Jake watched as Aunt Nell grated the fresh coconuts he and Jenny had fetched from the beach. Using a serrated tool that Uncle Lonnie had hammered into a piece of driftwood, she went through four coconuts, then reached out for the fresh coconut sap they had gathered earlier. It went into the baking pit, where it bubbled, turning dark and sticky. The kids peered into the pit, fascinated.
“Careful,” said Nell. “Don’t touch. It’s very hot.”
She removed the bubbling sap, and dumped a mound of fresh coconut into the pot, which sizzled as the syrupy substance cooled around it. The smell of burnt sugar filled the air.
A blue pick-up truck pulled into the grassy opening, driven by a burly man with dreadlocks. Nell looked up, her face creased with concern.
“You’d better come. The kids, too.”
Nell placed the pot of unfinished coconut candy into the sand, and pulled Jenny and Jake into Kanu’s pickup. They bumped over the clearing and sped onto the winding cliff road towards the western shore of the island.
“There,” said Kanu, pointing down the road to where an excavator was poised to begin digging.
“Shoot,” said Nell. “How did they get past the injunction?”
“On this island? What do you think.”
Nell didn’t stop to argue. She ran out of the truck before Kanu could stop her and threw herself in between the excavator and a thicket of teak trees.
She stared fixedly at the machine operator, who froze and shifted uncomfortably before picking up his cell phone.
Jake and Jenny ran after Nell, followed by Kanu.
“Nell, you can’t fight it. Not this way,” said the big man.
“I’m not leaving. This is my land. My land, my mother’s land, her mother’s land, eighteen generations of Kelana land.”
“They’ll bankrupt you with legal fees.”
“They won’t get me to court. I’m staying right here.”
“You’re just one woman. You can’t stop them alone.”
“She’s not alone,” piped a small voice. Jenny put her arm around Nell’s leg. “I’m staying too.”
Jake grasped the other leg. “Me too.”
The twins held onto their aunt, who smiled at Kanu. “You see? I have reinforcements.”
Kanu shook his head wryly.
“All right. I’ll go to the village, see who else I can get.”
“And the coconut candy! Don’t forget the candy, Uncle!”
They all laughed, as Kanu retreated, leaving the family standing under the shade of the trees, sheltered by the scent of hibiscus.
- Combine coconut sugar, coconut milk/cream, water, and salt on stove.
- Bring mixture to boil then reduce heat to low, stir/whisk until coconut sugar begins to caramelize, about 20 minutes, make sure it doesn't burn/stick to bottom.
- Add more water if it hasn't caramelized enough after 20 minutes and keep cooking til color gets darker.
- Turn off heat, add vanilla, add coconut and mix until coconut is well coated and mixture is sticky & pliable.
- Spoon onto parchment-lined baking tray and shape into coconut candy.
This recipe features in Phoenix Helix’s Paleo AIP Recipe Roundtable.