Friday 20 June | 2014

tamarama beach
“Papaya wakes the palate, coffee kickstarts the brain. Your key turns in the ignition, the sunroof slides back and Sydney gets on its way. Workday mornings are serious with cereals and the taste twist of sheep’s milk yoghurt, or a five-grain porridge simmering while the shower steams. Weekends watch breakers roll into the beach as butter sizzles in the pan and ricotta pancakes are the only ones to flip.”
Bill Granger, Bill’s Sydney Food, 2000.

coconut bread
Sydney’s beautiful Tamarama Beach might be a few thousand kilometres away, but the iconic coconut bread from Bill’s breakfast menu will take us all there in an instant. This coarse-crumbed, dense and divinely scented loaf comes together quickly with a few staple cupboard ingredients, and tastes even better the following day served in thick toasted slices with butter and powder sugar. Good luck getting it to last that long.

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Bonus feature – after a few minutes of baking, the coconut aroma will begin to perfume your home! It will also wake up any peacefully sleeping children and upset your neighbours no end.

coconut bread
One bite and you’ll know it’s going to be a great weekend. For a true Sydney experience put on a pair of boardshorts, hit up the Sydney Morning Herald online, drink an almond milk latte and make a complaint about the freezing 20-degree weather.

Coconut Bread


2 eggs
300ml milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 ½ cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup caster (fine) sugar
150g shredded coconut
75g unsalted butter


Whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla.

Sift flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the caster sugar and coconut, and stir well to combine.

Make a well in the centre and gradually stir in the egg mixture along with the melted butter until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix or the loaf will be tough – a few lumps are fine.

Pour into the prepared loaf tin, and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the bread is lightly brownedand a skewer comes out clean.

Leave in the tin to cool for 5 minutes, then remove to cool further on a wire rack.

Wrap the loaf in tinfoil overnight before fiercely defending any leftovers next morning. Surviving slices should be sent to the toaster before being coated in butter and doused in powder sugar. Enjoy!

coconut bread
Notes to Ingredients

Bill’s original recipe calls for shredded coconut, which is somewhere in between desiccated coconut and coconut chips, and apparently non-existent in Germany. I did find this very coarse desiccated coconut however, from the Basic range at the Basic supermarket chain, and it worked really well.

You can substitute vanilla essence with a packet of vanilla sugar (Germany), or the seeds scraped from 1cm of vanilla bean, which I think is worthwhile. Note that the original amount of cinnamon was reduced from 2tsp to 1tsp – it’s enough.

After you’ve made the original loaf, try adding raspberries, crushed pineapple or lime zest to the mix to really intensify the summery notes.

Coconut Bread
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