Natural Sweetener: Coconut Sugar Syrup Recipe

Hi Folks!

Just thought I’d share this recipe with you, it’s super simple with natural ingredients, and so a natural way to sweeten things.  The deep golden glow and caramel-ly luxuriance from the coconut sugar is really rather provoking!  I used it a fair bit over the holidays, and like to keep a jar on hand for sweet toothed misadventures!

It’s handy when making ice cream or puddings or things where a syrupy consistency works better than granules when trying to incorporate ingredients smoothly.  And depending on my mood I might add a splurge of cinnamon or a nip of nutmeg … it’s a free world in Lilapud’s Kitchen!

Coconut Sugar is also called Coconut Palm Sugar.  It is often confused with Palm Sugar, which is similar but made from a different type of palm tree.

It is a natural sugar made from sap, which is the sugary circulating fluid of the coconut plant.

Coconut sugar is made in a natural 2-step process:

  1. A cut is made on the flower of the coconut palm and the liquid sap is collected into containers.
  2. The sap is placed under heat until most of the water has evaporated.
Coconut Sugar

Coconut Sugar

However, bear in mind IT IS STILL SUGAR!

While it is almost as high in fructose as cane sugar, it is said to have a low glycemic index (about 35), and does contain some small amounts of minerals like Iron, Zinc, Calcium and Potassium, but you would probably need to consume A LOT of coconut sugar to reap any great benefit in this regard.

Still, I like to use it as if I’m having something sweet, then I’m having something sweet!  I don’t like to get too intense if I can help it, and a little bit of everything is still my motto!

I like that it is a natural product that goes through minimal processing, compared to some of it’s peers on the market.

I also use RICE MALT SYRUP in this recipe, to add stickiness and extra sweetness, and this conversely, is 100% fructose free!

Rice malt syrup is made from 100% organic brown rice.

It is made through culturing rice with enzymes to breakdown the starches and then cooking it until it becomes syrup. The final product contains soluble complex carbohydrates, maltose and a small amount of glucose., and as mentioned already, 100% fructose free.

This SIMPLE Recipe:

Evernote Camera Roll 20131026 133133

Making Coconut Syrup – Minimal Ingredients, Super Speedy!

 

Ingredients:

250g organic coconut sugar

2 cups water

1/4 cup rice malt syrup

Optional addition of 6 – 10 drops of liquid stevia for a sweety sweet tooth!

A pinch of celtic sea salt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder – I LOVE this one – but they seem to have put the price up, if you’re fast, you might get it in your local health store for less?!

Making Coconut Syrup, Lilapud's Kitchen!

Making Coconut Syrup, Lilapud’s Kitchen!

Method:

Stir the sugar and water together gently over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the rice malt syrup continually stirring until all is well incorporated, allowing to bubble a little.

Allow to cool slightly and add vanilla.

Store in a sealed jar in the fridge ready for use – mine keeps for about 3-4 weeks!

Lilapud's Kitchen Coconut SyrupKeeps In The Fridge For About 3 Weeks!

Lilapud’s Coconut Syrup Keeps In The Fridge For About 3 Weeks!

Lilapud Tips & Tricks:

 I’ve added clove and pure orange oil for a (Christmassy?) spiced effect.

ॐ  Experiment with your favourite spices and essences for something that pleases you!

 

Shopping Local

DO you know where YOUR local farmer’s market or any kind of market is?

I’m going to make more of an effort to buy from my local small businesses and market’s this year, every little helps!

Here’s my lil Flipagram of my favourite farmer’s market, from a recent trip to the beautiful and bountiful Byron Bay!

Merry Christmas!

Yes!  Merry Christmas! Because this is a Christmas holiday!

If you are not a Christian, are you offended by someone saying Merry Christmas to you?

Seriously??  Does this actually happen?!

I’m very frustrated with the way “Happy Holidays’ has crept in as the new wish to everyone.  Sure!  Happy Holidays to everyone, but Merry Christmas too, whether you’re Christian or not, it still is Christmas time, it still means 2 public holidays in this country and my homeland too.

So just because some people may not celebrate Christmas, does that mean that the expression Merry Christmas should be banned for fear of offending some?

If that’s the case, then we probably shouldn’t wish people happy birthday either, because not EVERYBODY will be celebrating their birthday that day …

Why should the well-meaning wish be taken away from those who DO celebrate Christmas in some way?

Jeeez Louise.

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Peace and goodwill to you all, whatever way you celebrate Christmas time!

I was very, VERY disappointed to find out this morning, that the Irish Chaplain at St. Patrick’s Church in Bondi, Fr. Tom Devereaux, has finished up his tenure, and so he will not be saying mass tomorrow.

For the first time in my 12 or 13 years here, I will be able to make it to the famous “Irish mass”, where backpackers and expats show up and pray and sing together.  Having enjoyed many’s a mass of Fr. Tom’s, I was excited to experience the ‘big one’ tomorrow, only to discover not only will he not be there, but neither has he been replaced with another Irish chaplain, so it will be an Australian priest, God love him!  I’m devastated!!!  I’d even invited some of our Aussie friends to come along and enjoy the ‘Irishness’ of it all.  All I can hope for now, is that the mass will still take a similar shape and there will still be plenty of Irish input with the singing and guitar playing and spirit that I love so much!

Here is a youtube clip from a couple of years ago where they sang The Fields of Athenry in the middle of mass!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!

REMEMBER … IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE!  MAKE THE MOST OF IT!

SOME OF MY FAV CHRISTMAS TUNES:

OMG look how YOUNG everyone looks in this! THE HAIR!!!

I wanna keep going but I gotta go make my mince pies!!  I’ll share some of my recipes after all the fuss … you’ll have them for next year!!

Have a safe, peaceful and JOYFUL Christmas y’all, thanks for your support and readership throughout my first year of blogging!!

Love Lila, xo

 

Is Paper Dead?

I’m trying to put an end to paper statements from the various institutions that are helping to keep my home office …. well, paperful!

I’ve made the switch already, with some of my bank statements, but there are still a few accounts I haven’t gone online with – just because I tend not to check through them when they come in online … but I’ll get there.

Perhaps I will make more space to do it, when I’m not fussing over filing away papers and trying to keep it looking smooth and under control!

Next on my list is to merge my somehow many Superannuation accounts (?) to YBR’s Retire Right.  That’ll save me quite a few pages per quarter!

And I’ve decided not to resubscribe to Yoga Journal, not the magazine version anyway … I’ve noticed that they get stacked up without even coming out of their plastic envelope for months before I get some space in my week to sit and read them!  It’s ridiculous. There is just so much availability to information now, it’s keeping us all very occupied!  And being online is addictive.  I’m making small efforts in reducing my online time. Hello! Have you noticed?!)  Small but concerted efforts.  Noticing how hard it is sometimes, confirms to me that it’s probably something I’ll need to watch!

Are you an addict?!  You can do a quick quiz test HERE!

 Never Let Paper Die!

I can’t remember who sent it to me now but thanks … it made me laugh out loud …  hope you like it.

Coconut & Vanilla Tapioca Pudding

I’m a little bit obsessed with tapioca pudding.

I can’t understand why it’s not more popular and current, especially as it’s gluten free and such a great flavour absorber.  It’s a bit of a mystery – I’ve found lots of conflicting information about it – whether or not to soak it, stir it etc … so for now, while I can, I’m just going to keep enjoying it ’til someone bursts my bubble (pun intended!)!  This here is my basic recipe, but you can use whatever flavours, milks, spices and fruit you like once the tapioca’s made.  That’s what’s so good about it!  I’m particularly fond of orange and clove, which can be just added to this recipe – some cloves and essential oil of orange, also yummy is raw cacao powder and coconut cream … scrumptious!

Tapioca comes from the roots of the cassava plant, also called the manioc, tapioca plant, and boba, and is originally native to the Amazon.  It contains pretty much no nutritional value whatsoever, which I see as a good thing – as you then have the choice to turn it into something nutritious or something not so nutritious!!  Because of its beautiful soft texture, it is particularly popular for the elderly, the infirm and is also great as a baby food treat.  Here I am somewhere in the middle, LOVING it!

Almost all methods for cooking tapioca require soaking it in water before heating.  Some people say that you can over-soak it, others say you don’t need to soak it at all, but do take care not to soak tapioca until the centre becomes soft, as it will disintegrate during the cooking process.  This may also occur if the tapioca is cooked for a very long time at high heat.  Similarly some say that over-stirring it can make it too gelatinous whilst others say you must continually stir it so it doesn’t stick together or burn to the base of your saucepan.  Failure to soak tapioca or cooking it for a very short time may produce tapioca pearls with a hard and crunchy centre, or puddings and pie fillings that fail to gel properly.  I would just follow the instructions on the packet you are using.  

I use this one and am very happy with the product as well as the brand:

I use Bob's Red Mill brand

Bob’s Red Mill brand – no nasties added.

Nutritional Value:

Here’s what Wikipedia says about tapioca’s nutritional value: ‘Tapioca predominantly consists of carbohydrates, with each cup containing 135 grams for a total of 544 calories, and is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. Folic acid (vitamin B9) is present in the amount of 6.1 mcg, along with iron 2.4 mg and calcium 30.4 mg. One cup of tapioca also includes 1.5 mg of omega-3 acids, 3 mg of omega-6 fatty acids and 1 gram of dietary fiber. Tapioca remains one of the healthiest foods in the world although the production pattern varies from region to region.’  Also see here more of the same.

And in case you’re wondering, in 100g of carbs, only 5% is sugars …. yay!

So to the recipe.  I used coconut sugar, stevia and rice malt syrup as sweeteners to make the sugar syrup, feel free to rearrange the measurings of the sweeteners and spices, cinnamon is nice too, and I’ve also made it with whole cloves in the simmering syrup and orange oil.

Be careful to keep it at a bare simmer and not to burn it!  I’ve made a larger quantity than what I need for this dessert here, I just keep the leftovers in the fridge for use on other things. It keeps for weeks!

Coconut Sugar Syrup

My Coconut Sugar Syrup jarred and ready for future use …

Coconut & Vanilla Tapioca Pudding:

Ingredients:

2 Cups of Tapioca pearls, soaked in 8 cups of water for about an hour.

8 cups of water extra

2/3 teaspoon ground sea salt

1 cup of full fat coconut cream (no nasties added)

Handful of natural coconut flakes

Coconut Sugar Syrup:

250g coconut sugar

2 cups of water

Pinch of nutmeg

1 teaspoon vanilla powder / 1 vanilla bean scraped into the warming syrup

1/2 cup of rice malt syrup

10 drops of liquid stevia

Coconut Sugar Syrup

Making the Coconut Sugar Syrup, stir until sugar is dissolved.

Method:

While the tapioca is soaking you could make your sugar syrup.  Just add all the ingredients listed under ‘Coconut Sugar Syrup to a pan over a gentle heat, and warm slowly, bringing to barely a simmer until all the sugar is dissolved and the ingredients are well incorporated.  Remove from heat and set aside. Perhaps simultaneously toast your coconut flakes on a dry pan – watch they don’t burn!!

After the tapioca has soaked for an hour or so, bring the other 8 cups of water to the boil in a LARGE saucepan, and once boiling add the tapioca and soaking water.

Stir carefully making sure that the pearls don’t stick together, nor to the bottom of the pan. It starts to get really gelatinous after a while but keep an eye on it, you don’t have to stir continuously the whole time, but frequently is good so it stays in decent shape!  It’ll need to simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the pearls are almost translucent with just a tiny white dot left in their centre.

Lay a sieve/small-holed strainer over your sink and, in batches, pour the tapioca into the strainer, allowing the cold water tap to flow over it, rinsing off the gelatinous starch.  You want to remove most of the gooey stuff and end up with just the pearls – mine look like this:

Plain cooked tapioca pearls

Cooked Tapioca Pearls

At this point I add my coconut cream, and about 1 CUP of the prepared sugar syrup, ground sea salt , and check for taste.  You might like to add more stevia, or vanilla or even sea salt.

Stirring Syrup Into Tapioca

Stir in as much syrup as you like – I don’t like mine too liquidy

At this time of year, I like to serve mine chilled with pineapple and watermelon, chopped into small pieces, and some dry pan-fried coconut flakes strewn over the top.

Toasting Coconut flakes

Toast your coconut flakes on a dry pan – Watch they don’t burn!

Perhaps experiment with different flavours as suggested in the opening.

Variations:

– It can also be served warm if you’re having a colder Christmas!

– Add a tablespoonful or two of raw cacao powder added is delicious!  Making it a superfood dessert!

– Add some bruised whole cloves when warming the syrup and some essential oil of orange, maybe even a star anise, and perhaps a small knob of ginger

– Add an egg yolk straight away when the tapioca is strained and still a little warm, and stir

– Make it festive and add a splash of your favourite liqueur – the cacao version might be nice with      say Baileys?

– Add a tablespoon or more of coconut butter to make it really coconutty – this step is also recommended when adding cacao – it becomes a much richer tasting dessert.

Tapioca Pudding Tropical

Coconut & Vanilla Tapioca Pud with Watermelon & Pineapple Pieces

Please let me know if you try it and what you think!

Merry Hot Sydney Christmas to y’all!

Love Lila, xox

 

 

 

Empathy and Sympathy

A brief soundbite from Brene Brown’s TedEx longer talk: The Power of Vulnerablilty, on the difference between empathy and sympathy, teamed with animation by Katy Davis, produced by the Royal Society for the Encouragment of Arts = this lovely little short film.

Enjoy!

Love Lila, xo  

Follow Your Heart

I JUST TOTALLY LOVE THIS SONG!!!!  

IT’S CALLED ‘AGAINST THE GRAIN’ AND I JUST WANTED TO SHARE IT WITH Y’ALL!

LILA BLOWS A KISS

Li Lime Pie Recipe

The holiday season is upon us, and I’m on desserts for Christmas day!  

Not everyone in the gang likes to eat dessert without sugar and wheat, so I’ll be making some good old fashioned gluten-y sugary stuff, and I’ll share those recipes with you too.  But just for balance, here’s a really tasty, zingy, healthful lime pie recipe.  It really bursts of citrus and is quite something!  I’ve made it in both a square springform pan and a round one.  Try it any ol’ way!  Also, feel free to experiment with whatever nuts you have in your pantry … most of all … enjoy the experience and take lots of photos & notes!!

Key Li Lime Pie Recipe

Li Lime Pie

Li Lime Pie

Ingredients:

Base:

2.5 cups of macadamia nuts

2.5 cups of almonds

Packed 1/2 cup of well chopped dates/ date paste (just blend dates with a little vanilla & a drop of water so it blends easily, but don’t make it watery!).

1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean powder /extract/ scrapings of half a vanilla bean

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

Pie Filling:

1.5 cups of lime juice (I used 9 garden limes)

Zest of 3 of those limes

2 medium – large sized avocados (approx 425 g) Use firm but not hard, ripe but not soft fellows.

3/4 cup coconut milk (no nasties added?!)

1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder / 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract/ scrapings of a vanilla bean

4 tablespoons of NON GMO lecithin granules

1 teaspoon of Vital Greens powder (or something similar)

1 cup rice malt syrup

12 drops liquid stevia (or to taste)

1/4 teaspoon celtic sea salt

1 1/3 cups of coconut oil melted. (I used expeller pressed coconut oil for this recipe as it has less coconutty flavour)

Method:

Grease a 9inch springform pan with coconut oil, unscented if you have it but any oil/fat not too pungent will work.

TO MAKE THE PIE CRUST:

In the bowl of your blender, process the nuts, vanilla and salt until small and crumbly. TAKE CARE NOT TO OVER-PROCESS OR THE MACADAMIAS WILL BECOME TOO OILY. If this happens don’t freak out!  It will still be edible – it’s happened to me before and mine was!!  It just doesn’t look quite as nice nor does it hold it’s shape as well, but definitely tastes good! You could possibly refrain from greasing your pie pan if this happens – twil be oily enough.

Continue processing as you add small amounts of the dates, until you see the crust starting to stick together.  You want it to have the consistency of a mixture that can hold together with gentle pressure but can be broken apart with a clean break.

Then press this into the oiled pie/cake springform pan.

Li Lime Pie Base

Li Lime Pie Crust

 

TO MAKE THE PIE FILLING:

Blend all the ingredients listed under ‘Pie Filling’, EXCEPT THE COCONUT OIL AND LECITHIN, until smooth.

Then once smooth and creamy, add the lecithin and coconut oil and blend again until smooth and well incorporated.

Li Lime Pie  Blending Li Lime Pie Ingredients

Blending Li Lime Pie Ingredients

I would taste here, to see if you need to adjust anything to your liking.

Then pour the filling into the pie crust and place in the freezer for about an hour to set.

Once set, you can decorate how you like to with the freeze-dried berries, or fresh berries if you have them and serve!

This will store in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3 days.

We just keep ours in the freezer and slice a piece before dinner if we’re feeling like a sweet treat.

Hope You Enjoy!

Love Lila! xo

Aldous Huxley’s The Crows of Pearblossom

Here’s a funky little book you won’t find on every kid’s bookshelf!  You might be surprised to know this author even penned a children’s book – I was …

From the author of the classic “A Brave New World’ – Aldous Huxley, comes this not-for-the-faint-of-heart tale written in 1944 as a Christmas gift for his young niece, Olivia, who often came to stay with him and his wife at their home in the Mojave Desert. It was his first and only children’s story …

sophieblackall_crows3

After being out of print for yearsThe Crows of Pearblossom has recently been re-issued with new illustrations by Australian artist Sophie Blackall. And while it may not be for the faint hearted, the story does have a happy ending.

Click HERE for BrainPicker’s SoundCloud interview with the illustrator, where she talks about some of her difficulties with the narrative, and hear how her illustrative interpretations help heal for her, some of the harshness the author presents.

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HERE’S A LITTLE PIECE FROM goodreads ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR:

Sophie Blackall grew up in Australia where she learned to draw on the beach with sticks, which has not altogether helped her sense of perspective. She completed a Bachelor of Design in Sydney, which furnished her with useful Letraset, bromide and enlarger machine skills. The following few years were spent painting robotic characters for theme parks, providing the hands for a DIY television show, and writing a household hints column. In 2000, Blackall was inveigled by New York. She convinced her husband, and two small children (who couldn’t talk and had no say in the matter), to pack suitcases and sense of adventure and join the diaspora. After two months of pounding the streets, portfolio in hand, and despite the tireless efforts of her agent, the return plane ticket was cashed in to pay the rent. Just when the highlight in the day had become half a can of Budweiser at six o’clock, the fax machine coughed and spluttered and delivered a commission of nine illustrations for The New York Times.

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The Crows of Pearblossom

After lots of editorial work and several animated TV commercials in the UK, the first children’s book Sophie Blackall illustrated was Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges (Chronicle), which won the Ezra Jack Keats award in 2003. Since then, she has illustrated Meet Wild Boars by Meg Rosoff (Holt) which won the Society of Illustrators Founders Award; Summer is Summer by Phillis and David Gershator (Holt); What’s So Bad About Being an Only Child? by Cari Best (FSG); Red Butterfly by Deborah Noyes (Candlewick); Ivy and Bean (books one through five) by Annie Barrows (Chronicle); Jumpy Jack and Googily by Meg Rosoff (Holt); Wild Boars Cook by Meg Rosoff (Holt); and Wombat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields (Dutton) … and THE CROWS OF PEARBLOSSOM

I’VE ADDED THE BOOK TO PURE-LI MARKETPLACE PURE-LI FOR NOVEL VALUE -HAHA!!

 THIS UNUSUAL AND CLEVER EDITION MAKES A SPECIAL ADDITION TO OTHER LESSER-KNOWN CHILDREN’S TREASURES BY LITERARY ICONS

I hope it’s something that brings joy!

Love Lia, xo

5 Ways To Listen

I wonder if I’m getting worse as I get older!!  

I used to listen so intently!  I have good ears.  When I worked at Trio, we were trained in how to listen for cutlery dropping, both inside and outside the restaurant, so that we could quickly get some fresh stuff to the customer before they had a chance to ask!  Same with the sound of the chairs sliding on the floor – if a customer was getting up, we needed to be by their side, know what was their desire … how could we help?!  Bring a bill or point them in the direction of the bathrooms?  All part of what makes it the best place for breakfast Sydney (SUUUUCH good food!)!

But it did taint my dining experiences elsewhere. For years afterwards I was forever hearing other customers’ cutlery dropping,  service bells pinging and phones ringing!! I remember once freaking myself out because I was eating at Pompeii and someone in Hurricanes, the restaurant next door, dropped a fork. Yep, we got to distinguishing which type of cutlery!  I didn’t WANT these thoughts in my mind anymore, they were of NO benefit to me now!!

It’s wearing off over the years! However, I was recently treated to breakfast on the house at Trio, as while I was chatting with the Ronen, (the owner) I couldn’t help fretting because the phone was ringing and I was desperate to either answer it or ask one of the gorgeous girls to get it!!  This was what was expected of me in my role there (I left 6 years ago!!).  He felt so responsible for my psychosis that chalked my breakfast to the house!  Hahahaha!!

So these days, I work to consciously block a lot of external stimulus … hope I haven’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater!!

not-listening-monkey

image via keithabraham.com

This is a short Ted Talk with some interesting points on how to listen for BETTER COMMUNICATIONS.

“Personal Broadcasting”!!  LOVE this term!! I do a bit of this from time to time!  Then I call in my Personal Editor – that’s usually Mrs. Yoga – she’s great for getting me to listen in to what I’m doing and reminding me of what is necessary, and to let go of what is not!

 5 Ways To Listen For Better Communications

 1. Silence – consciously make room for at least 3 minutes of silence (or at least quiet) in your day.

2. The Mixer – when in a place where there is noise, try to hear/listen in to as many different sounds and channels of sound within the noise.

3. Savouring – enjoying the mundane sounds – the tumble dryer etc … isn’t it a blessing!

4. Listening Positions – the idea of moving your listening position to what’s appropriate to what you’re listening to – active/passive, reductive/expansive, critical/empathetic, etc. etc.

5. R.A.S.A. an acronym (and also the Sanskrit word for juice or essence)

R: RECEIVE – pay attention to the person

A: APPRECIATE – make little sounds of appreciation, ‘hmmm, mmm, uhuh’ and the like 

S: SUMMARISE – the use of the word ‘SO’ is important here … summarise what you’ve heard to get clarity and understand each other

A: ASK – ask questions afterwards

I thought this was a really helpful lil video, and a good one to watch every now and then as a reminder – to be a good listener is a skill after all, something that needs to be nurtured, honed and practised.

Hope it’s helpful for you too!  Good luck!

Oh and check out TRIO for a breakfast someday, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

 

Love Lise, xo