The Complete Coconut Cookbook Review
Coconut is all over the supermarket shelves these days, reclaimed as a indulgent treat and placed in the spotlight for their nutritious qualities. But what do we do with these coconut products? Camilla Saulsbury, writer and recipe developer, clears the air in her most recent cookbook called The Complete Coconut Cookbook.
Hitting shelves today, September 15th 2014, this cookbook is an excellent introduction to those who want to try integrating coconut into their diet, or as a recipe source for those on a vegan-, gluten- and nut-free diet. The book has a great introductory section where they describe pantry stables and common nutrition terms, as well as the properties of the various ingredients used in the book. I found this part fascinating, particularly because Saulsbury writes with such fluidity it makes an enjoyable read.
When you first begin shuffling through the various pages, you will perhaps notice how few photographs are in the book. I, personally, am someone who always relishes in the beautiful high-quality photographs of delicious foods. The recipes draw their own attraction, however, from the fun and bubbly recipe description at the top of each page.
The recipes are easy to read and follow, and their consistent structure throughout the 200-page book means they are a great reference for both a beginner or advanced home cook. My primary disappointment, however, was the fact I could not find one of the key ingredients required in these gluten-free baked goods: Psyllium Husk. I looked high and low but couldn’t find it. I hope my readers will have better luck! But unfortunately this meant many of the baked goods that looked delicious had to be scraped off my testing list.
I ended up testing three recipes from the Coconut cookbook. Here’s my take!
Cauliflower Couscous and Date Salad
This recipe is delicious. Period. The cauliflower “couscous” was made by pulsing a head of cauliflower in a food processor for it to make a fresh gluten-free alternative to this Middle Eastern staple. Toss it with chickpeas, coconut oil, medjool dates, green onions, spices and sesame seeds, and you’ve got one delicious salad! A downside is that due to all the freshness it doesn’t last as long in the fridge: try to eat it up in two or three days (but that won’t be hard to do!).
I admit: I played around with this recipe. I added cocoa nibs! But either way, this coconut shortbread recipe was surprisingly easy and very decadent for a butter-less shortbread. I found the dough quite crumbly after it was in the fridge for the required resting time, so make sure you let it warm up a bit before slicing to get those clean edges when they bake. They were just sweet enough and even my die-hard butter-loving friends gleefully scoffed down a handful!
This coconut butter recipe was challenging because I had trouble getting the ingredients to bind, but I think it was because the quality of the shredded coconut I had was simply not at its finest. But I managed to make it work and in the end it was a breakfast favourite! I added a generous blob of maple syrup to make it sweeter, but this is entirely personal tastes. Ben and I enjoyed this regularly on our toast in the morning!
But it won’t stop there: this book is a great reference for inspiration, and I am sure I will continue testing out recipes from here. So if you’re interested, go ahead and try it out!