Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Yet another chocolate dipped treat on a stick recipe!

Oh dear. You're all going to think that I only eat chocolate dipped treats and that I have some wierd obsession with wanting all my food to be either on a stick or stick shaped. I assure you that this is not the case and that next time I'll have something completely different to show you.
It was Father's day this sunday and although in my family it is not customary on Father's or Mother's day to buy lavish gifts, it is customary to make sure all of the family are together for a good meal, normally cooked by me. I'm sure both of my sisters would do the same, I just always get into the kitchen first!
Over the last 8 months, meals in my family have become a little different and sometimes harder to prepare. Last year my father was diagnosed with a major illness that has resulted in a complete overhaul of his diet. He is now a strict vegan, chooses to eat unrefined foods and has almost completely given up sugar. Only on very, very special occasions will he consent to a small bite of what ever delight we are all tucking into.
Savoury dishes are easily prepared for him and it's surprising how much we seem to eat without dairy as a result of his bad news.
Desserts, however, are a bit more of an issue. Natural sugars are, naturally, allowed, but we still have to steer clear of honey and natural sweeteners like agave syrup are allowed in limited quantities. You'd be amazed at how many times I have referred to baby food packets to see how their food is sweetened in order to create something for my dad.

We started our summer evening supper with a mixed bean and red lentil shepherd's pie, accompanied by oven roasted garlic and thyme carrots, creamed spinach, lemon and olive oil spinach and plenty of green cabbage.

Everyone was overjoyed when I brought a plate of pudding to the table that we could all tuck into - chocolate dipped coconut and pomegrante ice lollies!
Please don't be alarmed by how unconventional these desserts seem. Beetroot, yes that's right, beetroot, is fantastically sweet and is not the predominant flavour. It is there as a background flavour and to give an extra colour boost. Wow, does it work!

Flesh one coconut, brown inner skin removed
320ml pomegrante juice (around 8 pomegrantes if you're going to juice them yourself)
240ml agave syrup
390g precooked beetroot
1 tsp vanilla extract
1tbsp lemon zest
Pinch salt
150g dark chocolate (I used a dairy free)
100g coconut oil (I found mine in Holland and Barratt)

Place all ingredients into a blender and whisk until smooth and creamy. This can take up to ten minutes so be patient!
Pour your mixture into any shape of silicone mould that you have - mine was a heart shaped ice cube tray - and freeze for about six hours.
Next, make the chocolate covering by melting the chocolate and coconut oil together until just liquid adn leave it cool. It won't set for several hours if kept at room temperature, so this can be made well in advance.
When your shapes have set, very carefully pop them out of the moulds and gently push a wooden skewer into the centre of each. Don't wiggle them around though - otherwise the skewer will fall out.
Carefully dip each one into the chocolate mixture, being sure to dip a little of the wooden skewer in too, to help create an extra seal. Watch in amazement as the chocolate quickly sets to create a hard shell around the ice lolly.
Store in the freezer until you are ready to serve them - ideally upright in a vase or tall glass for maximum effect!

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