Despite what I wrote yesterday, I am still somewhat confused; and, I’ll have you know, I am not alone. The clematis under my kitchen window – the one with the pink, frothy, saucer-sized flowers - is clearly not ready for it to be Fall, or October, for that matter. The other day she merrily threw out a pile of buds that I just know are going to burst into bloom later this week. It’s all this blessed sunshine – day after day, week after week of 70 – 80° days. The calendar says it’s October though, and I believe it. The signs are there. Daisy has started sporting the beginnings of her winter coat, I’m driving to work in the dark, and the shops are full of pumpkins. Or at least, pumpkin-y *things*.
It’s hard to miss a holiday in this country. You can unquestionably rely on stores across the nation to let you know what flavor of wreath you should be hanging on your front door, and just exactly how many days you have left before the next big thing punctuates the calendar, no matter what the weather may be up to. As soon as pictures of chalkboards bearing equations pop up, and the ads declaring, “Roll up! Roll up! Buy 3 pads of paper and a box of pens is free!” start clogging your mailbox, you know, for sure, that September is coming. Then it’s just a short stroll down the road to Fall with its golden leaves pirouetting to the ground, cool, dark mornings, and Halloween candy dripping from every retail surface. The weather may look like summer up here in Seattle, but we’re going to be trick-or-treating before you know it. It’s a reminder that life rolls on, regardless.
All this talk of holidays made me think about chocolate. And what with the leaves turning their heads to the bright hues on the other side of the spectrum, and all the pumpkin hoo-hah going on, orange has been on my mind, too. Chocolate and orange has always seemed like a rather special combination to me, and I believe something chocolate-y and orange-y might help us ease into Fall.
If ever there were a compelling reason for renewing my vows to chocolate while the rest of the world tries to tell me it will make my back-fat spread like wildfire and my thighs resemble orange peel, it would have to be you. You deserve chocolate. Not that cloying, sugar-laden stuff that screams at you like a tantrumming toddler wanting to be picked up every time you walk past it. No. You deserve the pure, unadulterated kind. The kind that will make your taste buds sing while your fat runs headlong for the exit. The kind of chocolate that is another matter entirely. And, given that you responded with such unbridled enthusiasm when I proposed eating chocolate for breakfast two weeks ago, it seemed entirely appropriate to publically declare my commitment to the humble cocoa bean.
It wasn’t my intention to use chia seeds when I started gathering ingredients on the counter-top this morning, but after a rather bleary-eyed spot of fiddling and mess-making – in my pyjamas, I might add – I realized those tiny black flecks of super-power would be the perfect foil for a cup of lumpy cottage cheese. Ah ha! I suspect you were anticipating yoghurt. I simply decided, as I reached into the ‘fridge past the pale green leeks, smoked bacon, and piled-high boxes of eggs, that it was high time cottage cheese got it’s fifteen minutes of fame. Not as sweet as yoghurt, and without that tell-tale zing, cottage cheese makes a splendid – if slightly lumpy – base to work with. It’s also cheaper than Greek yoghurt – and that’s something not to be scoffed at these days.
- 1⅓ cups / 14 fl oz. unsweetened thin coconut milk
- ⅓ cup chia seeds
- 1 TBSP pure, unsweetened cocoa
- Zest from ½ an orange
- 1 cup / 8 fl oz. non-fat cottage cheese
- 1 orange, peeled
- 6 tsp. Xylitol (or equivalent)
- 1 TBSP cocoa nibs
- Pour the coconut milk into the blender and add the chia seeds.
- Add the cocoa powder, orange zest, cottage cheese and orange flesh.
- Blend on low for 2 minutes until the ingredients are well blended, and the orange flesh and cottage cheese pieces are quite fine.
- Do not over blend or blend on high.
- Sweeten to taste with Xylitol or equivalent.
- Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with cocoa nibs and orange zest.