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Coconut Banana Protein Pancakes

Coconut Banana Protein Pancakes

My favourite meal of the day has always been breakfast. The funny thing is, I rarely eat it. Working full time in London means waking up at ridiculous o’clock each morning, and rushing out the door so I don’t miss my train. By the time I finally get around to eating something it’s usually about 10am, and involves lukewarm soggy toast while I stare blankly at my computer screen. The fact that I rarely get to sit down and enjoy a nice breakfast makes it all the more special when I actually do get to.

My ideal breakfast always involves something sweet.  It’s what I grew up with back in Canada, and one of the things I miss the most in the UK.  Traditionally UK breakfasts aren’t sweet like that ones I grew up with, but finding pancakes, waffles or french toast on brunch menus is increasingly common. When I was a kid my favourite breakfast was homemade waffles with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. It’s still my favourite today, although it’s something I rarely have because let’s face it – they’re really not that good for you.

 

Coconut Banana Protein Pancakes

Lately I’ve been trying to find healthier breakfast options that still satisfy my sweet tooth.  I was thrilled to come across a recipe for healthy coconut banana protein pancakes from Becs at Lay The Table. They’re simple, naturally sweet, and surprisingly filling. They’re also dairy, gluten, wheat and sugar free!

I think my favourite thing about these pancakes was the Hey Boo Coconut Jam topping that Becs recommended to be put on top of the pancakes. Coconut jam!  Seriously, where has this been all my life? The coconut jam isn’t sugar free, but I figured a little sugar would be ok considering there’s none in the actual pancakes themselves.

Coconut Banana Protein Pancakes

Coconut Banana Protein Pancakes

I scaled back the recipe and made a few changes, including the addition of some desiccated coconut because I absolutely love coconut. The more the better!

I’ve made these pancakes a few times now for my son and I, and we love them – especially with the coconut jam and some fresh berries on the side.

Coconut Banana Protein Pancakes

Yield: Makes 4 pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Flour
  • 1 Tbsp Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 Tbsp Almond Milk (optional)
  • 1 tsp Gluten Free Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Natvia Sweetener (or other sugar free alternative such as Splenda)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a large measuring cup, combine all of the ingredients together using an electric hand blender until well combined. The batter will be thicker than normal pancake batter, but still spreadable. If you think it's too thick you can add a tablespoon of almond milk to thin it down a little.
  2. Pre-heat a non-stick pan on low - medium heat, and allow the batter to rest until the pan is hot.
  3. Coat the pan with non-stick cooking spray*, and pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot pan. Because the batter is thicker than normal pancake batter, use a small spatula or spoon to help spread it around in an even circle. Cover with a small pot lid to help seal in the heat and cook the pancake evenly.
  4. Once the pancake begins to turn an even golden brown colour flip it over to cook the other side. Replace the lid, and cover until golden brown on the bottom and cooked throughout.
  5. Repeat the above steps until all of the batter is used.
  6. Serve the pancakes with fresh fruit, coconut jam, lemon curd, or maple syrup.

Notes

* Coconut oil or butter can also be used, but I found my pancakes turned out best with the non-stick cooking spray

http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/04/coconut-banana-protein-pancakes/

Coconut Banana Protein Pancakes

Coconut Ice


My how time flies!  It seems like just yesterday that I was eight months pregnant and in the kitchen whipping up numerous batches of blue treats for my baby shower.  I know I’ve told you several times either here, on twitter or on facebook that I’d share the recipes with you, but it’s now eight months later and I realise that I’ve not shared any of them with you!

Well let me put a stop to that right now!  

The first baby blue treat I made for my baby shower was Coconut Ice which is a retro UK sweet that’s traditionally pink, not blue.  I’d never even tried it before, but I loved the way it looked when I first saw it on Pinterest.  

The other thing I loved about this Coconut Ice was just how easy it was to make – it only has 4 ingredients!  Oh so simple!

Coconut Ice is a sweet and chewy coconut square that lasts a week or so when stored in the fridge.  I’ve been told by several friends that this recipe tastes just like the real stuff they remember from their childhood.



Coconut Ice 

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups (560g) Icing Sugar  
2 1/2 cups (200g) Shredded (Desiccated) Coconut  
395g Can Sweetened Condensed Milk  
1 tsp Vanilla Extract  
Food colouring (traditionally pink, but you can use any colour you feel like)  

Instructions:

1. Line the base and sides of a deep (4cm+) 19cm square dish with plastic cling wrap  
2. Sift the icing sugar into large bowl. Stir in the coconut, condensed milk and vanilla extract.
3. Press half the mixture firmly into the base of the pan.  Work the food colouring into the remaining mixture, kneading well in order to distribute the colour.  Press the coloured layer evenly over the white layer.  
4. Refrigerate for 3 hours or until firm.  Remove the coconut ice from tray, peel away the cling wrap, and cut into squares.  The coconut ice will keep for a week if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.



And if your wondering about the cute little stuffed dog in the pictures, it was one of several that my husbands cousin made to help decorate the baby shower.  I think they were Kath Kidston designs that she got from a craft magazine.  Pretty cute huh?

Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheese Bars

So yesterday I wrote about my sightseeing trip to Washington DC where I visited Julia Child’s kitchen and tasted some of DC’s “best” cupcakes.  But you want to know what else I was really excited to see?  I’m warning you now, this is gonna sound really lame!……. Target!  Yes, that’s right – Target the discount store!  The highlight of any trip I make to the US is going to Target.  Told you it was lame!  I try and visit a Target at least once or twice every time I go the the States.  Why?  It’s simple – because of the selection & variety!  Growing up in North America I got used to the selection we had over there, but when I moved to the UK I suddenly realized how spoiled I was back home.  If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I’ve mentioned this once or twice before.

In the US the baking aisles seem to go on for miles, while the baking aisle here in the UK is only about a meter or two (3 – 6 feet) wide.  While the US has literally over 20 different flavours of cake mix – not to mention dozens of different brands and variations of each flavour, the UK has about 3 different main stream brands of cake mix in pretty basic flavours – chocolate, vanilla & spice.  Even though we’ve got Betty Crocker here, they only make chocolate, chocolate vanilla swirl & spice cake mixes.  Not even a plain vanilla!  To be honest, as much as I hate the lack of selection here, I think it’s probably one of the main reasons I try so many different recipes.  I’m always trying to re-create something I’ve had back home, or something that I can’t make here because one of the typical ingredients isn’t available.  I’m not sure that would be the case if I still lived back in Canada.

Just because I’m a geek, I took few pictures of one side of the baking aisle in an American Target store with my iPhone.

See – told you it was long!

Oh the variety! 


When I go to Target I usually stock up on a few cake mixes, a selection of different chocolate chips, and seasonal candy – all of which of pretty are hard to find here (from a variety point of view).

Chocolate Chips

Among the things I picked up this trip were Easter coloured peanut butter M&M’s, almond M&M’s, regular Easter coloured M&M’s, pretzel M&M’s & Coconut M&M’s (which are absolutely amazing btw!) I also picked up one of my favorite candy’s – the Coconut Cream Hershey Kiss!  Hershey Kisses are pretty frowned upon here in the UK – most people here would describe them of tasting like stinky feet.  I’m impartial to the flavour of the original ones, but the coconut cream ones – oh boy!  They are delicious!  

So when I got home from holiday and started going through my emails, one immediately jumped out at me.  A recipe from Martha Stewart for her Chocolate Coconut Cream Cheese Bars.  I mean – seriously!  Is there any better combination? I had to make them!  They’re just like the coconut cream hershey kiss, only in bar form!


The base of these bars is very similar to the base of a Nanaimo bar, while the top has a nice cheesecakey taste.  Overall I’d say this is a pretty solid recipe, but I’ve added a few comments of my own in grey. *Just a note – these bars do take a while to make, and require refrigeration overnight, but they’re well worth it!

Chocolate Coconut Cheesecake Bars
Adapted from Martha Stewart



Ingredients:

2 Cups (205g) Graham Crackers, finely ground (from 15 rectangles)
3 Cups (10oz/ 410g) shredded / desiccated Coconut
5oz (140g) Semisweet Chocolate, finely chopped
2oz (57g) Milk Chocolate, finely chopped
1 Cup + 3 Tbsp (260g) Granulated Sugar
1/2 Cup (114g) Butter, plus more for pan
3 Eggs, plus 5 Egg Yolks
12oz (340g) Cream Cheese, room temperature
Coconut Cream Hershey Kisses (optional)

Instructions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350ºF (189ºC). Butter a 9-inch square baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides, and grease the parchment.

2.  Stir together the graham cracker crumbs and 2 cups of coconut.

3.  Place the chocolate and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a heatproof bowl, and set over a pan of simmering water. Heat, and stir until melted.  Add the butter, and stir until melted and smooth. Remove the mixture from the heat, and let it cool slightly. Whisk in 1 egg.

4.  Stir the chocolate mixture into the coconut mixture.  Press it evenly into your prepared pan. Bake until set – approx 10 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack, and let cool in pan. *I don’t really think it’s necessary to pre-bake the base considering it will be baked again.  I baked mine for the recommended 10 mins, but I thought the base was a tad overcooked once they were baked again.  If you’re going to bake it, I’d recommend only doing so for 5 minutes.

5.  Using a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and the remaining cup of sugar on high speed until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, and add egg yolks and remaining 2 eggs, 1 at a time, until well combined. Scrape the sides of bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until completely smooth, about 3 minutes.

6.  Pour the mixture over the cooled crust, and sprinkle the remaining cup of coconut evenly over the top.

7.  Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until top layer is just set and coconut is golden brown. Let the bars cool in the pan on a wire rack for about an hour, and then evenly place unwrapped Coconut Kisses across the top. (Try 1 Kiss first and wait about 5 minutes to make sure it’s not melting too much.  If it is, then wait another 10 – 20 minutes until the cheesecake cools a bit more before trying again). Refrigerate, overnight.


8.  Run a sharp knife around the edges of the pan, and use the parchment to lift out cheesecake. Cut the cheesecake into squares, wiping knife clean between cuts. Serve immediately, or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.


Coconut and chocolate is such a wonderful combination, and I was so excited to see the recipe for these bars come through to my in-box.  Although they are a bit time consuming (if you pre-cook the base & let it cool), they’re definitely worth the time.  I brought these into the office and they received rave reviews.  Absolutely delicious!

Les Merveilleux aka “Cloudy Cakes”

Les Merveilleux Recipe

First it was cupcakes, then whoopie pies, followed by macarons and eclairs. Bite sized cake & pastry trends have been continuously changing over the past few years since I’ve been blogging.  And it looks like the next big thing in single serving sweet treats are artisan donuts. I see them popping up everywhere in specialty bakeries across London, and on the covers of books that line the shelves of book shops. But there’s a new(ish) dessert alternative on the market.

Originating in Belgium and France, the merveilleux is a simple, yet ultra delectable little bite of heaven. Layers of mini meringues sandwhiched with fluffy whipped cream and covered with even more whipped cream, and then coated in either chocolate shavings, crystallised meringue bits, caramelised hazelnuts, coconut and more.

I’d only recently discovered the mervielleux (from a magazine I think), and thought I’d have to wait until our annual trip to Paris to taste one, but a quick google search led me to Aux Merveilleux which at the time had one location (now two) in London.

Les Merveilleux Recipe

Aux Merveilleux sells 6 flavours of merveilleux. Because they’re made with fresh whipped cream the staff at Aux Merveilleux make them in front of you while you wait. I watched their technique carefully so I knew what I had to do to re-create them myself.

I ordered three merveilleux to take home with me, and was pleasantly surprised at how well they survived the rush hour train journey home. The cream on a merveilleux is closer in consistency to whipped double cream, which is especially important to note if your in the US where double cream isn’t available. Double cream has a higher fat content than regular whipping cream which results in it being much more stable once whipped. If you’re in the US or Canada you’ll want to add a stabilising product like Dr. Oetker ‘Whip It’ to ensure your cream won’t fall flat and melt away.

Delicate cream aside, the merveilleux really are easy to make. But because there’s no outer shell or anything firm to hold onto, you’ll need to ensure you handle them very gently so they don’t get squished.

Les Merveilleux Recipe

These little cakes are so delicate, light and fluffy they’re like biting into a cloud. My son has even nick named them ‘Cloudy Cakes’ which is a heck of a lot easier to say than Les Merveilleux!

Once again, I used the Meringue Girls recipe to make my mini meringues. It’s my ‘go to’ recipe, and fail proof.

IMG_0490_2

Les Merveilleux Recipe

Les Merveilleux Recipe

Les Merveilleux aka “Cloudy Cakes”

Yield: 6-8

Ingredients

  • 150g egg whites (roughly 3 egg whites)
  • 300g castor sugar (must be double the weight of egg whites)
  • 600ml whipped double cream
  • Dr. Oetker 'Whip It' (optional, but recommended if using whipping cream)
  • 3-4 Tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Chocolate sprinkles, crushed nuts, etc to decorate.

Instructions

    For the Meringues:
  1. Line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper, pour in the sugar and bake for about 5 minutes at 200°C (400°F) until the edges just begin to melt.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the egg whites into the bowl of your stand mixer (make sure it’s clean & grease free). Using the whisk attachment, whisk on low speed allowing bubbles to form, increase to high and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Egg whites should be stiff enough that you can turn the bowl upside down without the egg whites falling out.
  3. Remove the sugar from the oven and begin whisking again at high speed. Add the sugar to the egg whites one big spoonful at a time. Once all the sugar is added, continue to whisk for 5 – 7 minutes, or until all the sugar is dissolved. You should be able to rub the mixture between your fingers and not feel any grit from the sugar, and it forms a smooth shiny peak on the tip of your finger.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 100°C (200°F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and trace four 6 inch circles on the paper (two on each paper). Place a dab of meringue on the bottom corners the parchment, and press down so the paper sticks to the pan.
  5. Spoon the meringue mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a wide round nozzle. Pipe the meringue mixture evenly to form small meringue discs, no larger than 3 inches wide.
  6. 6. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the meringue discs can easily be lifted off the parchment paper with their bases in tact. Let cool completely. The meringues discs can easily be stored in an airtight container will keep for up to two weeks.
  7. To Decorate:
  8. In a medium bowl, combine the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla, and whip until soft peaks form. If using 'Whip It', follow the directions on the package.
  9. Spoon a large dollop of cream onto the top of a meringue disc, and place another on top to form a sandwich.
  10. Using an offset spatula, cover the sides of top of the meringue & cream sandwich with a layer of the whipped cream (you don't need to cover the bottom).
  11. Cover the whipped cream covered meringues in sprinkles by sprinkling or spooning them on the cream.
  12. Serve immediately.
http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/07/les-merveilleux-recipe/

Any remaining merveilleux can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for a day or two, but the crispness of the meringues inside will begin to diminish.

Les Merveilleux Recipe

If you like meringue based desserts as much as I do, here are a few more to try:

My own Dulce de Leche & Chocolate Mini Egg Pavlova  |  Chestnut Cream Meringue Cake by Tin & Thyme  |  Bakewell Mess by Emily’s Recipes & Reviews  |  Rhubarb & Ginger Pavlova by Foodie Quine  |  Icy Lemon Meringue Surprise by the Crafty Larder  | Toffee Pavlova with Cappuccino Cream Cloud by Fuss Free Flavours  |  Summer Fruits Pavlova by Kerry Cooks  | Hazelnut Meringue 3 Berry Ice-Cream Sandwich by Family Friends Food  |  Chocolate Strawberry Pavlova by Emily’s Kitchen Diary

Summertime Strawberry Pie

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Nothing signals the start of summer like British strawberry season.  Perfectly ripe and juicy berries line the store shelves, and seasonal strawberry desserts replace the heavier cakes and crumbles that have featured on dessert menus throughout the winter months.

Strawberries are my absolute favourite summer berry, with raspberries following a close second. When I was pregnant I would eat entire meals consisting only of strawberries. I couldn’t get enough of them, and now my kid can’t either. Leave him alone with a punnet of strawberries and they’ll be gone in a matter of minutes.

Fresh strawberries

We’ve been growing strawberries in our garden this year, and they’re fantastically delicious.  Unfortunately they only ripen 3 at a time which is hardly enough to put on a bowl of corn flakes, let alone make up the bulk of a shareable dessert. Luckily I was able to supplement my own crop by making a trip out to Garsons Farm – a local produce farm where we could pick our own strawberries. Even though the shops are filled with strawberries at the moment, picking your own is so much better. Not only can you choose the ripest, reddest, juiciest strawberries, but it’ll occupy a 3 year old for over an hour! What more could I ask for?

Strawberry Pie

We left the farm with a huge basket filled to the brim of strawberries that were just screaming to be made into a pie.  Strawberry pie used to be my favourite when I was a kid. Chilled fresh strawberries in a sweet jelly topped with sweetened whipped cream. It’s so refreshing on a summery day.

I hadn’t had a strawberry pie in years, so I couldn’t wait to get home and make one with my pickings. This pie is super duper easy to make. In fact, the hardest part about it is waiting for the pie to set in the fridge overnight.

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie Recipe

This recipe is my mom’s from Canada, so uses powdered Strawberry Jello brand jelly for the base.  We don’t have powdered Jello in the UK, but we do have Hartley’s Jelly cubes which I find don’t gel as firmly as the Jello brand.  So if you’re in the UK, I’d  recommend increasing the jelly cubes to 1.5 packages.

Strawberry Pie

Strawberry Pie

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup (225g) Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cornstarch
  • 1 Quart Strawberries
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Pkg Strawberry Jello,or 1 1/2 Pkg Hartley's Strawberry Jelly
  • 1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1 Baked 9” pie crust, homemade or store-bought

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan.
  2. Mash 1 cup of the berries; add enough water to make 2 cups and stir into the cornstarch and sugar mixture.
  3. Cook and stir until boiling. Boil 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and add butter, Jello powder (or cubes) and lemon juice. Stir until the Jello powder dissolves. Chill until partially set.
  5. Spoon 1/3 of the jello mixture into pie shell. Top with the remaining berries, and spoon the remaining jello mixture over the berries.
  6. Chill until set. Serve with fresh sweetened whipped cream.
http://www.madewithpink.com/2015/06/strawberry-pie-recipe/

Strawberry Pie

If you find yourself with an abundance of strawberries this summer, here are a few more recipes ideas to help you use them up.

Strawberry Pie recipes

Strawberry & Coconut Milkshake
Pimm’s Salad
Chocolate Pomegranate Cake with Lemon Curd and Strawberries
Strawberry mascarpone tarts
Strawberry Shortcake Ice Cream Sandwich
Strawberry Granola Frozen Yoghurt Bites
Strawberry Tiramisu

I’m submitting my strawberry pie to a couple of foodie blogger linkups this month as well.

Simple and in season

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