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Food and Drink

First Post of the Year

And it’s about hot chocolate…

I’d fancied making this vanilla hot chocolate mix ever since I heard about it on Twitter earlier in December. It sounded pretty simple to make. I already had homemade vanilla sugar but not four US cups worth so I only made a quarter of the mix. I also added up both the chocolate quantities into one although I did use two types of chocolate since I had some plain chocolate from a friend for Christmas. The majority of the chocolate I used though was ultra cheap supermarket chocolate and the resulting drink was excellent!

The hardest part was grinding down the chocolate. I used my Kenwood food processor and it still took some time. As the recipe calls, I had roughly chopped the chocolate. In the processor I soon ended up with what resembled chocolate boulders. I pulsed and used a variety of the other speeds. The chocolate ground down but it also compacted under the blade so I had to switch it off and break up the compacted bit with a spoon before running the blade again.

Here’s my reduced quantities.

8 ounces chocolate

1 US cup vanilla sugar

1/2 US cup cocoa (I used Cadbury’s Bournville cocoa)

Even making a small amount still filled this large tin. This is part of a set that Doug bought for me some time ago with a fab cup cake design.

The tin I used to contain my hot chocolate mix

And this is what the resulting mix looks like.

Essentially it looks like something you’d buy in a store.

Epicurious suggests using 1/2-1/3 cup with 8 fluid ounces of milk. I opted for the 1/3 and it was very rich. I still can’t believe how good this was considering the cheap chocolate I used.

I have now given up on trying to get the photos in this post to centre and to stop the text from going where it shouldn’t! Argh! I used to have this problem with Typepad as well.


Thanks for all the birthday wishes and for the kind comments about Freda.


This is the new Selfridges store in Birmingham.

Last week I spent a lovely birthday first of all at Gardener’s World Live where I bought lots of plants including some nice organic herbs, followed by a trip into Birmingham. Andy used to work there and thought that it had changed a great deal in fifteen years.

Some of the herbs have now been planted in the garden but the others will have to wait a little while. Our cherry tree has grown fruit for the first time since we moved here nearly nine years ago. We’ve had a problem with ants farming aphids on the tree. I don’t like to use chemicals in the garden and over the years haven’t really got around to sorting it out. But this year something seems to have changed because the tree had a good amount of fruit. I picked some from the lower branches on the weekend and Andy picked the rest yesterday. So, tonight I’m making cherry pie. With luck it’ll be damn fine cherry pie! But we’ll have to see!

I’m now on leave from work until next Tuesday. Tomorrow it’s Freda’s funeral so we’re travelling up to West Wales for that. Then on Thursday we catch an early plane to Paris. We’re staying there for four days and I hope to meet up with Becky one afternoon in Lyon while we’re there!

So, it’s been a busy week and there’s still much to do. I have to sort out my packing and mail off a knitted birthday present that’s a bit late. It’s a pair of socks knitted in Lorna’s Laces Sport in Grays Corner for my friend Anne who lives in London. She doesn’t read this blog so there’s no danger of spoiling the surprise!

I made the cherry pie and it was a sucess. Had fun using my cherry stoner – first time I’d used it since I bought it about eight years ago. I found a recipe for a Cherry Macaroon Pie. I’ll link to it when I find the recipe again but basically it’s topped with a mixture of coconut, egg and almonds. It was gorgeous and looked very nice too. Mmmmm I’ll have to make one again. Good job that there’s half a pie left in the fridge! 🙂