Grandads Coconut Buns
With the recent situation, and supplies for many things being limited, I’ve decided to give these recipes a try, on a smaller scale, and take some photographs to go with them. My very own Covid-19 creative project. First up were the Potato Floddies I shared a few weeks back, and today I have for you Coconut Buns.
My family history, and history in general, has always been something that fascinates me. In school my Great Grandparents, I call them Nan and Grandad, were the subject of many of my projects because they had so many stories to tell.
When Nan moved into the retirement home last month I found some items that belonged to my Grandad – photos, certificates and a tatty notebook. Dad and I quickly flicked through them, with Dad pointing out people like Uncle Len and Auntie Greta, but Grandads notebook particularly interested me.
I knew my Grandad was in the Coldstream Guards, but I didn’t know that during the Second World War he was a Messing Clerk. This meant he was trained to cook and feed soldiers on the most basic of rations. His notebook contains many interesting things like how to butcher a cow and the heating instructions for an army stove, but the most fascinating thing for me are the recipes. They’re simple, wholesome and easy to make is big batches.
The recipe in the notebook calls for enough ingredients to feed over one hundred men. Now I like a challenge, so I scaled down the ingredients and then converted them from imperial to metric measurements. You can see why I wasn’t so hopeful of this recipe working out…
But it did!
I had no idea what a Coconut Bun from the war was, or even looked like. Whilst writing out and mixing the ingredients I realised the recipe was very similar to that of a scone. What also lacked were cooking instructions – Grandad’s notebook simply states “Mix all ingredients together, then bake”. Not to worry, I’ve made scones before, and it turns out that method works just fine.
When baked and cooled my initial thoughts were confirmed and as I split open a warm bun I could smell the coconut. Given jam was a luxury during the war, I opted for a scraping of butter and enter another level on the scone/bun front. Who knew something so simple would taste so good!?
So you can give these a try yourself, below is my scaled down version of Grandad’s recipe. They also got my Nans seal of approval!
- Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas 7. Line a baking tray.
- Put the flour, coconut, baking powder and sugar in a large bowl. Add the margarine and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the milk and mix to a soft, sticky dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface, knead lightly.
- Form into a ball and flatten it out to an inch thick.
- Cut into 8 triangles and place them on the prepared baking tray.
- Brush the tops of the buns with any milk left in the jug.
- Bake for 12–15 minutes, or until the buns are well risen and a pale, golden-brown colour.
- Lift onto a wire rack to cool. Eat as fresh as possible.
To you Grandad, Nulli Secundus