Indulge in this delightful delicately flavoured desert on Valentine’s Day (or any other special occasion for that matter), totally guilt free! Agar is a vegetarian gelling agent made from Japanese sea vegetables, available from most health food stores some online supermarkets. Serves: 4
• 1 x 400ml can coconut milk
• 200ml almond milk
• 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
• 8 cardamom pods, seeds removed and crushed
• 1 teaspoon rose water (optional)
• 3 tablespoons agar flakes
• 3 tablespoons maple syrup
• 200gm strawberries
Pour the almond milk in a saucepan. (Do not turn on the heat yet). Take a sharp knife, score down the length of the vanilla pod to open and then scrape the seeds, which resemble a black paste like mixture, out with a teaspoon and add to the milk, stirring well so that you can see the tiny black seeds evenly dispersed throughout.
Then crush the whole cardamom seeds with a rolling pin to release the seeds inside. Discard the shells and crush the seeds with the rolling pin and add to the milk.
Next sprinkle the agar flakes onto the surface of the cold milk. Do not stir. Now gently heat, without stirring, until boiling. Simmer until the flakes have fully dissolved (approx. 5-10 mins), stirring occasionally. Once all the agar has dissolved, add the coconut milk, maple syrup and rose water. Heat for another couple of minutes frequently stirring to allow the flavours to infuse, then remove from the heat.
While you allow the mixture to cool a little, thinly slice a strawberry and place one slice in the bottom of 4 ramekins or dariole moulds of your choice, then pour the mixture into the moulds and when cool place in the fridge to set.
To serve carefully run a sharp knife around the edge before tipping upside down and giving a little nudge onto serving plates. Decorate with the remaining strawberries or any other berries of your choice.