“Underlined passages, fragments of happiness that traverse the body and raise bridges all around because elsewhere and in the wild blue yonder they say there’s euphoria.” – Nicole Brossard, from ‘Soft Link 1″.
This is home, finally! And it feels good. To be back, that is. I never thought I would openly profess that. I was contented with lush rolling mountains, piercing turquoise oceans, palm trees and pale sand. Efflorescent underneath sharp streaks of hot sun. But somewhere, my lifeblood was beating from a far different direction, and the life I’ve created at home, was waiting for my return. My desire has always been to escape and run, to be part of some kind of nomadic, aimless existence. And I continue to feel it over-and-over again. Never enough horizon, never enough experience. Call it a slightly romanticised perspective, but whatever. It’s universal escapism in its first and finest form. Exisiting is exhausting, and I’m still trying to live with it.
There’s something about travel that conjures up a mixture of emotion. It’s in my contention against time. It’s the desire to move forward and forget. It’s in the pull to relive and thrive in pain, in utter existential turmoil. It’s my culmination of past and future lives that so often return to haunt my present body. It’s relationships that I love-to-hate and hate-to-love. I’ve always said that this year, my intention was to remove those one sided relationships from my life, relationships that have remained too long. You know, the kind of relationships that stomp on the throat of your own song. It’s tragic, but it’s alive. And like anything, it’s a process that starts like this.
Another intention was to explore and develop alternate recipes, recipes that don’t exclude and are somewhat kinder for your health and the environment in which we so often abuse. There’s a time and place for a chocolate fudge layer cake, just like how there’s a time and place for a vegan and refined sugar free mousse. And that’s how it should be, really. A little bit of this, a little of that. So here’s the recipe for this Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Cardamom Coconut Cream. It’s delicious, and so incredibly easy – the mousse is made with dark vegan chocolate, a dash of maple syrup and aquafaba. I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t slightly turned off by the idea of aquafaba. But it’s a technique that I’ve grown to love, and use often as an egg white replacement (think royal icing and dacquoise layers). You whip the chickpea water, until it’s stiff like a meringue, then fold it into the dark chocolate mousse mixture. Chill it, then top the mousse with a cardamom infused coconut cream and a flourish of cacao nibs. It’s a cinch.
This Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Cardamom Coconut Cream is a little lighter than the usual all-dairy, all-egg (or even avocado based) mousse, but while all the more delicious. It’s rich (a little bit really does go a long way), but lightened to compliment by the addition of cardamom coconut cream. It’s extremely aerated too, my favourite part. Vegan Chocolate Mousse with Cardamom Coconut Cream is incredibly delicious. And not just delicious for vegans, or for those that aim for a more sugar free lifestyle. It’s purely delicious, perfect for everyone to enjoy.
VEGAN CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH CARDAMOM COCONUT CREAM
Cardamom Coconut Cream:
250 grams full fat coconut cream
15 cardamom pods
1 vanilla bean pod, split
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Place the coconut cream in a medium sized saucepan.
Grind the cardamom pods in a mortar and pestle until each pod has cracked open. Alternatively, you can use the back of a knife to crush the pods open. Place the cardamom and split vanilla bean pod in the saucepan with the coconut cream. Cook, over medium heat, until the mixture is just beginning to reach a light simmer. Lower the heat to medium-low and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Let the mixture boil for 2 minutes, then turn off from the heat and set aside to infuse until at room temperature, about 1 hour. Strain the coconut cream into a medium sized bowl, discarding the cardamom and vanilla bean pod. Stir in the maple syrup then place the coconut cream mixture into the refrigerator to chill until completely cold.
Vegan Chocolate Mousse:
200 grams dark vegan chocolate, finely chopped
150 grams full-fat coconut cream
50 grams maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
200 grams tinned chickpea water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
cacao nibs, for serving
Place the finely chopped dark chocolate and coconut cream in a medium sized heat-proof bowl, set over a bowl of barely simmering water and on low heat. Do not let the base of the bowl touch the water. Stir with a rubber spatula, until completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup and vanilla bean extract. Set aside to cool whilst you prepare the aquafaba meringue.
Place the chickpea water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk, on medium-low speed, until foamy. Increase the speed to medium-high, and add in the salt and cream of tartar. Continue to whisk, until the mixture forms a soft but firm meringue, about 5 minutes. Remove from the stand mixer.
Pour the melted chocolate mixture into a large bowl. Add in half of the meringue, and use a rubber spatula to fold it into the chocolate until the mixture is loosened. Add in the remaining half of the meringue, and very gently, fold it in until evenly combined. Be careful not to over fold! This will ensure that the mousse is incredibly aerated. Divide the mousse between 4-6 glass jars, or small cups. Chill until very cold, 5-6 hours.
When you are ready to assemble and serve, take the cardamom coconut cream out of the refrigerator. Then, using an electric whisk, whisk, on medium-high speed, until the coconut cream is thick and firm.
Top each individual mousse with a generous dollop of the whipped cardamom coconut cream and a sprinkle of cacao nibs, if desired. Serve chilled.