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Happy St Valentine's Day

The origins of St Valentine’s day can be traced back to ancient Roman times however it was Chaucer who linked it with romance in a poem he wrote in 1381 for the engagement of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. The tradition of giving chocolate on Valentine’s day is thought to have been started by the Victorians when Richard Cadbury made the first box of chocolates. Fast forward 150 years and you can’t walk in a shop at this time of year without fearing that a huge tower of red chocolate boxes might fall on top of you.

Cacao from which chocolate is made is actually very nutritious, it’s high in antioxidants and iron. It is the processing into commercial bars when sugar and fat is added that makes it unhealthy.

This week our recipe is a Valentine’s treat. Velvety chocolate mousse. Don’t be put off by the avocado, it adds a beautiful creamy texture.

150g high cocoa percentage dark chocolate (or dairy-free dark chocolate)

2 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder

2 large ripe avocados

3 tablespoons maple syrup

160g tin of coconut cream

A few drops of vanilla essence

Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Break the chocolate into the bowl and allow it to melt.

Meanwhile, halve the avocados, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh. Place the flesh into a food processor. Add in the syrup, coconut cream, vanilla essence, cocoa powder and pulse for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides with a spatula, then pulse again to combine.

Pour in the cooled chocolate, then pulse a final time until creamy and smooth.

Divide the mixture between six small bowls, refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with a little grated chocolate on top and a heart shaped strawberry. For a wow factor add a heart shaped sparkler.

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