It's so interesting to me how the body doesn't remember pain. As any scientist will tell you, it's super necessary for us to forget what hurting feels like, to ensure the human race can continue...to get tattoos. And also give birth. On a smaller scale, hunger works like that. When you are hungry, it's all like "I could definitely eat an entire cheesecake and probably a large bowl of chowder; I also think that seventeen is a good quantity of whole grilled eggplants for one human to consume. God I want some Nando's."
And then when you're feeling nauseous and the thought of food leaves you blank and numb, suddenly it's like...why do humans eat? What possible joy is there to be derived from food? Do the words "food blog" seem really weird to you? So it's like...you write about food? That seems confusing? And so it goes, round in circles. Don't even get me started on that "wait why do humans drink?" feeling that I get when hungover. Aren't humans funny!
Anyway the point of all this high level impressive science talk is that I made this dark cocoa and olive oil sorbet simply because I was hungry for it. The ingredients seemed so rich and alive and I wanted to see how the flavours would work together. I'd been given a bottle of Seresin Estate olive oil, so aggressively green that the overture from Wicked would play in my head every time I looked at it; and had some organic cocoa that I was given by my godmother a while back, soft and dark like iron sand. I made it and ate it, and it was incredible. I photographed it, and it looked really pretty. And now that I've come to write about it, I'm, well, not feeling very good. But this is my opportunity to write, and I am not going to let a mere thing like the sight of food making me recoil suspiciously get in the way of this super important blog, especially since I only just relaunched it with this shiny new pretty look. You know that "mere flesh wound" bit from Monty Python? (If you don't, just ask literally any baby boomer and they'll enthusiastically recreate it for you.) That's me with this blog.
The thing is, I do remember this sorbet tasting unbelievably good: pitch-dark chocolate flavour saved from throat-burning intensity by all the sugar, with the glossy olive oil adding the slightest suggestion of black pepper and some general lusciousness. If you use a more buttery, less grassy olive oil it will absolutely be delightful, but I like how this particular one brought out the almost meaty richness of the cocoa. In case all this talk of meat and grass and pepper sounds unhelpful, like, please know that this sorbet is honestly just massively good with enormous chocolatey flavour and a pleasingly yielding texture. The icy coldness of it all just makes the taste of chocolate even more delicious.
dark cocoa and olive oil sorbet
a recipe by myself.
- one and a half cups of good dark cocoa
- one cup of sugar
- two and a half cups of boiling water
- two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- a tiny pinch of sea salt
Either in a bowl, or in the container you plan to freeze it in - and you know I went for the latter - carefully mix the cocoa and sugar together so they form a sugary cocoa-y dust. Slowly pour in the olive oil and salt, and mix in a little. Add the water, a little at a time, stirring slowly till you have a thick, dark soupy liquid. I keep saying to do everything slowly because it's really easy to fling clouds of cocoa everywhere or spill the lot, or at least it definitely is for me.
Stick it in the freezer, and give it a stir every hour or so - normally I wouldn't make you stir it this often but this is just to keep the olive oil all fully incorporated. After a few hours it should be frozen fully and ready to spoon into waiting mouths.
Possibly more exciting than any aspect of the flavour that I can lay an alarming quantity of adjectives upon is: you can make it in the container that you're going to freeze it in, thus avoiding the horror of washing one bowl. You're using a lot of cocoa, but I do urge you to buy as good a quality one as you can muster - it doesn't matter what brand, as long as the fat content is at least 20g per 100g of cocoa. At least. It'll just be all palely not-quite-chocolatey without it. I just love ice cream so much and don't want you to end up with frozen garbage! On the upside, water is free and sugar is really cheap and usually someone in your flat has a bag of it anyway. One other point about this sorbet: if you don't get the chance to stir it every hour or so, the olive oil will obstinately separate from the water and freeze solid on its own: this is actually not the end of the world. It is, however, also science. Just break up the frozen oil by stirring it in - any remaining bits of it have the exact texture of nice chocolate and taste not unlike it too, so no harm done.
Leaving ice cream to the side for a minute: something in my life that I've been immensely proud of is being a contributor to The Toast website. (Noted readers include Hilary Clinton, I've just found out.) The Toast closed its doors this week, which left a particular emptiness in my heart and/or soul - it was always such a warm, safe place where I could go for an absolute escape; to find myself in the incredible specificities of the writing or to learn a ton of new stuff. It was a kind and clever and beautiful website and I'm bummed that it's done but I'm so happy that I got to be a part of it with my Crush Cake series. I don't know where I'm going to take the series next - maybe I'll pitch it to someone else, maybe I'll just let it be, but either way I feel like you should definitely read my two favourites: the profiterole mountain I made for Lucy Liu, and the giant bagel that I made for Sandy Cohen.
I know it's the middle of winter here in New Zealand and tucking into food that you've wilfully frozen seems counterproductive but let me remind you of one of life's greatest pleasures: sitting on the floor in your underwear with the heater blasting artificial warmth your way as you merrily eat vast amounts of ice cream. The very minute I feel like not-nauseous again - and I hope I did an okay job of convincing you to make this sorbet in spite of my present lack of enthusiasm - this is what I'm going to do. I hope it's soon.
If you liked the look of this you may also want to suss out my recipes for lemon poppyseed ice cream, quince sorbet, lychee and cucumber sorbet, and this cocoa sorbet recipe I blogged about in 2010 which inspired today's recipe.
title from: Evanescense, Bring Me To Life. Do not come into my blog and imply that this song does not hold up. Also don't not try to analyse whether all the double negatives I've used just now render my point meaningless.
Beyonce, Sorry. You can really just count on Beyonce, can't you? This is from her brilliant and important visual album Lemonade and if you haven't watched it yet I strenuously insist that you make time for it; it'll improve your life, no biggie.
The 1996 song Jellyhead by Crush was already fairly forgotten as far as 90s nostalgia goes but even more injurious, you could only find an amazingly cheap-sounding house remix on YouTube. Today I discovered this terrible quality version of the original song, and it's honestly one of the best pop songs of all time and even though it sounds like it was recorded through a sock I'm so happy to hear the original again finally! (As in, for the first time since 1997-ish.)
next time: I found this broth recipe that looks super cool, and as broth normally makes me all like "ah yes, lightly salted water" the fact that I'm interested in this recipe is surely indicative at all of its potential.