Samoan coconut buns

Week 21 – Samoa

Two main islands and eight small islets house pristine beaches with luscious green rainforests coming right down to the sand and in certain places spectacular rocky cliffs. With hundreds of scenic hiking trails you can traverse the country side enjoying waterfalls, secret grottos and wildlife galore. A strong proud culture with many traditions such as their ‘ava ceremony and siva (dancing) live here, welcome to Samoa.

Traditional ‘ava ceremony

Samoa is located in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean it is halfway between New Zealand and Hawaii. The main islands are Upolu and Savai’i with Upolu home to 3/4 of the country’s population. All of the islands of Samoa have been produced by volcanoes, with Savai’i home to 3 active volcanoes (the last eruption was in the early 1900’s).

Samoa’s capital city and largest city is Apia which is situated on a natural harbour on the island of Upolu. The city’s clock tower which is also a war memorial is cited as the center of the city. Scattered there is still some early, wooden, colonial buildings most notably the old courthouse amongst other new infrastructure. Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson who wrote famous books such as Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde resided on the outskirts of town for his last four years of life and he was buried on top of the close mountain Mt. Vaea. The city’s harbour was also the location of a naval standoff in 1889. Seven ships from Germany, the US, and Britain refused to leave the harbor while a typhoon was approaching, all of the ships ended up sinking except one.

Historic old courthouse originally built in 1906 in Historism and Art Deco style.

Historic old courthouse originally built in 1906 in Historism and Art Deco style.

Samoan Cuisine

Samoa’s cuisine very heavily based on fresh produce normally catch or collected that day. Produce such as taro, bananas, papaya, coconut (freshly made coconut cream or milk is an ingredient in an multitude of recipes), fish and other seafood are the basis of most dishes. Most Samoan kitchens are outside and use a umu (earth oven of hot stones) to cook all food. No oil is used in any of their cooking as they wrap their meat or seafood in banana leaves and cook it straight over the hot stones. Some of the most loved dishes include palusami (young taro leaves baked in coconut cream) and oka, (raw fish in coconut cream).

Typical meal

Typical meal

What I Made

I decided to go sweet and chose Panipopo’s (sweet coconut buns) these buns are sold in bakeries all over Samoa. I sourced my recipe from → www.samoafood.com check it out for amazing Samoan recipes!

Recipe

Serves: 12

Ingredients

For Bread Dough:

  • 1 package (2 & ¼ teaspoon) of active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ – 3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour

For Coconut Sauce:

  • ½ can (200ml) canned or freah coconut milk
  • 200ml water
  • ½ sugar

 Method

  1. Put yeast and water in a large bowl and cover, leave for 10 minutes,  your yeast should be frothy at the end of the time.
  2. Add the rest of the dough ingredients and mix to form a soft dough, this can be done with a wooden spoon or any type of automatic mixer.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 to 20 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover and leave to double in size, about 1 hour depending on your kitchen’s temperature.
  5. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into buns and place in an ungreased baking tin. Cover and leave to rise until almost doubled.
  6. While the buns are rising preheat oven  to 190°C/ 375°F. Make your coconut sauce by combing all ingredients and mixing well.
  7. When buns have doubled in size, pour the sauce over them. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until nicely golden. (wait half an hour till cutting them, as it gives time for the sauce to thicken)

The buns were not the most amazing thing I’ve ever had but they sweet and gooey so they hit the spot. I think it was it bread that let them down a bit, the bread seemed a little to savoury for the sweet sauce, I’d suggest finding a sweet bread recipe that you know good and swapping that one for this one. They were nice with a large cup of black tea and a good book. Score 6/10.

My coconut buns!

My coconut buns!

Serbian Apricot Torte

WEEK 12 – SERBIA

Apricot Layer Cake

Torta Praska – Apricot Layer Cake

Hi everyone it’s Roma here, so last week I got Serbia out of the box.

Country Information:

Serbia is a land-locked country in south-east Europe. It’s got expansive mountains which are spread through-out the nation. Belgrade is its capital city and over 2 million people live there. Serbia has produced some very famous people such as Nikola Tesla who contributed to the invention of modern electricity and Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Novak Djokovic who are all world-renowned tennis players.

It is well-known for its beautiful Orthodox monasteries around the mountain Fruska Gora, in the north of the country. Also it is one of the ten countries in which the Danube River (Europe’s longest river known as an International Waterway) runs through, which crosses the top half of the country.tur-fruska-gora

 

Cuisine:

Serbia has a diverse cuisine taking influences from a number of other countries cooking techniques and styles such as; Mediterranean, Central European (especially Hungarian and Austrian) and Turkish. Food is important in all social and family gatherings or celebrations such as Christmas and Easter.

Bread is a staple food like many other European countries along with milk, cheese, fruit, vegetables and meat. Serbia has made quite a name for its self with an alcoholic drink – Slivovitz, a plum brandy and also claims it’s the birthplace of Rakia, a highly alcoholic beverage primarily distilled from fruit.slivovitz_white

What I made:

I chose to make a dessert this week for a change, and I found a delicious sounding recipe for an Apricot Torte. The cake has three layers of a soft buttery dough, then crunchy cinnamon sugar and nuts, the second layer is spread with freshly made apricot puree and then topped off with a nutty baked meringue. This cake was a good choice to make as this is apricot season here in Australia. I found the recipe here apricot-torte

Apricot Puree

I changed the recipe by making my own apricot mixture for in the cake. I did this by cutting up 7 fresh apricots and put them in medium saucepan with a few tablespoons of water and a tablespoon of sugar and cooked that mixture for 15-20 minutes until the apricots were soft and had thickened. I also changed the quantities in the recipe, as it made a huge cake serving 12!

And we found that on the day we didn’t have enough walnuts so I used some flaked almonds instead. This cake takes quite a long time to make but it was worth it, it was especially good when served warm with whipped cream. This cake scored 9/10.

Apricot Torte

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  •  ⅛ cup warm water
  • 165gm softened butter
  • 1¾ cups plain flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¾ cup finely chopped walnuts/slivered almonds
  • ½ rounded cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup of apricot jam or fresh apricot puree (see above)
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup castor sugar
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds/finely chopped walnuts

Method 

  1. Dissolve yeast in ¼ cup warm water in a small bowl and set aside. Grease a cake tin 26cm x 16 cm x 3.5cm deep. Heat oven to 180 °C.
  2. In a processor or mixer, blend the butter and flour. Mix the egg yolks, sour cream and add to the yeast. Add to flour mixture and blend until a ball of dough forms. Do not knead.
  3. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. On a lightly floured board, roll 1 part into rectangle and place in prepared pan.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the chopped nuts, sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over dough in pan. Roll out second piece of dough and place on top.
  5. Spread with apricot filling or jam. Roll out remaining piece of dough and place on top. Bake 45-50 minutes or until top is golden brown and is cooked.
  6. Just before ready, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add castor sugar gradually, beating until stiff peaks form. Remove torte from oven and spread meringue over top. Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup nuts.
  7. Bake until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool a little, serve warm.