I am picturing the horror that this post title will send through orange haters, and can only apologise even as I smile at the thought of your reaction. For those of you who think oranges are best served whole, and never paired with chocolate, feel free to look away. For the rest of you? Settle in and enjoy.
|Whole oranges, pureed|
Early March brings more family birthdays, including my mother-in-law's. Last year, you may remember, I made an orange cake that was lovely but which did not taste of oranges. This year, the request was for an orange and almond cake. A quintessential gluten-free option, I knew I had to nail the orange component this time around!
|Orange and almond cake|
I followed a highly reviewed recipe from Taste.com.au, and as I made no changes other than shaping the cake as a circle instead of a heart, I won't re-post it here. I was intrigued, though, by the method used with the oranges: boiling them whole until tender, and then processing them rind and all until pureed. Being gluten-free, the cake also called for 5 eggs, and I wasn't confident enough to mess with egg replacer in a 5-egg cake. Thus, it wasn't vegan.
The cake was well received by 6 of the 8 people who tried it (the youngest child and Mr Bite found it too zesty), and I enjoyed decorating it with crushed biscuits.
To complement the cake, I made orange chocolate truffle balls following another recipe on Taste.com.au. I made a few adaptations to make these vegan, so am posting my version below. They were decadent, semi-sweet, and provided just the right amount of orange.
|Orange chocolate truffle balls|
Before getting to the dessert items, we had a picnic in Perth's Kings Park for the main component of dinner. This outing met with a number of unexpected challenges, starting with a concert blocking access to the main car park and our intended picnic location, and progressing through various family members being separated from our main group.
My sister-in-law and her three children ventured to walk from their parking location to where the rest of us were picnicking, which took them longer than expected and meant it was dark by the time they arrived. King's Park is a vast place to be walking when it is dark! Moreover, the father of that family set out to drive their car to our picnic location, but never made it. It turns out he couldn't find where we were, and not having his mobile phone with him, he drove all the way home again in order to ring us from there.
By the time we had worked out where my brother-in-law had got to, it was very dark and we decided to eat without him. That's just as well, because when driving back to the park, my brother-in-law mistakenly turned into the entrance ramp for Perth's east-west tunnel. You know that feeling when you get on (or off) a freeway without meaning to? There is no recovering, and in this case, my brother-in-law had to drive through the tunnel and circle back through Perth to reach us. I think he may be able to claim the longest ever journey from one side of King's Park to the other.
While waiting, we played with the glow-sticks pictured in my last post, which proved entertaining for children and adults alike. They are fun for photography too!
By the time everyone was located and we had returned to my mother-in-law's house for cake, we were well and truly ready for dessert. The cake and truffle balls did an excellent job of providing the sugar kick we needed!
Orange chocolate truffle balls
These rum-free balls are a twist on traditional rum balls
Makes about 24 small truffle balls
Food processor required
50g pitted prunes, roughly chopped
Scant 1/4 cup water
100g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70% cocoa), broken into pieces
60g non-dairy spread (I used Nuttelex)
125g Nice biscuits (Australians) or Graham crackers (Americans), or other vegan-friendly plain biscuits
40g raw hazelnuts
Zest of 1 orange
1 tsp rum extract, optional
Cocoa and desiccated coconut, for coating the truffle balls
Place the prunes and water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring regularly. Remove from heat and set aside.
Combine the chocolate and non-dairy spread in a heat-proof bowl, and melt over a saucepan filled with water or on low power in the microwave.
Process the biscuits, hazelnuts and prunes in a food processor until well chopped. Add the orange zest and melted chocolate mixture and process until just combined.
Refrigerate the mixture for at least 15 minutes. When firm, use a teaspoon to scoop small truffle balls and roll them between your hands to shape. Coat in cocoa or desiccated coconut, and allow to chill in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.
Have you lost anyone on outings recently?!