Chilli hot chocolate, 16p, and a broken foot, priceless.

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This morning I woke up, walked out of the bedroom, skidded down the stairs, and crashed my foot into the wall with the full force of my rapidly-descending body slamming behind it. I spent the rest of the morning in Charing Cross A&E, where despite looking extremely light on staff, I was seen relatively quickly, by a doctor who used to be a psychiatrist and before that lived in the Phillipines (we had a great food chat!) I had my wonky-looking foot X-Rayed by a very kind radiographer, the doctor set it and strapped it up, and I cleared a good deal of my work diary for the immediate future. Walking with a stick on bruises and fractures and sprains is not really conducive to prancing about in a kitchen testing recipes, well, not as early as Monday, anyway.

BUT, I made a New Years resolution to cook or make something new every day – so apologies that today’s may be fairly low level, but I can’t stand unaided right now and I’ve sprained my right shoulder, so chopping and slicing and dicing is temporarily beyond me…

However, it’s something I’ve been meaning to get to grips with for a while, so simple it may be, but it’s also delicious, and comforting. Ladies, gentlemen and non-binary readers, I bring to you an oh so simple chilli hot chocolate…

Serves two (you’ll probably want both!)

500ml milk (can be made with 4 rounded tbsp skimmed milk powder and 500ml water, 14p* – for a vegan version this is absolutely delicious with almond milk!)
50g dark chocolate (or more if you like), 17p*
1/8 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes, 1p
1 teaspoon sugar, optional.

Grab a bowl and a small saucepan – the right sizes so the bowl can rest on top of the pan without falling in or touching the bottom. Now put a few inches of water in the pan, but the water mustn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Sounds more complicated than it is, I promise. The cooking term for this (for the uninitiated) is a ‘Bain Marie’, and a lot of cookbooks dictate that water touching the bowl will burn the chocolate and make it taste bitter. I love a bit of theory, me. Are you all set? Then we’ll begin.

Heat your water on a medium heat and break the chocolate into squares. Pop it in the bowl, with the chilli, and stir gently to melt it.

When the chocolate is melted and glossy and delicious looking, add a splash of milk to thin it out, stirring well. Add a splash more, stir, splash, stir, until all your milk is incorporated. Sounds like a faff, but I found out the hard way that just slinging it all in a pan and cranking it up impatiently leads to a mug of warm milk with chocolatey lumps floating in it, which just isn’t nice. Unless you like that sort of thing.

Anyway, when it’s a nice thin liquid consistency, remove the bowl and pan from the heat. Tip out any remaining water from the pan, place a sieve or tea strainer over it, and pour the hot chocolate through it to catch the chilli. Pop it back on the heat, crank it up to medium to heat through, and then ladle into mugs and enjoy.

Simple. Comforting. Warming. Bliss.

Jack Monroe. Follow me on Twitter & Instagram @MsJackMonroe

*Prices based on Sainsburys Basics where available and Sainsburys own brand. Skimmed milk powder £1.15/400g. Dark chocolate 35p/100g. Dried crushed chilli flakes £1/32g. Subject to change, as these things do, and similar items available at other supermarkets for similar prices.

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42 Comments »

  1. Recipe will have to wait – it’s 22:22 right now, and all chocolate has been eaten already… but had to post to send healing thoughts! Get well soon!

  2. Sorry to hear of your crash, Jack! Hope you’re literally back on your feet soon. In the mean time, do take it easy…we can wait. 🙂

  3. Hmmm… just for the record (and I think it’s ridiculous, too!) you do know you weren’t supposed to go to A & E, don’t you? A & E is for life threatening injuries only, and after a shock like this, you are (apparently) meant to be compos mentis enough to self-diagnose, decide that your injury isn’t life threatening (and I bet it felt it!) and get yourself to a minor injury or walk-in (hobble in, in your case!) centre. In practice I think CX is one of the few hospitals sensible enough to have a minor injury centre which you get triaged to on presentation…….

  4. Ouch. Healing wishes coming your way and thanks for the recipe, though I think the circumstances should have given you a pass on the resolution.

  5. Chocolate is full of iron and milk is full of protein and calcium, sounds like the perfect thing to heal broken bones, best make a gallon or two! Get well soon.

  6. Here’s to a speedy recovery. I hope you heal quickly as we can’t have you breaking those New Years reductions can we 🙂

  7. If you add a little corn flour to the last bit of cold milk it thickens the hot 🍫 chocolate beautifully.

    Anyhoo… Hope your not in too much pain 😞 sending get better vibes xox

  8. Love & hugs Jack – take it easy until it’s on the mend – everything else can wait. I hope you’ve got help with the kids.

    • I’m an author (first book was in the top of the charts for weeks), a journalist, a newspaper columnist, and I develop recipes for consultancy work. I also work with charities, food banks, and anti-poverty projects. I work around 60 hours a week.

      As for being a ‘poor role model for my kids’ – my kids see me get up in the morning and prepare their breakfast, and pack my own work bag for the day, sharpening my knives and wrapping them up if i’m off to the restaurant or off out to teach or cook somewhere. They see me cooking, developing recipes, sitting at the kitchen table writing, they know I have a job. Sometimes I’m away until late at night, or have to leave very early in the morning. They know I have a job. My son looks for my books whenever we are in a supermarket or book shop. He sees me on TV. He knows I have a job.

      You, however, commenting anonymously on blogs trying to bring people down – what exactly do you do that makes you such a great role model, exactly?

    • Thank you Jason for your wisdom and judging comment of no value to anyone here. Great Job. Keep up the great work. Could you just next time hit the Close button on the page first! Thanks!

  9. So sorry to hear of your accident, I hope you are getting lots of TLC and putting your feet up ( literally!) Thank goodness for the NHS , I have much to be grateful for in that respect , long may it and you continue . A big hug and hope you are feeling much better soonest !

  10. Hope your foot isn’t too painful today, rest and get well soon… and thanks for keeping going with wonderful ideas despite injury x

  11. Well, thank goodness for the NHS! And yes, a broken foot (or leg, in my case), can be priceless. It gets you out of lots of things you might not really want to do, even though it might stop you doing what you want to do. In my case, “At least I won’t have to work nights for 3 months” Every cloud…and all that.

  12. You are obviously not visiting supermarkets, in the manner you did previously.
    At the moment fresh milk is a loss leader everywhere, 89p for 4 pints.

    I am retired, and DO give to charity on a regular basis, and appreciate that those living on “the breadline” have important choice so make on grocery expenditure, but good advice is to checkout prices online, http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk is a brilliant web site. No computer – No problem, use the facilities at your local public library, find out all the best priced items at all supermarkets.

    • I don’t have a lot of milk, due to a fluctuating intolerance to lactose (some days more severe than others), hence the powdered stuff. My son has lactose free, as he’s lactose intolerant too, so no, I don’t know the price off the top of my head, but that’s more to do with allergy than being ‘out of touch’!

  13. Ouch, I bet by this morning you are aching ALL over. Hope you are soon feeling better, in the meantime we will be very happy with easy and quick recipes that keep you AND us stood at the kitchen worktop for the least possible time, it’s the time of year for them after all the faff and cooking at Christmas and New Year. Easy, simple and quick.

  14. Oh dear, and it’s no help now, but those of us who have broken bones in the past (twice in the last 10 years for me!) at least know exactly how you feel, and sympathise. When you feel a bit better, look on it as an opportunity to catch up on your reading/websurfing/knitting/other things you don’t usually have time for – it makes it more bearable. Meanwhile be aware that you’ve got every single one of your readers and followers sending you healing wishes and vibes.

  15. I follow you in Central Illinois. AS far as the rude comments from people: Instead of mad, I feel sorry for them. How sad their lives must be that they find the time, and use it in a manner that is rude, inconsiderate and with no justification to make such comments. What sad people! Thank you Jack for you fun, entertaining and delicious articles. Thank you for a breath of fresh air and smile to the day. Thank you for sharing with everyone. If I ever chose to not want to read something from someone I do this crazy thing called closing the page/window on the computer. Maybe they just aren’t smart enough for that! Get better Jack! 🙂

  16. Dear Jack, I couldn’t be more proud of you than if you were my own daughter! I’ve been trying for years to teach them, ( my daughters ) , the essence of all round economy of buying , preparing and cooking good food. Now that’s a skill that has been lost and urgently needs to be re-taught. It seems there are now two generations who don’t know how to eat well on little money. Keep up the good work girl. I was a child in the fifties who’s mother came from a poor back ground and also coped with the war time rationing and all that entailed. So making do and mending and stretching your food money is in my genes. I wish you much strength to your elbow girlfriend!! From Nanna Eileen (now in South Africa) xx

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