Every now and then, a beautiful Instagram catches your eye because it’s so stunning, and the most recent addiction at Coup De Main is 'The Coconut Goddess' - an eighteen-year-old vegan New Zealander called Ashlee Adams, who posts the most delicious recipes.
Her following has amassed to over 40,000, and she’s showing the world that vegan food can be delicious and enticing - but still good for the environment.
Coup De Main chatted to The Coconut Goddess about her following, and reviewed some of her products as well…
“I think I made my Instagram account around 2 years ago, when I was first becoming vegan, after being vegetarian, I kind of just wanted other people to hold me accountable for like, ‘Oh my god, but there’s like cheese over there’ - it’s like extra motivation.”
COUP DE MAIN: Our new issue has a girl-power theme to it, so we’re asking everyone this question: do you think that gender equality does or doesn’t exist?
THE COCONUT GODDESS - ASHLEE ADAMS: In some ways more than others. I feel like boys don’t get quizzed as much for doing things. Every time I’ve done something in my life I’ve been quizzed on it - like when I went on my gap year, when I got my driver’s license, when I started driving my friends (all these adults I knew were like, ‘Why are you doing that?’). But when my brother does it, it’s all good and they think he’s cool. Girls have a lot more to answer for in terms of everything.
CDM: Why did you initially decide to become vegan?
ASHLEE: I’m really overly empathic. By the time you start researching environmental impacts of farming, it’s like, ‘Why am I supporting this?’ And now it’s kind of like a way to make friends now that have the same interests as you already. I met up with this girl in Amsterdam, and we got along like straight away - I’m not saying it’s ‘cuz we’re vegan - but, you know. It’s really handy, I don’t know how else I would meet people on the other side of the world.
CDM: You have such a huge following online, would you ever consider starting a business selling your products or something like that?
ASHLEE: I really want to! The only thing that’s stopping me, is that I live in like the middle of nowhere.
CDM: Where do you live?
ASHLEE: In Pauanui, in the Coromandel. I have to figure that out first, but yeah, I would really love to.
CDM: I’ve seen you talking about making a cookbook, which would be so rad. Heaps of cookbooks these days place so much importance on nutrition and are even vegan-specific - are you thinking about making a cookbook of your recipes?
ASHLEE: I was just gonna do... you know how you can self-publish online? I can’t really be bothered going through the massive rigmarole of finding a publishing house and stuff, I don’t have a physical presence, like The Caker and Little Bird, and Little Kitchen and stuff. So it’d be cool if I just did my own thing, ‘cuz then I can have total creative freedom anyway.
CDM: Why did you decide to start your blog and Instagram?
ASHLEE: I think I made my Instagram account around 2 years ago, when I was first becoming vegan, after being vegetarian, I kind of just wanted other people to hold me accountable for like, ‘Oh my god, but there’s like cheese over there’ - it’s like extra motivation. And then after a while, ‘cuz with my brother if you say vegan he’s like ‘ugh’, so it just became a mission to make delicious stuff, and people will be like, ‘Yum that looks good,’ and I’ll be like, ‘It’s vegan though.’
CDM: I think it’s interesting - people are afraid of being vegan, but I think your posts show people that it’s not that difficult and that you can still eat amazing food. What do you want people to take away from your recipes and posts?
ASHLEE: Providing an alternative, ‘cuz people get caught up, like McDonalds and Peanut Butter Cups and stuff - but I’ll make it for you and it’ll be good for you and the environment! It’s kind of so they don’t have to buy into consumerism, like you can only buy this, and it will only taste this good if you buy it. You know what I mean?
CDM: What was the first thing you ever learnt how to bake?
ASHLEE: I used to bake all the time with Nana, standing on a little stool at the kitchen. We didn’t really make one thing in particular, probably like marble cakes and afghans. So Edmonds Cook Book stuff. And the banana cake.
CDM: If you could recommend people to try to make one of your recipes, which would you recommend?
ASHLEE: I would say those cakes, but I haven’t put the recipe up yet. I’d say peanut butter cups, just ‘cuz everyone knows what they taste like and they’re just popular. But I do really like cakes and things, so maybe cakes.
CDM: If you were on 'My Kitchen Rules' or a show like that, what would be your strategy to win?
ASHLEE: Probably do weird stuff. Like put weird herbs with sweet dishes. I would go all out. I wouldn’t know how to filet a fish or debone a chicken or anything, so it would have to be weird to even get in.
CDM: What do you have left to achieve on your bucket-list?
ASHLEE: I still want to do more travelling.
These cupcakes are described by Ashlee as, “Spiced lemon babycakes stuffed with gooey plum chunks, squirted with a puff of raspberry-swirled fermented coconut oil and rose water frosting, drizzled with a tangy lemon berry sherbet glaze, sprinkled with toasted cinnamon sugar, and FINALLY crowned with a lopsided mini lemon wedge.” There’s so many components in this, but they all work together so well. The cinnamon sugar on top gives them a distinct scent, and biting in to find a plum chunk inside makes for an incredible surprise.
The best thing about The Coconut Goddess, is how she takes something that you eat on a regular basis (Twix chocolate bars), and turns them into vegan goodness - which taste incredible BUT are actually somewhat good for you. If you’re ever after a chocolate overload, then these are for you. Modelled on the Twix bar (but obviously vegan instead), these bars are filled with enormous quantities of chocolate, as well as peanut butter, dates and vanilla. So you won’t feel so bad about devouring them (as I did). These are best after being stored in the freezer for a little while, to keep the chocolate from melting all over you.
PEANUT BUTTER CUPS
Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups have got to be some of my favourite things in the world. So when I saw these I was worried. After tasting them all my worries disappeared. THESE ARE AMAZING. They taste as good, if not better than the original, AND they’re entirely raw + vegan. I ate them entirely guilt free, and they’re something I need to learn how to make ASAP.
PEANUT CHOCOLATE SWIRL SLAB
As already realised in the Peanut Butter Cups review, I kind of have an obsession with the chocolate + peanut butter combo. This slab is essentially made for me - it’s a swirling marbled chocolate with peanut butter, with just the right amount of each flavour to make you want to eat all of it at once. The perfect afternoon snack when you need some sugar to keep you going - this is definitely one of the more simple, yet perfectly executed recipes of Ashlee’s.
Follow 'The Coconut Goddess' on Instagram here.