Archive for February 2011

Desiccated coconut stashdown 2011

Last week a momentous decision was made — it was time to run down my stash of desiccated coconut. My stash of desiccated coconut was first mentioned over a year ago, and despite my best efforts, it’s probably increased since then. Last week I made Coconut Pullapart Rolls from Not Quite Nigella. They turned out really well, and next time I’ll add some lime zest to the coconut filling.

Today I consulted my Women’s Weekly recipe cards and came up with this delightful cake.

Toasted Coconut Cake


0.5 cups desiccated coconut
125 grams butter
1 cup of brown sugar, lightly packed
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 eggs
a pinch of salt
0.5 teaspoon vanilla
1.5 cups self-raising flour, sifted
0.5 cup milk


1 cup icing sugar
1.5 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons desiccated coconut, extra

Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius, and grease and line a 20cm round cake tin

Toast all the coconut in a frypan over low heat, being careful not to burn. Set aside two tablespoons for the icing.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in golden syrup.
Add in eggs one at a time, beating the first in thoroughly before adding the second.
Mix in the coconut, vanilla and salt. Add in the sifted flour gradually, alternating with the milk. Mix well.

Bake for 35-40 minutes. When cool, ice with lemon icing, sprinkling the rest of the toasted coconut on top.

For the icing, simply sift the icing sugar and add the lemon juice. Mix until it’s at a soft spreading consistency.

This cake is fantastic. The toasted coconut reminds me of the marshmallows from Darrel Lea, and the combination of brown sugar and golden syrup gives it a faintly caramel flavour. Although I followed the recipe this time round, it would work just as well (or better) with the fluffy lemon icing used on the ginger cake I made last year. It’s a pretty moist cake which surprised me. I imagined that the crumb would be drier, but the all-knowing toothpick came out clean so it was done based on that test. That said, it wouldn’t have hurt to bake it a little longer.

Now my desiccated coconut stash is much much lower than a fortnight ago, and hopefully I’ll be able to keep it at manageable levels. I really dislike wasting food, and unfortunately it’s really easy to do in my pantry with it’s deep shelves. Previously I have tried to keep track of my pantry contents via a spreadsheet, but there must be a better way. Does anyone have any recommendations for pantry inventory apps for Mac? If not, I may need to have a word with Matt…


Christmas Day is now just a blip of a memory, but my Christmas was recently extended by the receipt of more presents (spoilt child that I am). One of those presents was very very precious, and I was, and still am, very lucky to receive it. My Mumma, the person who taught me to knit, gave me her button collection.

button box

For many crafty types, a grandmother’s button collection is a source of much joy and wonderment. This was no exception. Not only did I get a lot of lovely old buttons, but in some cases, she put sets of them in little bags and included stories of where the buttons came from.

panto buttons

‘These gold coloured buttons came from Aunt Nan in England. They were on a black silk jacket she had for a panto for the old ones. She was 88 then (lived to 99). Sent to be used for fancy dress, [my dad] had it on his Greek Evzone jacket. Won first prize.’

nana buttons

‘This is an old collection of my Mum (Granny), Nanna and some I collected over the years. I remember sitting on the mat in front of the fireplace at No.12 [her childhood home] and playing for hours with the button tin.’

I am very much my Mumma’s granddaughter in that we both knit, love op shopping and owls (my Mumma was all over ‘put a bird on it’ way before Portlandia). In our own ways we each love the past; I’m a sucker for nostalgia and she’s a mad keen genealogist. I haven’t really shown that much interest in my family’s history, but this button collection has completely knocked me over. Owning buttons from relatives that I know (Mumma), knew (Granny) and never met (Aunt Nan and Nanna) is really indescribable. They will be treasured.

The sum of parts

In the last week I’ve politely asked the pattern reading fairy to leave, downloaded more podcasts and got on with the job of knitting and finishing. Thanks to DrK for alerting me to the fairy’s existence (made it much easier to get rid of her once I knew she existed!) and everyone’s podcast suggestions.

The sudden burst of motivation has resulted in the near completion of My Golden Hands vest. It’s probably really silly to feel like this, but I find this part of a knitting project really exciting. No longer does it look like a pile of related pieces, but an actual garment. Even seeing the parts come together neatly with mattress stitch is still slightly magical. Small things…

vest nearly done

It turns out that adding light grey stripes was a really good idea. I’ve had to unravel my swatch of dark grey Rustic for seaming, which means that I had pretty much just the right amount of dark grey for the vest.

The most difficult, or more accurately, annoying, part of the vest so far has been attaching the button band to the front pieces. Because it’s so long, I put it off as I thought it would be a tedious job. As is often the case though, once I started and got into a rhythm, it wasn’t too bad. At the moment it’s looking pretty good, bar slight lumpiness around the curved fronts. Let us hope a good wet block will sort that out.