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