Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Cooking with coconut

All the eating out in the last post makes it sound like I’ve given up cooking. On the contrary, coming home renews the joy of cooking. After eating out so much on holiday and being out of our routines, we all seem to crave a basic, home-cooked meal. Sometimes I just want a bowl of steamed broccoli. All it needs is a smattering of salt. 

I had the next best thing when we returned from New York - tofu and veges. After a few hours unpacking and sleeping, we hadn't made it to the supermarket before our bellies were rumbling. Perfect excuse to get a fix of Vietnamese food.  A Melbourne homecoming at Sapa Hills, Footscray!

But back to cooking. A visit to A. Bongiovanni and Son in Seddon provided the perfect inspiration. While we were away, Lauren at the Footscray Food Blog posted about this wonderful new gourmet grocer (see post here) and shared the good news that they are stocking Coyo, one of her favourite yoghurts. Coyo is a natural, coconut milk yoghurt (dairy and gluten free) with the apt tagline “Heaven in a mouthful”.  I bought it thinking of desserts, but after tasting it I was inspired to cook lots of comforting winter meals. One ingredient inspired my cooking for a week. What a find - I dolloped it on everything!

First came the roast pumpkin and coconut soup, served with a dollop of Coyo in place of cream.  I found a great recipe in the Marie Claire Seasonal Kitchen book that wasn't too far from a traditional pumpkin soup but with an extra zing from the addition of coconut milk and a small red chilli (sorry, I can’t find a link online but there are lots of similar ones around if you don't have the book). 

Pic via

Next was pan-fried fish with Thai sauce from (recipe here). The fish marinated in sweet chilli, soy, fish sauce and lime juice was simple and tasty served on jasmine rice with broccoli. For the piece de resistance, I mixed the Coyo into my cooked jasmine rice. D-licious! 

Pic via Donna Hay

Finally, I made a Donna Hay thai chicken and bean curry for friends (recipe here). The cherry tomatoes and basil add a lovely freshness to this cozy classic. I'll leave you to guess what I dolloped on top!

I love how one great ingredient can inspire a whole host of dishes. Next time I buy Coyo, I think I'll see how it works in sweet dishes. Just need some inspiration. Raspberries? Toasted coconut? White chocolate? Send your suggestions my way! 

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