Recipe: how to make coconut milk

Coconut tree in Seychelles

Coconut tree in Seychelles

Today Chef Rufus Elizabeth of Seselwa restaurant at Constance Ephélia Resort explains how to make coconut milk the traditional way.

Coconuts are poetically called ‘suspended water’. They’re used in many different culinary preparations in the Seychelles – the most famous one is probably the kari koko, or curry with coconut milk.

1. To make fresh coconut milk, you need to use a dry coconut. First remove the husk by splitting it on a sharp rock. If you buy it in a supermarket, it will come without the husk.

Splitting coconut husk on a sharp rock

Split the coconut husk on a sharp rock

2. Then, break open the nut. This can be a dangerous operation if you don’t take the necessary precautions. Seychellois do it with a machete… but please don’t try this at home!

Instead, I’d recommend using a pastry roller or a metal pipe. The trick is to place the nut in your hand the right way. It will easily break open if you hit it right in the middle, against the sense of the fibers.

3. Hold the nut tightly in the palm of your left hand, hide your fingers, and hit it with the pastry roll. If it doesn’t break the first time, try again.

4. Place a glass or bowl under to collect the coconut water.

5. Once the nut is open:

  • Sieve the coconut water and use it to prepare a delicious drink. It’s perfect pure and ice cold. Seychellois have it for breakfast to give them strength for the day.
  • You can also mix it with white rum and prepare a delicious punch.

6. Remove the pulp from the shell: one easy way is to use an oyster knife. Protect your fingers as the blade can easily rip against the inside of the shell.

Scrape the pulp out of the coconut

Scrape the pulp out of the coconut

Try to keep at least one side of the coconut shell intact. Seychellois use it a measuring unit and call it the kafoul.

7. Rinse the pieces of pulp. You can choose to keep the brown skin around it or remove it with a knife. Grate the pulp. Seychellois use a traditional grater (a piece of sharp metal on a wooden plank). At home, a blender is probably your best bet.

8. Place the grated pulp in a bowl. Add a bit of fresh water and let it soak for 5 minutes.

9. Place the preparation in a clean cloth. Wrap the cloth around the pulp and press with your hands on top of a bowl. The coconut milk will be extracted slowly.

Sieve milk through the husk

Sieve milk through the husk

To do this, Seychellois use a piece of natural coconut husk. They call it tamis coco.

10. Keep the coconut milk in the fridge until you need it. Keep the dry grated pulp to prepare pastries such as a delicious coconut tart, or a coconut jam.

11. If you want a thicker milk, or coconut cream, allow the milk to rest for 2 to 3 hours. The liquid will progressively split and the coconut cream will stay at the top. Use a ladle to gently collect it from the top.

It may be easier to open a can of coconut milk but what a pleasure to make your own!

 

Wedding bliss at Constance Moofushi

If you’re looking for a beautifully romantic location for your wedding, Constance hotels offer a luxury experience in some of the most breathtaking locations in the world.

Mr and Mrs Smazhenny

Mr and Mrs Smazhenny at Moofushi

Mr and Mrs Smazhenny spent a wonderful month at Moofushi, in our fabulous beach and water villas. During their stay they organised their wedding and then enjoyed the utter bliss of the resort on their wedding day.

We worked with them to make sure it was a magical experience for them and their guests. Highlights of their wedding day included:

  • a delicious breakfast, followed by a morning spa in a spa treatment double room, including a massage and facial for bride and groom
  • a romantic ceremony at the Manta Bar, specially decorated for the occasion
  • a tree planting ceremony so that they could commemorate their special day on Moofushi Island, and see how it has grown when they next return 
  • a special candlelit dinner at Alizée Beach restaurant, with wine chosen by our sommelier
  • delicious wedding cake – vanilla and chocolate with fruit topping
  • rose petal turndown in their villa on wedding night
  • fishing with our diving centre
  • watching a film of their wedding day on the beach later that night.

Check out the great photos of Mr and Mrs Smazhenny’s wedding day that we’ve posted in a photo album on the Constance Facebook page.

And don’t miss our article about The Jewel Island: Constance Moofushi

The secret to beautiful shiny hair

Our Spa Manager at Le Prince Maurice, Sophie Demaret, shares one of her beauty insights.

Sophie Demaret

Sophie Demaret

Today, I want to let you know about an amazing hair product – amla oil.

Amla oil

Amla oil is one of the world’s oldest natural hair conditioners. Used widely in India, it turns your hair into a piece of finery that swirls in the air and shines in the sunlight!

Amla oil is made from the Indian gooseberry (or amla). It comes from the Phyllanthaceae family of flowering plants, other members of which also produce fine and precious oils.

Rich in vitamins A and C, it works like a hair pack on your scalp and your hair. It helps fight dandruff, strengthens your hair and aids hair growth – basically it’s a total hair-care must have.

From the moment you apply it to dry hair, you’ll experience a very pleasant fresh sensation, and you’ll quickly feel the benefits of an oxygenated scalp.

How to use it

When I tried it, I gave my hair a thorough soaking with the oil after a good scalp massage. I left it on for 4 hours, although ideally it’s best left on overnight. After the treatment, I shampooed my hair and – hey presto – it had performed its magic.

After just 4 hours, the results are amazing – beautiful, soft, shining hair.

Constance Belle Mare Plage celebrates Divali 2011

Guests and staff enjoyed a beautiful evening at Constance Belle Mare Plage on Tuesday 25 October, to celebrate Divali, the festival of lights.

Special dishes and decorations

Special dishes and decorations

Our chefs prepared special dishes for the evening, with traditional table decorations created from coloured rice.

Celebrations took place at Indigo and Citronelle restaurants.

The name Divali comes from the word Deepavali, which means ‘row of lamps’.

Divali involves the lighting of small clay lamps (diyas) filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil.

Don’t miss more lovely photos of Divali at Belle Mare Plage and Constance Le Prince Maurice on our Constance Facebook page.

Preparing for the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival 2012

Preparations are well under way already for the 7th Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival, due to take place in March next year.

Gala evening 2011

Gala evening 2011

Bruno Le Gac, our Corporate Executive Chef, gives us an insight into the organisation behind what’s become the most prestigious culinary event in the Indian Ocean.

On the last day of the Festival Culinaire, we’ve already started thinking ahead to next year’s event…

The festival has been extremely successful since it began in 2005. Every year, we work harder than ever to make the next edition even more memorable than the last.

What’s new for 2012?

In 2012, guests will be more involved in the competition, so they really feel the excitement of the competing teams. They’ll feel the anticipation and suspense ‘live’, like on the competitive cookery shows on TV.

Planning next year’s festival

At the end of each festival, we have a debrief with the organisation team to discuss which parts of the program to keep, what needs to be adjusted and what innovations we should introduce to the next festival. From this discussion, we begin to write the programme of events.

The internal organisation in the hotel is a huge task. Chef Dominique Grel and his team have become experts at this. But it’s always a lot of work and requires great dedication.

Choosing who takes part

Then we have to think about who’s going to take part.

The judges and the winners 2011

The judges and the winners 2011

The European chefs

It’s a difficult alchemy to pull off because the professionals that we invite need to connect and share something special together. It’s all about harmony.

Being a food-lover, I like to describe the sense of competition as being akin to chilli. A touch of it is nice to bring a bit of zing, but too much is overpowering and counter-productive…

There’s now a large family of chefs all over Europe who have become friends through the event, and who meet up regularly.

The judges

The choice of the jury members is also extremely important. They must be well respected professionals who can all get along well, even if they have different backgrounds and ideas about what makes a great dish.

The island chefs

Last but not least, we need to select the candidates from our hotels. For the first time this year, we’ll have participants from 6 of our resorts. The process has already begun.

  • First step is a questionnaire.
  • Second is a practical task where the chefs have to create two classical recipes ‘from the book’. No innovation required – it’s all about technical ability and precision.
  • Third and last step is a competition with two recipes to make. The ‘basket’ of ingredients is the same for all chefs, and they are free to prepare anything they want out of it. We want to see technique of course, but mainly we’re looking for talent, creativity, taste and elegance.

The winners earn the right to represent their hotel, their colleagues and their country during the final event that takes place in Mauritius in March.

Let the show begin!

Find out more

Don’t miss our article about the spirit of the Bernard Loiseau Culinary Festival.

And if you want to know more about the event, get in touch with us. You can get in contact with us via Twitter, post photos to Facebook or use the comments section below.

Constance Belle Mare Plage wins International Chefs’ Day Challenge

Winning team from Belle Mare Plage
Winning team from Belle Mare Plage

Constance Belle Mare Plage has won one of the top culinary contests on the island of Mauritius.

Out of a total of 9 teams, Belle Mare Plage won the Best Table Set Up and was overall winner in the Black Box Competition.

Belle Mare Plage presented an elegant and classic table setting.

The general theme was futuristic with plexiglass balls suspended like planets, a small nod to us treating the International Day as a ‘universal’ event. The table design included a dominant orchid floral decoration and handwritten blackboard menus.

All decorations reflected our eco-awareness and included LED lamps, recycled materials and volcanic rock.

The event marks International Chefs’ Day and is organised by the Mauritius Chefs’ Association.