Alcoholic hot chocolate
A good pick-me-up for when you're feeling down; exhausted; depressed; cold; in need of chocolate; in need of sugar; in need of a hot, milky, boozy drink; all of the above.
I had an all-of-the-above need that wasn't going to be assuaged by cocoa powder in hot milk, as good as that can be. Chocolate was called for. (actually I had a raging need for a slab of chocolate cake, but that wasn't gonna happen at 10pm...) I remembered a "recipe" for alcoholic hot chocolate in Nigella's Feast and gave it a go.
Loosely, you put in about 50g dark chocolate in a little saucepan with a cup (250ml)of milk and a cinnamon stick. Let it all heat up and melt and turn the colour of Willy Wonka's chocolate river and get all cinnamony. Then add a teaspoon of honey and a dash of vanilla extract (or paste in my case. I love my new vanilla paste) and simmer for a little longer. Don't let it boil over or you'll have a heck of a mess to clean up and that's not what you want at 10pm when you're hanging out for your hot chocolate. Then add a dash of alcohol; just a teaspoon or so because it's quite pervasive and you don't want to kill all those other spicy, honeyery, vanillaery flavours. Nigella suggests rum; that'd be great. But we don't have any rum. I used whisky. And the next night when I decided it was so good I had to repeat the experience, I used brandy. Both are great. But go easy on them.
This beats the pants off my usual dissolved cocoa powder and milk in the microwave thing. It'll be great in winter.
(Incidentally the cup in the photo is possibly the one thing my brother and I may come to blows over when we set up our own houses. It was our great-grandmother's tea cup and is totally unique in that it holds a lot, but is also quite fine and not chunky. My brother has a long history of turning sweet biscuits into a revolting-looking tea-soaked porridge in this cup. It's always the first cup to be used after the dishwasher finishes, and I've been known to rinse it free of gloopy biscuit mush instead of getting a clean one from the cupboard! Many attempts have been made to replicate it and all have failed. For us it's one of a kind.)