Friday, September 30, 2005

In the Mood for Coconut

We came back a couple of days ago from a short break in Bangkok, where eating, drinking and shopping till you drop are in order. Unfortunately, no pictures - one can never have too much luggage space thanks to the superlative retail therapy available in the City of Angels, so the camera stayed back. No matter how much geng dtaeng bpet or hor mok pla we inhale whilst there, I always come home from a visit longing for the heady flavours of Thai food. Here, a pair of coconut-rich desserts, which while not Thai, sweetly end any piquant Southeast Asian meal on the right note.

Little Lime Syrup & Coconut Loaves
My Mum had passed me some gorgeous kaffir limes and leaves from her garden, which I used in the lime soaking syrup for the cakes. The recipe is based on one from Regan Daley's lovely book, In the Sweet Kitchen. I used my beloved mini loaf plaque for these dainty wonders which manage to pack a mighty flavour - made with both desiccated coconut and coconut milk, the cakes are moreishly moist and comfortingly close-crumbed. Once they emerge from the oven a rich burnished gold, proudly risen with cracked tops, they are laced with the sticky syrup tart with lime juice and perfumed with both zest and leaf.

Coconut Panna Cotta with Passion Fruit Coulis & Coconut Tuiles
This recipe comes from Craft of Cooking by Tom Colicchio, the chef and co-owner of the celebrated Gramercy Tavern and Craft restaurants in New York. I used freshly extracted coconut milk (thankfully, an ingredient readily available from our neighbourhood wet market), which is significantly different in flavour terms from the canned variety. To accompany the quivering little creams, a puddle of passion fruit coulis and a crisp coconut tuile.


Blogger FooDcrazEE said...

great job. i can imagine the aroma.

8:10 pm, September 30, 2005  
Blogger Reid said...

Hi J,

I can just imagine the aroma and the coconutty flavor of these treats. BTW...I'm so inspired by your excellent photography skills. I think I need to practice more.

I hope you had a nice time in Bangkok. I wish I could visit as there aren't very many really good Thai food places here.

9:01 pm, September 30, 2005  
Blogger soycap said...

How cute! The mini coconut loaves look super adorable and delicious :) And how I miss Bangkok's food! I am glad you got yourself a break and am very glad you are back for more kitchen fun!

9:17 pm, September 30, 2005  
Blogger Babe_KL said...

J, it's 1.19am now and I'm so hungry looking at your lovely loaves. Wished someone could invent aromavision over the net hehehe

1:20 am, October 01, 2005  
Blogger Skrat said...

so very delish!! im such a coconut fan as is an amazingly fragrant fruit that can be used in so many ways! For a dinner party on Sunday evening, im attempting a White Chocolate Coconut Cream Bar....hope it turns out well!

1:53 am, October 01, 2005  
Blogger boo_licious said...

J, glad you have a wonderful time at Bangkok. The little cakes are adorable and the panna cotta looks yummy as always.

4:06 am, October 01, 2005  
Blogger Steffles said...

J i could almost feel the headiness of coconut smells reading your account....reminding me of of the salty waters, hot sun, white beach with coconut tanning oil and and a Malibu Coke. Heaven....

9:52 am, October 01, 2005  
Blogger Cathy said...

Jocelyn, your photos continue to amaze me. Each is an exquisite composition and then there's the incredible looking/sounding/and-no-doubt-tasting food!

How do kaffir limes differ from "regular" limes?

10:31 pm, October 01, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Bangkok, lucky you! What did you buy?? ;) Your coconut creations are gorgeous - love the colors and the elegant simplicity. I'm definitely inspired - coconut and passionfruit is second in my favorite coconut combinations list only to coconut and lime!

12:07 am, October 02, 2005  
Blogger Joycelyn said...

hi foodcrazee, thanks!

hi reid, thanks...luckily for us, there are a few decent thai eateries in's definitely one of the more tricky cuisines to attempt to master at home...

hi soycap, cute is an underrated virtue in dessert...

hi babekl, :)

hi skrat, white chocolate and coconut sounds like a terrific match...

hi boolicious, thanks!

hi steffles, :)

hi cathy, thanks...kaffir limes are used largely for their leaves (waxy in appearance, and double-leafed in structure)and zest in southeast asian food; they have an unmistakably intense balsam-y perfume. the juice of the limes is also very potent; a little goes a long way

hi melissa, thanks...i have a real weakness for pretty homeware (often impractical), and as far as southeast asia is concerned, there's no better place to go crazy then in bangkok...beyond chatuchak market, boutiques like gilles caffier (; french designer based in bangkok who supplies to even the likes of alain ducasse's restaurants), geo (; located in the ultra cool H1 complex), and playground! ( offer plenty of temptation...oh, and i stock up at good ol' habitat (the only habitat store in southeast asia is in bangkok)...

1:11 am, October 02, 2005  
Blogger Sam said...

since coming back from Fiji I am in coconut mood too. I bought a Fijian cocunt recipe book I cant wait to experiment with.
I already made (vegan) cocunut rice pudding.
only trouble is that cocnut is hardly a local seasonal ingredient in these parts.

your cakes look wonderful btw!

3:07 am, October 02, 2005  
Blogger pseudo chef said...


Great pictures, especially the one of the little cakes :).

10:38 pm, October 02, 2005  
Blogger eat stuff said...

The coconut pannacotta sounds like it would be perfect and would slide down so nicely over my incredibly sore throat !

6:07 am, October 03, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another perfect pair of gorgeous photos--those adorable little loaves and cool creamy panacotta are making me want to go pick up some coconut this morning!


9:10 pm, October 03, 2005  
Blogger Lady Lavender of the Kitchen said...

ooooo that sounds dreamy... I've been pondering tropical lately too.. (i'm thinking about tinkering with key lime and butter cokies)

1:39 am, October 04, 2005  
Blogger deborah said...

Wow, these look amazing. You have taken coconut to a new level here. Gorgeous.

11:59 am, October 04, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful and delicious at the same usual :) Sounds great! I want to use more coconut in my kitchen as: 1. I like them, and 2. I can get them so easily! So thanks for all the inspiration :-)

7:08 pm, October 04, 2005  
Blogger Michèle said...

Hi J, you've got my tastebuds singing! I absolutely adore lime leaves and now I want to run out and by the cookbook just for this recipe. They look and sound perfect, with a refreshing combination of flavours.

2:54 pm, October 06, 2005  
Blogger Joycelyn said...

hi sam, oooh, fijian coconut's that for exotic? i can see how fresh coconuts in your locale would be as hard-to-come-by as say, quinces, in our parts...

hi pc, thanks :)

hi clare, thanks...hope you're feeling better...

hi amy, thanks...i must say the mini loaf pan is a must for fans of cute cakes...

hi lady l, key lime and butter cookies sound completely awesome...

hi saffron, thanks for being so kind

hi joey, thanks! look forward to seeing your coconutty posts

hi michele, thanks...glad you are a fan of lime leaves - i just can't get enough of their lovely zesty perfume

3:37 pm, October 06, 2005  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dear J - I seriously seriously think you should consider publishing a dessert coffeetable book - with all your beautiful creations, it sometimes look even better than some of those in the original cookbooks!

6:19 pm, October 06, 2005  
Blogger Ruth Daniels said...

J, as usual everything looks absolutely awesome and I agree with eatzycath - you should publish a coffeetable book. Every shot you take is gorgeous.

10:57 am, October 07, 2005  
Blogger Joycelyn said...

hi eatzycath and ruth, thanks! your very kind words are making me blush!

5:57 pm, October 07, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having only recently worked with fresh coconut for the first time ever, you've now convinced me to go back and try more recipes! My favorite is the coconut panna cotta with coconut tuile. And as always, your pictures are inspiring.

12:30 pm, October 08, 2005  
Blogger Joycelyn said...

hi cath, thanks!the taste of fresh coconut is pretty addictive, isn't it?

6:18 am, October 11, 2005  
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