DO­MES­TIC DILEM­MAS

Don’t be daunted by that diva de­meanour – Fri­day’s very own chef Sil­vena Rowe is happy to an­swer all your kitchen queries

Friday - - DOMESTIC -

QA

chocoholic friend’s birth­day is com­ing up and I would like to make her some­thing de­li­cious that will last a while and be a pretty gift. Any sug­ges­tions?

AI can think of lots of op­tions! Choco­late-coated pop­corn is ideal for cosy movie nights at home, truf­fles flavoured with fruit are per­fect snacks, and my favourite – choco­late bark – will make her fall in love with choco­late even more. There is noth­ing sim­pler than this. Here’s my recipe:

Cover a 22x33cm bak­ing sheet with alu­minium foil. Place it in the re­frig­er­a­tor un­til you are ready to use it.

Peel half a navel or­ange with a veg­etable peeler, en­sur­ing you do not peel any white pith as it’s bit­ter. Then slice the or­ange peel into very thin strips that are about 2cm long.

Next, toast about 2/3 cup of shelled hazel­nuts un­til slightly brown, let them cool then rub them to re­move their skins. Once most of the skins are re­moved, chop the hazel­nuts coarsely.

Place 225g of bit­ter­sweet or semisweet choco­late in a heat­proof

The beauty of this treat is that it’s not only easy to make, but it’s ex­tremely ver­sa­tile too

bowl and then place the bowl over sim­mer­ing wa­ter. En­sure the bowl doesn’t touch the wa­ter. Stir the choco­late un­til it is melted com­pletely and the mix­ture is smooth and glossy.

Now add half the or­ange zest and half the hazel­nuts. Mix well and im­me­di­ately pour the mix­ture over the bak­ing sheet that has been in the re­frig­er­a­tor.

Use a rub­ber spat­ula to spread the mix­ture into an even layer that is about 1cm thick. Scat­ter the re­main­ing or­ange zest and hazel­nuts over and sprin­kle with a pinch of coarse salt.

Re­frig­er­ate again to let the choco­late set. This should take about half an hour. Once the choco­late hard­ens, break it into chunky pieces and put it in an air­tight container. Re­frig­er­ate it again. If you keep the choco­late bark re­frig­er­ated and in an air­tight container, it will last a very long time.

The beauty of this treat is that it’s not only easy to make, but ex­tremely ver­sa­tile as well. You can use any dried fruit or nuts that your friend likes, you can spice it up a bit with a touch of cayenne pep­per or a touch of cin­na­mon pow­der, and you can even make this with white choco­late.

De­li­cious!

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