Recently I stumbled across some coconut palm sugar, which got me thinking about family holidays…true story. And more on that coconut palm sugar later. As soon as the eldest child in your family reaches the age of independence, the chances of everyone coming together for a getaway slim down quite dramatically. It gets harder and harder to gather the troops. I find that a little sad, as when I was younger there were few things I loved more than family holidays. And now that I’m all grown up, there are few memories more special to me.
I will forever cherish the memories of our yearly camping trips at Depot Beach with family friends. Days spent boogie boarding and keenly waiting for the “lolly man” to come around with his truck (when killer pythons and nerds reigned supreme). Showers cost twenty cents. We’d spend our nights playing spotlight and singing creative camp songs, often involving rude words which none of us fully understood. Occasionally we’d have fish and chips in town at Batemans Bay. Too many packets of instant noodles were consumed. And a few books were read. But mostly we ran and swam and played. Special times.
Memories of our holidays to Noosa in September are also very dear to me. The five of us (plus a friend or two) would road trip up to Queensland and rent a holiday apartment in Noosaville, just outside of Noosa. Those 2-3 weeks were complete and utter perfection, and were my absolute favourite time of year. Hours spent in the salty sea and reading books on our towels, burying my brother’s feet in the sand and devouring $1 Betty’s Burgers for lunch, frantically asking mum and dad for coins so we could purchase a snow cone from “Hey Bill! on the beach” before his little cart drove away (blue was my favourite flavour). We’d save then spend our birthday money on new board shorts or bathers from the surf shops on Hastings St (and feel incredibly cool afterwards), and delight in an afternoon Massimo’s Ice-cream before heading back to our little apartment in the evening to barbecue and swim in the pool. We’d get sandy and sun-kissed and I’d cry when it came time to leave.
I recall one Noosa holiday with my family…we were on our yearly pilgrimage to Eumundi Market where, surrounded by earthy creations and kooky characters, we’d wander the stalls, shielded from the harsh September sun by towering trees. After spending my pennies on some wooden nicknack I’d never use again, I stumbled across one culinary concoction that has forever stuck with me: Balinese crêpes with coconut and palm sugar. My ripe fifteen-year-old mind was completely blown. And I’ve been, well, a little obsessed with palm sugar ever since…
It’s taken me 11 years to recreate this heavenly dish, but the belatedness of my delicious deed was forgiven as soon as Ben and I took our first bites. And after the second and third bites, I was a little bit in love with myself. Just quietly.
I might never be able to go back to those beloved family holidays, but I’ll always have the beautiful memories…long drives, mintie wrappers, bad pub meals and brilliant barbecues, the sea, the sand, endless days and ice-cream cones.
Now I also have these crêpes. And that’s pretty wonderful too.
Crêpes with Toasted Coconut, Grilled Banana and Coconut, Palm Sugar Syrup
This recipe requires you make the crêpe batter 2 hours ahead of time (or overnight).
1/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar – From Health Food Shops. You can use regular palm sugar with a handful of shredded coconut added if you wish. Or simply omit the coconut component all together.
1/4 cup water
1/2 Vanilla Bean, seeds scraped out
1/3 cup Shredded Coconut
Spray Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 bananas, peeled and cut lengthwise down the middle then cut into thirds.
1. Make your crêpe batter and put in the fridge as per instructions for 2 hours or overnight.
2. To make your coconut palm sugar syrup, place the sugar, water and vanilla seeds in a small pot and heat over low-medium heat until bubbling and the sugar dissolves. Cook for a few minutes until it reduces slightly and thickens. Turn off the heat and allow to cool, before pouring into a serving jug.
3. In a non-stick pan, toast your shredded coconut over low heat for a few minutes until very lightly toasty (not too golden). Place in a little cute bowl for serving.
4. Heat a non-stick pan over low heat, add some spray oil and add your banana pieces. Allow to caramelise, cooking for ~10 minutes. Turn them over half way through so both sides turn golden brown. Start cooking your crêpes while the banana is cooking.
5. Using a good crêpe pan (non-stick with a low rim), cook your crêpes using Clotilde’s brilliant instructions (follow them closely). Keep your cooked crêpes warm on a plate covered with foil (and do the same on a smaller plate with your cooked banana).
6. To serve, place one crêpe on your plate. Add a couple of banana pieces, scatter the toasted coconut and then drizzle with coconut palm sugar syrup. Roll the crêpe and serve with a dollop of coconut yoghurt (or ice-cream) and an extra cheeky drizzle of syrup if you’re keen. Repeat with remaining crêpes and goodies until you’re satisfied.