Yesterday’s post got me thinking about coconut, and how we are both helped and cheated by the easy availability of packaged desiccated coconut. I have no doubt that for convenience and availability the trade-off is flavour and texture. If only I had a bulk supply of coconuts and a kitchen slave to remove and grate the flesh I would never again purchase a packet of the too-sweet usually too-dry flakes and would make the following three recipes in a flash:
From The Nabob's Cookery Book, Indian Recipes, by P.O.P. (1870):
Cocoa Nut Pudding.
Procure an exceedingly fresh cocoa nut, and after removing the dark rind, grate it very finely. Chop up an ounce of candied citron very small, and grate the rind of half a lemon; put these ingredients into a basin, adding to them a quarter of a pound of sifted white sugar; oil over the fire two ounces of fresh butter, and pour it over the other ingredients; mix well, and put to them the yolks of three or four eggs ; add a squeeze of lemon, and pour into a tart dish lined with paste, and bake in a slow oven.
Cocoa Nut Cakes.
Grate a fresh cocoa nut, and leave it to dry; add to it a few sweet almonds and one bitter almond, also grated, two or three ounces of sifted white sugar, and sufficient well-beaten white of egg to make the whole into a stiff paste; roll it into round balls, and bake on a greased tin until they are quite dry, and the top of them slightly browned. Then put them off on to a cold dish.
Cocoa Nut Biscuits.
Three quarters of a pound of grated cocoa nut, the same quantity of pounded loaf sugar, and one teaspoonful of arrow root. Mix with one egg, and bake on buttered papers.
I am sure that I would not make the following recipe, although it might be pretty good made with chicken instead of the oysters:
Let a hundred of large sea oysters be opened into a basin, without losing one drop of their liquor. Put a lump of fresh butter into a good sized saucepan, and, when it boils, add a large onion, cut it into thin slices, and let it fry in the uncovered stew-pan until it is of a rich brown; now add a bit more butter, and two or three tablespoonfuls of currie-powder. When these ingredients are well mixed over the fire with a wooden spoon, add gradually either hot water, or broth from the stockpot, cover the stewpan, and let the whole boil up.
Meanwhile, have ready the meat of a cocoa-nut, grated or rasped fine, put this into the stewpan with a few sour tamarinds (if they are to be obtained, if not, a sour apple, chopped). Let the whole simmer over the fire until the apple is dissolved, and the cocoa-nut very tender; then add a strong thickening made of flour, and water, and sufficient salt, as a currie will not bear being salted at table. Let this boil up for five minutes. Have ready also a vegetable marrow, or part of one, cut into bits, and sufficiently boiled to require little or no further cooking. Put this in with a tomata or two; either of these vegetables may be omitted. Now put into the stewpan the oysters, with their own liquor, and the milk of the cocoa-nut, if it be perfectly sweet; stir them well with the former ingredients: boil the carrier, stew gently for a few minutes, then throw in the strained juice of half a lemon. Stir the currie from time to time with a wooden spoon, and, as soon as the oysters are done enough, serve it up, with a corresponding dish of rice on the opposite side of the table. This dish is considered at Madras the 'ne plus ultra of Indian cookery.'
The edible mollusks of Great Britain and Ireland, with recipes for cooking them (1867)
by M.S. Lovell.
These are another definite:
Pare off the rind from a fresh cocoanut, grate the white part, and put it into a perfectly clean saucepan with its weight in sifted sugar and the milk, or, if this is not quite sweet [?], two or three spoonfuls of water. Let this simmer, stirring it gently until tender. When the mixture is cool, add the yolks of two eggs welt beaten and a spoonful of orange-flower water. Line some patty-pans with good puff paste, and put a little mixture into each; bake in a good oven. Sift a little sugar over the cheese-cakes before baking them.
Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld.) September 12, 1887.