I have a -fully disclosed- love affair with citrus fruit. Lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruits, I love them all.
But my favourite, if I ever had to pick just one at gunpoint, would probably be blood oranges.
I love how versatile they are (they work just as well in savoury dishes as they do in sweet ones and are wonderful both by themselves or paired with some more complex flavours). Plus they’re so pretty they make any plate look stunning.
The season for blood oranges is rather short though, so I make the most of them when they’re available. Which happens to be right about now.
So when every food magazine is trying to push more Valentine-evocative strawberry/caramel/chocolate puds, I decided to use the season of love as another excuse to use blood oranges.
Inspired by Terry’s classic Chocolate Orange treat, this gorgeous blood orange salad is both healthy and sophisticated with a touch of nostalgia thrown in for good measure.
It’s vegan and gluten-free (but you’d never guess it from tasting it!), and it’s much quicker and easier to make than it looks, so you don’t have to slave in the kitchen to impress your loved one. Basically the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert!
Healthy chocolate orange (serves 2 – vegan, gluten free)
- 4 blood oranges
- 50g good baking dark chocolate
- 2 tbsp coconut cream
- 1 tsp desiccated coconut
- small sprinkle of sea salt flakes
(Steps 1, 2 & 3 can be made ahead of time, in which case you’ll want to keep the different elements in the fridge until serving time. Steps 4 & 5 however should be done right before serving)
1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Take off the heat, then stir in the coconut cream and sea salt flakes. Put in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.
2. Using a sharp knife (serated ones work best for this), cut away the peel and pith from the oranges, explosing the flesh. Slice the oranges as thin as you can, then arrange the slices onto two small plates.
3. Use a couple of hot teaspoons to form small quenelles of the chocolate truffle mixture.
4. Arrange the chocolate truffle quenelles on top of the orange slices.
5. In a dry pan, roast the desiccated coconut for a minute or so, until it turns slightly golden. Sprinkle on top of each plate and serve immediately.