for hypoglycemic spells though. Crumble a piece and sprinkle on a lightly buttered fresh baguette if you want that genuine mauritian feeling. 

Some versions add milk to the sugar syrup or use sweetened condensed milk which is said to soften the gato coco. You can then spread it on a greased pan and cut it into squares as for barfi.

GATO COCO – COCONUT ROCKS

Ingredients:

2 cups grated coconut

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract

Food colouring

Method:

  • Prepare a baking tray by lining it with greaseproof paper.
  • Heat water in a large pan over medium heat. Add sugar and stir until sugar disssolves. Cook until it forms a sticky syrup.
  • This may take around 20-30 minutes over mediumlow heat.
  • Now add vanilla extract and food colouring of your choice. Add 1 drop at a time until you reach the desired shade.
  • I used powdered colouring which gives a more intense shade than the liquid ones. Syrup should be thick enough by now.

 

  • Stir in grated coconut until it absorbs most of the syrup.
  • If you use fresh coconut, peel off skin with a vegetable peeler first. Dessicated coconut is not suitable for this recipe.

 

  • Drop coconut mixture onto prepared baking tray at least 1 inch apart with a spoon to form small mounds.
  • Allow to cool to room temperature. After the coconut mixture hardens, it can be safely stored in a airtight container for upto a week. Makes 15 medium pieces.
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