Earlier this month, I learned a lesson in perspective. A big fat lesson. It turns out that any hardship you may have going on, can be flipped on its head in one simple step: just watch the first 20 minutes of ‘Saving Private Ryan’.
Anyone who has done this should be nodding with gusto right now. They know what I’m talking about. It is a scary, but extremely effective way to shove those problems (even the big ones) straight to the back of your mind. Where they belong. Perspective guaranteed!
Then, when you’re done doing that, shake it off and help yourself to a big ol’ serving of something delicious, because (as we just learned from Mr. Hanks) our lives are pretty dang good! You will need something joy-restoring, comforting and fresh.
And I have just the ticket.
Creamy, wobbly, sweet coconut pudding.
This pudding will heal all that ails ya.
It will solve (in one spoonful) the emotional scars that any therapist could only dream of uncovering… But more of that later.
Lets learn some basics!
I love coconut. It’s special to me.
I believe everything is made better with a bit of coconut. Case in point: consider how worse off the world would be without the following:
Thai green curry.
Summer would be less summery. Less cheery. Less delicious. And this song may never have been born (That isn’t so bad, perhaps).
If you like coconut as much as I do, I think that we could be very good friends. Like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid kind-of-friends.
If you don’t like coconut, its alright. We will work that out. There is time.
Coconuts are a bit like Macaulay Culkin. They are better when they are young.
The young ones hold some of the most delicious water known to man. Its sweet, full of electrolytes and is the perfect starting point for a knock-out strawberry smoothie.
Unlike the older, harder, coconut-shell-bra-type-coconuts, the ‘flesh’ from the young ones is soft, chewy and creamy (that sounded less Hannibal Lecter in my head).
But. For all its deliciousness, coconuts can be a dang hard nut to crack, unless you know what to do. Sure, you can buy the juice and flesh frozen from supermarkets, but they usually are laden with added sugar. No body wants that.
Do it yourself! Trust me. Yes, it is time consuming. Yes, the yield is relatively low. But my goodness, it’s worth it. Because like most other things in life, when you put effort in you will receive it back, bigger and better.
These steps have made things so much easier, cleaner, and quicker for me. You’ll be on your way to happy coconut times quicker than you can say “piña colada”.
It helps to buy the best quality you can afford. I’d recommend steering away from big-line supermarkets and try to buy from farmers markets if possible.
Check use-by dates and grab from the back of the shelf. If the coconut has at least a month on its use-by, its probably at its freshest. Nothing hurts more than going to all that trouble of opening it up, only to find out the juicy bits are already stale (this happens).
The younger the coconut, the better the water. There’s more of it, and it tastes fresher. However, this usually means the flesh is underdeveloped, so you won’t get much bang for your buck. You want one that has the most flesh and the best water. Unfortunately, these things are impossible to tell until you’ve already brought it home. Use-by dates are the best indication of what you will want.
Using a big chef’s knife, shave down the pointy end of the rough skin until you’ve exposed the inner nut. (Watch your fingers. We’re dealing with round objects and large knives.)
2. You’ll notice some ridged lines on the surface of the nut. These are the weak bits. Using the pointy end of your second best knife, gently place it on one of those lines furthest away from the peak. With your hands clear of the blade give the top of the knife a solid tap with a hammer (or something) and maneuver the tip of the knife into the cut.
Drain the coconut water into a bowl.
3. Carefully work the knife around the exposed nut and take the top off (as you would a boiled egg).
4. Ta da!
6. Now you have some coconut flesh and some coconut water. What you chose to do with these tasty bowls is completely up to you. Be creative! This is what I normally do.
Save the water. Drink it after a work out. Freeze what’s left.
Blend it in a smoothie instead of milk. Add some banana and strawberries. Chill on the sofa.
Cut the flesh into slivers and mix through porridge or muesli.
Add the flesh to muffins or cakes, especially carrot cake.
Sarah Wilson loves coconut. Check out her ideas here.
BUT. If I’m totally honest, there is only one way to properly enjoy the fruits of your labour.
Coconut Breakfast Pudding
This is pudding.
It’s breakfast material. And snack material. And if you’ve had a face-slap of a day, it’s probably perfect dinner material too.
I don’t mean to over sell this, but if I had to chose my last meal on earth, this would be it. Hands down. It happens to be gluten free, vegan, dairy free and ‘paleo’, if any of those apply to you.
Thanks to my friend Natalia, for introducing me to this one! My life hasn’t really been the same since (in the best possible way).
So go forth! Get to know some coconuts! Life will be better this way, I promise.
1 coconut per person.
Fruit of choice
Extract the flesh and the water from your coconuts. Place them in seperate bowls.
Blend the flesh until smooth. Add a tablespoon of coconut water here and there to help things move through the blades.
Add more coconut water until you find the consistency you want. Freeze the leftovers.
You now have coconut pudding in its purest. You can stop here, pour it into a bowl and find your happy place, or you can keep going.
Add 2 teaspoons of chia seeds to the pudding. These little babies suck up a huge amount of liquid, so add a bit more coconut water to account for this.
Feel free to add cinnamon or nuts, but I don’t think it needs to be done.
Leave it to soak and set for about 10 minutes. Top with fruit and enjoy!