Cooking with coconut oil

Cooking with coconut oil

By
Lucy Bee
Contains
0 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
978 184949 675 9

So, you’ve bought the book and got your jar of Lucy Bee, but what can you actually do with it? Well, I bet that in no time at all you’ll be as hooked as I am on this one, versatile jar of what I like to call ‘the miracle oil’. However, you’ll probably mostly use our Lucy Bee as a fantastic, natural oil, or a replacement for processed vegetable oils and butter.

It’s perfect for frying foods such as eggs, onions, garlic, meats or fish, and, honestly, you only need to use a teeny amount. I don’t know why, but a little most definitely goes a long way. Lucy Bee is ideal for roasting, too. You can smear it over meats or fish and toss your vegetables in it, all with wonderful results. If you like the sound of this, then you should definitely check out our recipe for Roast Potatoes – a real winner in our house on Sundays.

You’ll also be able to use coconut oil as a replacement for butter in baking, which is great news if you are lactose intolerant. Because Lucy Bee seems to go further, I find using 25% less than the recommend amount of butter called for in a recipe works just fine. It also has a special kind of sweetness that means you will be able to cut down on the sugar in the recipe by a third, making your cakes instantly healthier! Amazingly though, savoury recipes won’t be made to taste sweet – instead, the coconut oil simply enhances the flavours, and the coconut flavour is often lost when you cook with it. You can use Lucy Bee as a spread instead of butter, which tastes great on rice cakes or toast. If you decide to try this there is definitely a hint of a coconut taste, but it works well with jams, marmite, or nut butters.

Our wonderful followers on social media also introduced me to Bulletproof coffee, which is espresso whizzed with Lucy Bee and grass-fed butter. If you haven’t tried this, you must give it a go! It’s the ultimate homemade latte and tastes utterly delicious. Whenever somebody new tries it, they can’t get their head around the fact that it hasn’t got any milk in it.

You could also try adding a teaspoon of Lucy Bee to smoothies for extra nourishment, and I even stir a teaspoon into my daily cup of green tea – it tastes just perfect, and if you’re not a fan of green tea, adding Lucy Bee makes it taste so much better. Plus, it leaves your lips feeling super soft. How often do you get a drink and lip balm all in one?

While that may seem a whole lot of uses for just one jar, I guess that the simple answer to ‘How do you use coconut oil?’ is this: wherever you would use an oil or butter in cooking, just go ahead and substitute with Lucy Bee.

TIP Although I don’t follow an exclusively raw food diet, I eat raw meals whenever I can. As well as plant-based, organic foods, raw foodies seek out products that are free from chemicals and are unprocessed, such as Lucy Bee coconut oil, to use in raw foods.

Eating as nature intended

As already mentioned, being coeliac meant that I had to grow up studying ingredients in all food products, but I know that I feel so much better when I eat the most natural, nourishing ingredients possible. In each of the recipes you read in this book, I recommend that you use organic, unprocessed ingredients – the foods that nature intended – wherever you can. I also prefer to use good-quality, grass-fed meats as I believe not only in the ethos that ‘we are what we eat’, but that ‘we are whatever we eat has eaten!’

People often ask me if I use other oils, and the answer is yes! As much as I love using Lucy Bee, there’s still a place in my kitchen cupboards for good-quality extra virgin olive oil to whip up delicious dressings. I also especially like Udo’s oil, as a fabulous source of healthy oils.

Because of my intolerance to gluten, my recipes are always gluten-free, but please don’t feel you have to do the same.

Grow your own

At home, we’ve always been fortunate enough to enjoy fruit and vegetables fresh from the garden. Growing up, my siblings and I would roll our eyes and say, ‘Not again!’ as Mum and Dad would serve up delicious meals, telling us with each mouthful how the potatoes or onions were ‘from the garden’.

It’s only now I’m older (and maybe a little wiser!) that I can understand their pride. I love hearing what’s growing in our garden, and knowing that the foods I’ll be eating are organic and home-grown – perfect.

Growing your own vegetables is incredibly rewarding, so if you haven’t tried it already, why not have a go? You don’t need to be particularly green-fingered and could just start with something easy like sprouting beans and seeds, which taste divine in salads and have incredible health benefits. You could also try some herbs, maybe, and then have fun using them in recipes. It’s such an amazing feeling to cook with something that you’ve grown yourself.

Where possible, I also try to eat foods that are in season. At home we freeze the fruit and vegetables we have an abundance of, to enjoy later in the year. We freeze fruits such as raspberries and blackberries to make wonderful bases for crumbles or coulis, and tomato gluts can be turned into delicious sauces to store in the freezer. My parents even freeze herbs, such as parsley, ready to add to soups and stocks.

The other thing that’s great about having a vegetable patch is that you can have your own compost heap – an ideal way of using up trimmings, peelings and leftovers, and great for fertilising.

TIP We keep an atomiser spray full of Lucy Bee coconut oil in a wam place in our kitchen, so that the oil is always in liquid form. We use it to spritz over vegetables before roasting.

TIP I love trying to adapt recipes to make them even healthier and more delicious. As well as using coconut oil instead of butter in baking, try using almond milk instead of cow’s milk and substituting a mixture of gluten-free flours, such as coconut and almond flours, instead of plain flour.

Keeping chickens

Since our journey of using coconut oil began with a humble egg, I guess it’s appropriate to mention that this same egg came from one of our own chickens. Nelson, Pepper, Saffi, Sylvia, Doris and Maggie are never happier than wandering through the vegetable patch, pecking away at their daily treat of Lucy Bee mixed in with their food. They produce the best eggs for us and, hand on heart, I can honestly say that there’s nothing better than our own happy chickens’ eggs cooked in Lucy Bee. I must thank them for supplying us with delicious food to enjoy every single day.

It’s all about balance, planning and preparation

I really hope that you have fun trying out these recipes and, if you’re anything like me, sharing them with your family and friends. There are few better times than a family dinner where we all catch up with what’s been going on. Eating healthily is all about balance, and the same can be said about using Lucy Bee in your cooking – everything in moderation.

As you’ll see in the recipes in this book, I love trying to turn unhealthy foods into healthy ones by adapting recipes with a Lucy Bee twist. My followers on social media will also know that there are times when I enjoy letting loose and indulging in particular foods. This is where adapting recipes really comes into its own, and I’ll have a go at transforming pancakes or cakes, making them not only healthy, but also tasty and satisfying.

I’m sure that you don’t need me to tell you that planning ahead can make a huge difference to eating well. I tend to make extra, then either freeze meals or use up spare ingredients in other recipes. Leftover sweet potatoes, for instance, are good cold in a salad, or warm in an omelette the next day – it’s always a bonus to open the fridge and find leftovers that you can quickly use in another creation!

Before I leave you to read on, I thought I’d share one of my favourite quotes that pretty much sums up my philosophy for life: ‘Every time you eat or drink, you’re either fighting disease or feeding it.’

Happy cooking,

TIP To soften coconut oil, measure out the required amount into an ovenproof dish and then place the dish in the oven whilst it is preheating.

TIP There are not many cooking oils that you can also use as a moisturiser, but Lucy Bee is one of them. Any leftover coconut oil on the knife or spoon, simply rub over dry skin.

Allergy information

If, like me, you have a particular food intolerance then you will be forever checking packaging and labels to decipher what you can and can’t eat. To make your cooking choices easier, each of the recipes in this book is accompanied by a symbol – or symbols – denoting the suitability of the dish for people following specific diets. Below is an at-a-glance guide to what each of those symbols stands for:

Gluten-free

Wheat-free

Dairy-free

Lactose-free

Vegetarian

Vegan

Storecupboard staples

These are my everyday essential foodstuffs – the ingredients I always have stored in the kitchen cupboards or fridge, ready for making simple, nutritious meals.

At home, we always make everything from scratch, whether it’s our own sauces or even curry powders, so I’ve tried to include the basics for these here, too, as they can really transform your meals.

Lucy Bee coconut oil. This is your new goto cooking oil. If you need to soften it to use in cooking or baking, then either melt it in the oven as it preheats, or place the jar in warm water, on a radiator, Aga, or even briefly in the microwave.

Apple cider vinegar. I love the raw, organic, unfiltered and undistilled cloudy version, which still has the ‘mother of vinegar’, or cloudy sediment, that contains most of the health-promoting bacterial properties.

Avocado. These green fruits taste wonderful on their own, or use to thicken your smoothies. They’re rich in antioxidants and folate, too.

Bragg Liquid Aminos. This soy sauce alternative is full of amino acids and so tasty too.

Cacao. While you can use unsweetened cocoa powder in recipes, cacao is much better for you as it retains all its nutrients and wonderful antioxidants. It can even send moods soaring. What’s not to like?

Cinnamon. This natural sweetener is a traditional remedy for digestive problems and tastes great added to your porridge.

Eggs. Organic, free-range eggs are worth the extra cost, as you know what the chickens have been fed, meaning it’s all free from chemicals. I hate the idea of battery hens too, so I always buy organic chicken, and would rather go without if I can’t find organic.

Green tea. I always have a cafetière on the go, full of green tea.

Healthy oils. As well as my Lucy Bee, I keep a bottle of Udo’s oil in the cupboard for endless body-loving benefits.

Himalayan pink salt. Not all salts are equal! This pretty salt helps to balance the body’s pH levels, as well as aiding nutrient absorption.

Nuts. Brazils, cashews, walnuts, pecans and almonds are all brilliantly healthy and versatile. Their oils are especially beneficial.

Seaweeds. These are great to throw into meals and cooking as they’re high in calcium, can alkalise the body and can even purify the blood.

Seeds. I use all sorts of seeds, from pumpkin to sunflower and chia. Try sprouting alfalfa seeds, so easy to do and wonderfully healthy. They make a lovely topping for dishes or filling in sandwiches.

Spices. Keep a range, ideally buying them whole and then grinding them yourself in a nut and seed or even coffee grinder, for fresh and cheaper blends. If you make too much of any spice mix, store any extra in your empty Lucy Bee jars.

Sugar alternatives. I love stevia, agave nectar, maple syrup, manuka honey and coconut sugar, and use them in recipes and baking in place of processed sugars.

Superfoods, to add to smoothies. Lucuma, spirulina, maca and chlorella are my favourites.

Turmeric. Not only does this add an amazing depth of colour to foods, but it brings with it lots of natural anti-inflammatory properties, too. I love sprinkling it over fried eggs.

Xanthan gum. Wonderful for gluten-free cooking.

Essential equipment

As well as fully-stocked kitchen cupboards, a range of equipment makes preparing food easier. My must-haves include:

Blender

Spiraliser. This handy gadget turns vegetables into long, fine strands that can be eaten in place of pasta, as in my ‘courgetti’ recipe.

Thermometer or Thermapen

Seed and nut blitzer (or coffee grinder)

Cafetière, for green tea.

Digital scales, for easy, accurate measurements, especially of very small quantities.

Food processor

Garlic slicer, whilst not completely essential this handy gadget saves time and effort, plus it means your hands don’t end up smelling overwhelmingly of garlic. Bonus!

Juicer

Good-quality spring-form cake tins, to make it even easier to remove your favourite cakes from the tins.

Heavy-based saucepans. If possible, it’s really worth investing in these as the heat is evenly distributed.

Steamer. Steaming retains all the nutrients in vegetables, but if you don’t have a steamer, place the vegetables inside a metal colander, pop this on top of a large saucepan or pot, fill the pan with just enough water so that the colander isn’t touching it, then bring to a gentle simmer and cover.

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