Saturday 14 February 2015

Self love: Candied Orange and Coconut Macaroons

This week has been all about the love and not because it was the week leading up to V-Day. I call it V Day because it always feels like D-Day, full of expectancy and imminent doom for the majority of those involved. I'm not sarcastic about it and genuinely believe that gifting to those you love, announcing your love, celebrating that other person is magic. I only have two questions. Why do we have to wait until February 14th? Why when we celebrate this special day is it only geared towards the object of our affection and not towards ourselves?

Self love gets tied up with the self help section of the book shop when more and more, I've been celebrating me. I've made decisions that would benefit me, bought myself flowers, made myself lovely warming dinners, taken time to make myself delicious breakfasts and thought about what would make me really happy or feel really special and then I've done it.

So often, there's this obsession with being part of a relationship, having someone to fill a need, that space that only love from another person can fit. The sweet nature of Valentine's Day is beautiful when it's thoughtful but when it comes to last minute bouquets of roses from the petrol shop, I wonder why me buying myself flowers on a random week day or going to the cinema on my own as a treat is odd for some people but last minute Valentine's Day plans and declaring your love for someone on the same day as everyone else is acceptable.

I spent years and I mean YEARS thinking that taking time out for myself was selfish. I love helping others, being there for them, thinking about what would make them feel happy, content, warm, safe, understood. About a year ago, a little birdie told me, "You can't care for others unless you take care of yourself first". It was a golden moment, an epiphany and yet it took me another six months or so until it set in. I moved into my new rental two weeks ago today and walked the length of the coast road. Two weeks later, the ramifications of realizing the path that got me to this place astounds me. There is just no way I would be in the happier, healthier place I am now, happy in my own skin, happy to sit alone with myself and my thoughts, had I not taken the time to include self love in my life.

This Valentine's I've created a seemingly simple dessert that is packed with all the flavors I've been craving during this cold snap. Nothing says love better than candied blood oranges. Even better when they top a lime and coconut macaroon with cacao nibs. This time last year, I was basking in the sunshine in New Zealand. Now, I'm wrapped in a woolly cardigan and thick socks but these macaroons more than satisfy my tropical flavor cravings.

A wise cool dude reminded me recently that food lovingly made, is the most loving gift you can give someone. The thought that goes into the idea, the creating/baking/cooking, the presentation and the loving intention. So in honor of Self Love Day, I've put all that love that I usually dedicate to recipes for others to myself. By all means, share them with those you care about or save them for yourself. Either way, amid the V Day chaos, start making time for yourself and watch your whole world around you change and become upbeat, caring, cozy and loving. It's all about the love!

Happy Self Love Day!

1 Blood orange or Navel orange, sliced thinly
1 cup cold water
3 Tbs caster sugar
1 Tbs elderflower cordial

2 egg whites
1 and 1/2 cups of desiccated coconut
Zest of 1 lime
2 Tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp cacao nibs
1/4 cup rice flour

some more cacao nibs to sprinkle on top

Preheat oven to 190 C
In a pot, add the orange slices, water, sugar and cordial. Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar together-this isn't a meringue idea so just whisk through until it's white and creamy but not fluffy then fold in the coconut, lime and cacao nibs, then the flour. Roll table spoonfuls into your hand into a ball then flatten with the palm of your hand and place on a greased baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Let cool slightly then top with an orange slice and some cacao nibs. Enjoy!

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