Have you got your romantic meal planned? Asparagus? Oysters? Caviar? Perhaps Spaghetti Bolognese a la Lady and the Tramp? Or, are you being whisked off for a slap up meal, after having sipped Champagne in a rose petal bath? Well, if you are like me and not particularly romantic, forward planning, or fond of lolling in baths, this quick and easy recipe is a cheat’s way of getting in the spirit of Valentine’s Day.
The great thing about this quick recipe is its versatility. Not only is it easily veganised, you can enjoy it hot with the frozen berries – iced berries if we are being cheffy – or cold, layered with bananas, yogurt and chopped nuts for a quick parfait. In fact eaten cold it’s a dead-ringer for a certain brand of US pudding dessert that rhymes with ‘yellow.’ But without the colourings, flavouring and general weird stuff.
If you normally reach for a bottle or jar of chocolate sauce maybe give this a try. It’s so easy and delicious you might decide to make it on a regular basis: to pour over ice cream, toasted brioche, waffles or pancakes; or even cold as a dip for fresh fruit. This is a great way of getting kids, big and small, to have a portion of extra fruit as well as being a healthier way to enjoy a chocolate fix. Feel free to adjust the sweetness to your liking as well as add in extra flavours – a few drops of Kahlua for adults, a bit of chopped chocolate for richness, or maybe some rosewater or malt syrup for another flavour direction (the latter to taste like Horlicks!). The recipe is just a template. And, just a thought: homemade body paint anyone? The perfect Valentine’s surprise. Ooh, saucy!
Super-quick and delicious chocolate sauce for use cold or hot. Make it with almond milk to keep it vegan; add grated dark chocolate to make it richer. Why use fat-laden shop-bought when you can make – and customise – the real thing in a matter of minutes?
50g (1/4 cup) grated dark or plain chocolate (optional)
250g frozen berries, such as blackberry, blueberry and raspberry
Pop the cocoa powder, sugar, cornflour/cornstarch, salt and vanilla powder (if using) into a saucepan, giving it a good stir. Pour in one-quarter of the milk and stir to a paste. Slowly pour in the rest of the milk (and vanilla extract, if using), whisking constantly until completely mixed. Slowly bring to the boil – about 4-5 minutes – then turn down the heat and simmer the sauce until thickened – about two minutes. If adding chocolate, do so when the sauce is turned down to a simmer. *If you want to make this like American-style chocolate pudding use double the amount of cornflour/cornstarch.
Uses hot: over berries, ice cream (shown), over toasted brioche, waffles, pancakes; as a dip for Madeira/pound cake