Mum and I arrived at the Cook Islands. However we have the worst luck! Our bags were lost in transit. Who would have thought that not having belongings would be such an issue when being on a gorgeous Island. We soon began to realize that we had to step out of the western world and enjoy the relaxed nature of the Polynesian culture. I think Australian’s could really learn a lot about the Polynesian’s and that is to be calm, collective and patient.
The main thing we really enjoyed was their extraordinary food. We were in seventh heaven! Coconut and Papaya are the main source of fruit on the islands. They are in every store, are sold on the sidewalk and are featured in meals. As we stroll over to breakfast we notice a selection of breads including coconut. It was fresh, tasty and perfect to lift our mood. We then head to the markets where we notice people sipping on straws that are plunged into coconuts. I immediately buy one and once I’m done drinking I race back over to ask the man if he could open it up for me. He hands me a sharp long knife and I hit the shell as he slowly turns it. He then breaks it open with his hands, exposing the meaty white flesh that I munch on throughout the day. He informs us that they are very good for you and that the locals eat this fruit as a way to whiten their teeth.
Our luggage finally arrives and we head to dinner to enjoy an exquisite meal. It goes to show you that in hard times good food is something you can turn to. This is a coconut cake recipe, which was inspired by my trip to the Cook Islands as I was taught to smile and appreciate the little things in life.
- 125g unsalted butter
- 1 cup caster sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon or lime
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup self raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 cup coconut milk (270ml can)
- 2 cups soft icing sugar
- 2 cups desiccated coconut
- 1 tbsp coconut essence
- ¼ cup boiling water
- Preheat oven to 180 °C and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
- In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Add zest and eggs one at a time until well combined.
- Sift the flour with the baking powder and mix through.
- Add the coconut alternating with the coconut milk until the mixture is well combined.
- Pour the mixture into the lined tin and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool on a wire rack.
- For the icing, add all ingredients in a large bowl and mix with a whisk or a wooden spoon until well combined. If the icing is too dry add a little bit more of boiling water until you are happy with the consistency.
- Using a spatula transfer icing on top of the cake. Smooth down using a knife (If the mixture crumbles use your hands to pat down any gaps).
- Enjoy a slice for afternoon tea!