I’m trying a new thing for 2014 – no eating sweets during the week, and then make, style, shoot and blog something extra delicious on the weekend, to give me something to look forward to. Abstaining from sugar for the sake of looking attractive never really felt like a fair trade-off for me, but sacrificing 3pm packaged sweets (low quality Christmas chocolates anyone?) in order to have something special and homemade on the weekend feels very much doable. Having some nicely made and styled material for the blog is also a nice bonus.
The plan is to then not be too concerned about the healthiness of my weekend desserts, but somehow this weekend I ended up making something which is actually quite healthy and sugar free!
The temperatures soared to 44˚C over the weekend, with Saturday having the hottest night for Perth on record. The oven was absolutely out of the question, as was anything that required slaving over a stove. This was absolutely the weather for frozen treats. We often make ice-cream but I’d just borrowed my parents’ popsicle mould, which opens up a lot more possibilities.
I had my heart set on something with mango and young coconut, which have been abundant and cheap at my fruit & veg shop the past few weeks – but the price of mangos had gone up and coconuts were nowhere to be found! I ended up buying a small reduced tray of overripe mangos, a bit soft for cubing but perfect for my purposes. I scooped out all of the soft, juicy flesh and mashed it with a fork into a very rough puree. These overripe mangos lacked the tang of the ones I like to eat as-is, but the strong sweetness dispelled any ideas of adding extra sugar.
For the coconut component, I cheated a little and repurposed some of the coconut ice-cream that The Boy made a couple of weeks ago, which consisted of coconut cream, vanilla essence and honey. I spooned the coconut ice-cream into the base and let it melt a little (which didn’t take long with the heat of the day), then added the mango puree, including as much juice as possible to fill in any gaps. I was going for a slightly marbled effect, which means I didn’t have to worry too much about mixing the two components.
Unable to find any wooden popsticks, I improvised with teaspooons. It worked well enough that I’m not sure I’d bother to buy popsticks for future experiements – although next time I’ll have to come up with a better method of keeping them upright.
A few hours later, the end result was vibrant, prettily marbled and sweet popsicles – which are (processed) sugar free, dairy free and super easy and cheap to make during the mango season.
Photography was a bit of a challenge due to the heat – I had to plan out what I wanted to do, work quickly then return the popsicles back to their mould in Viagra Online the freezer between different setups. My favourite shots use one of my new (old) plates, sea foam green ones from St Vinnies which were 75 cents each – bargain!
I also thought that the oranges would contrast nicely with the blues and gold of my new (actually new, but on sale) peacock bowl filled with ice. This actually works reasonably well to prevent too much melting, and is probably how I’d serve them at a party.
And finally on my favourite jarrah chopping board, for a darker option – I really need to get some darker plates!
The challenge of having to be efficient with food photography and going in with a plan in mind, due to the subject melting, was really useful, and I think I’ll be a bit more confident with shooting temperature sensitive foods from now on.
Here’s a sort-of recipe if you’d like to try these for yourself:
Coconut Mango Popsicles
A good way of using up overripe fruit and that half a can of leftover coconut cream that you don’t know what to do with – it’s also sugar, dairy and gluten free, and really easy.
- 1 large or 2 small mangoes* – overripe is probably best
- coconut cream**
- a bit of honey
- popsicle mould
- Cut up the mango and scoop out the flesh into a bowl – try to catch the juice as well.
- Mash the mango with a fork or use a stick blender for a smoother consistency. You can add extra honey or sugar at this point if the mangos aren’t sweet enough.
- Scoop coconut cream into another bowl and whisk in enough honey to sweeten to taste.
- Spoon the mixtures into the popsicle moulds to create your desired pattern – if you’d like clearly separated colours, freeze each section before adding the next.
- Add in your popsticks or teaspoons, then chuck it in the freezer for a few hours.
- Once they’re frozen, run the popsicle mould under running water for a few seconds to loosen popsicles before pulling them out.
- Eat immediately, especially if it’s a 44 degree summer’s day.
* Mangoes are my favourite, but this could really work with any pureed seasonal fruit – just adjust the sweetness level with extra honey or sugar
** If you only have coconut milk (which has a higher water content, so is less creamy), leave a can of it in the fridge for a bit and the water will separate to the bottom, leaving coconut cream on top.
I thought I’d feel a bit cheated having such a healthy treat weekend, but this was definitely enough to satisfy the sweet tooth – and I think that fantasising about what I’m going to make next is a much better way to help me be good during the week than counting calories.
Do you have any healthy and/or food plans (I feel like calling them ‘resolutions’ is setting myself up for failure) for this year? Want to join me in making just a weekly sweet treat?