Thursday, 25 March 2010

chocolate! or, lifestyle choices

The farmer and I are making slow gradual changes in a way I like. The changes are to do with our eating habits, over the last year we have become somewhat complacent and indulgent with our food. The farmer is an excellent cook and appreciates encouragement and so meals have been getting more lavish. Recently we have become aware of changes associated with a year plus of rich food and plenty of it. It's time to cut back.

We've switched to cooking with coconut oil. There's plenty of information on the web about the benefits of using coconut oil, suffice to say here that it improves metabolic rate, strengthens the immune system and lowers blood pressure. Plus it's delicious. I have been making the oil myself - a time consuming process, but rewarding as the oil we use is completely organic, fresh and unbelievably rich and wonderful. There are two ways to make oil from coconuts in the kitchen (at least for food grade oil): cold pressed and stove-top. For cold pressed oil you need an oil expeller. We have the loan of a PITEBA oil mill. I like it, but it could do with some improvements, it's not the cleanest or easiest way to work. The other way is by grating the coconut, squeezing the milk out (easier with the addition of a little water), and then simmering the milk until it magically becomes oil. I prefer using the PITEBA, but it's easier using the stove.

I'm also making my own yoghurt and cream cheese. We had been buying 1/2 fat cream cheese, but I don't like the sound of the emulsifiers and gums and enhancers on the ingredients list, making one's own is very simple. (I will write up methods for yoghurt and cream cheese in another post.) It doesn't really take any time at all, and I know exactly what I'm eating. And of course it makes me so much happier to be making our food from scratch. If only we had a goat.

The sourdough starter is back on track and I've been making wholewheat sourdough biscuits daily for our lunch sandwiches. Served with cream cheese and greens from the garden.

And the chocolate? We've been researching cacao again and have read that cacao has a positive effect on lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, plus it balances moods and emotions, creates a sense of well being and suppresses appetite! We've been enjoying lightly toasted cacao beans with meals for the past few days. I really like it: anything that brings me closer to the land, the seasons and home scale food production fills me with such contentment and feelings of ease, yes, life is good.


  1. Looking forward to the cheese making blog!

  2. Oh, it all sounds so very yummy!

  3. Sounds good, I too have to sometimes re-asses areas where I have become slack. For instance somehow I stopped making my yoghurt and started buying it - how did that happen? well, I am back into it again now. I am looking forward to your cheese making instructions, I have never tried it as the only milk we can buy is the supermarket homogenized type.

  4. Oh my, fresh pressed coconut just make my heart go pitty pat! You never cease to amaze me Ancel!

  5. Home-pressed coconut oil ... now why didn't I think of that? Mature coconuts have been heaping up here and I've been wondering what to do with them.
    Oh yes, you can get coconut milk just that bit easier by grating it, adding a teensie bit of water (not really necessary, though) and whipping it up in the blender for a minute or so before squeezing out the milk. Real muscle-builder!
    As for yoghurt... we call it curds ... I make it myself too (and so do almost all the housewives in India).
    But you're right about that very satisfying feeling tat you know exactly what you're eating.

  6. The cream cheese is actually not so cheesy, it's really labneh, or as Sunita says, curds: yogurt dripped through a sheet overnight. Very delicious though! I can get unpastuerized milk, but getting the coagulant here is tricky - plus I can buy cheese from a local farmer, so I haven't tried my own yet. The whey that's produced I use for cooking, or give to the dogs. It's full of lactobacillus and I want to try some whey-started ferments, but this week is too hectic for that :(

    The coconut oil is bliss! Try it.

  7. Just to share my experience. The first time I got coconut oil I did think whether I should use it or not. My sister bought it from Then, I checked a lot of website and found out that it's good on skin and hair. So, that was where I first used it. Eventually, I used it for cooking especially when frying. Coconut oil is really awesome! I love it so much! Thanks for this post! Hope to see the cheese-making part soon. :)


thanks for sharing!