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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.