Veggies on the counter

Citrus Salad with Basil-Coconut Sauce

Posted in desserts by veggies on the counter on January 30, 2015


I always do my food shopping on Saturdays. I go to the farmers market in the early afternoon and buy fresh fruit and vegetables for the week. Unless I have friends coming over for dinner, I almost never plan what I’m going to bring home – I just buy seasonal and fresh produce. Last Saturday, the market stalls were filled with tons of oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons. Being a citrus lover, I couldn’t help but buying some, and on the way back home I even manage to peel and eat a giant orange while at the same time carrying all the bags packed full of fresh produce.


Back at home, I fantasized about baking an old fashioned orange cake with a beautiful orange glaze, but then I just thought that the fruit was so delicious and fresh that throwing it into a cake wasn’t the best way to make it justice.

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I remembered years ago seeing Jamie Oliver on a show making a savoury basil sauce to go with a raw tomato salad, and that idea kind of got stuck in my head and ended up being the inspiration for this dish. The combination of flavours might seem unusual but it works incredibly well. I ate the salad as an afternoon snack but it could easily be served as a light dessert. Needless to say, there’s room for adaptations here: you can omit the grapefruit if you want to (subbing it for more orange and tangerine), or you can take a different route, by using pineapple instead of all the citrus (I bet it’s equally delicious).


Citrus Salad with Basil-Coconut Sauce

Serves 2

Note: all the fruit was weighted after being peeled.

For the salad:

185 g / 1 large grape fruit

166 g / 1 large orange

75 g / 2 small tangerines

2 Tablespoons dried coconut

a small handful of goji berries

for the basil-coconut sauce:

18 g / 1 medium bunch basil leaves

4 Tablespoons coconut milk

2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup

In a small skillet over medium-high heat, toast the coconut until it’s fragrant and just beginning to brown.

Cut the orange and grapefruit into 0,5 cm round slices. Split the tangerines into segments and remove the pits (if they have any).

In a blender, combine all the ingredients for the sauce and process until smooth. If it’s too thick, add an extra tablespoon of coconut milk.

Put the sliced fruit in a serving plate and sprinkle with the toasted coconut and goji berries. Drizzle with the sauce and serve immediately.


Tangerine Cups with Almond Cream

Posted in desserts by veggies on the counter on February 10, 2011

I’m finally on vacation. I’ve been having lots of time to sleep (and, quite frankly, I can sleep a lot these days), getting some vitamin-D from the sun that has been unexpectadly shining every single day since February – well-known for its rainy days – started, and reading and cooking lots. And today, I thought we could chat a bit about desserts. I think I’ve already shared with you that I’m not a sweet tooth, which makes me a particular picky person when it comes to make/eat desserts. Cakes and such always seem to me to be a bad option: after a great first or second course, all I want to have is a refreshing, fruity dessert, and not particularly a slice of cake, which usually makes me feel heavy and ready to nap the all afternoon. Don’t get me wrong, I do like cakes, but I always prefer to have them with a cup a tea in the late afternoon or in the morning, along with a cup of dark, hot coffee. So, the kind of desserts I’ve been trying to make lately are those that privilege fresh fruits and bright, light flavors: gelatins, panna cottas, steamed fruits (such as pears and apples) and fruit puddings tend to be my favorite options.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is not that much different, in terms of method, from that Vegan Panna Cotta I’ve posted a while ago. The fresh juice of sweet, in-season tangerines, is combined with agar agar to make an animal-free kind of gelatine, accompanied by a mildly sweet nut cream and topped with some shaved dark chocolate. Working with agar-agar flakes is not always easy, but once you get the right ratios, you’re good to go. From my experience so far with this fabolous seaweed, I can tell you that it’s always a good option to use few amounts of it: 2 teaspoons, not heaped, are enough for 600 ml of liquid. More than that, and you’re gelatin you’ll be too hard and have a weird, kind of artificial texture. I’ve been making a couple of notes on other ideas for quick, simple, and fruit-based vegan desserts, so expect some more to show up here in the upcoming days/weeks.

Tangerine Cups with Almond Cream

(for 5 servings)

for the tangerine gelatin:

600 ml freshly squeezed tangerine juice

2 teaspoons agar-agar flakes

3 tablespoons regular sugar

a couple tangerine wedges, pitted

for the nut cream:

100 grams cashews or almonds (I used the latter), soaked overnight

175 ml (¾ cups) almond milk

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

shaved dark chocolate, for garnishing

1. In a medium saucepan, add the tangerine juice and the agar-agar flakes. Whisk well and bring the mixture to a boil. Once boiling, decrease the heat to a minimum and, whisking constantly, let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the agar-agar flakes are totally dissolved. Let cool the mixture for 3 to 4 minutes.

2. Distribute the gelatin equally among 5 glass cups and place 2 to 3 tangerine wedges over each individual serving. Let the gelatine cool completely to room temperature and, once cooled, refrigerate it for at least 2 hours before serving.

3. Drain the almonds. Process all the ingredients for the nut cream in a food processor, until smooth and well blended. Add a bit more almond milk if you want your cream a bit more runny.

4. To serve, scatter a generous tablespoon of the cream over each gelatin cup, and top it up with shaved dark chocolate. Serve immediately or keep it refrigerated until you plan to serve it.

recipe inspired by Jamie Oliver. Jamie’s original recipe can be found here