I’m quite a creature of habit – a condition which tends to leave me largely immune to most passing fads, dietary or otherwise. While I am happy to admit that I’m a greedy girl, for the most part I attempt to moderate my food variety and intake – I don’t miss out on things I love, but try not to pig out on them either. (With the possible exception of pork crackling and potato chips.) So, while things like Goji berries and Amaranth might be amazingly good for me, unless they taste gob-smackingly great or are easy to incorporate into my existing and already broadly varied diet they are unlikely to have much of an impact on me. I’m only human, though, and occasionally something that’s making people talk will pique my curiosity and I give it a go.
Such was the case with coconut oil. I already love the taste of coconut, in both sweet and savoury dishes, and when I saw all the remarkable health claims around the cold pressed oil I thought it might be worth giving it a try in some of my everyday dishes. And what astonishing health claims they are! I’ve done a little research on this product and have seen some extraordinary assertions, including suggestions that it can assist in digestion and metabolism, immunity, dental care, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and that it can reverse Alzheimer’s disease and has anti-microbial properties. I’d suggest that, like many natural products, coconut oil has a role to play in any or all of these conditions and that it has a place in a broadly varied diet. However, we need to remember it is still a fat and while I’m keen on fats (and have the hips to prove it) – especially the tasty, heart-helping kinds – their place in our diet should be limited.
Purely in the interests of research I bought myself a big jar of cold-pressed coconut oil recently and set about experimenting with it. I’ve very happily used it to replace olive oil (a personal favourite of mine) when frying chicken and fish and have been playing around with it as a substitute for butter when baking. I was pretty happy with these cookies which I put together last week. If more is better, then the combination of coconut oil and coconut cream, along with shredded coconut, must make them practically a dietary imperative – however, I suspect not. They are very tasty and not too sweet though, and would be a great addition to the lunch boxes when school goes back. I made mine in the Thermomix but, again, any food processor will do the job. Do remember to refrigerate the dough before baking – it does make a difference.