These two drink recipes from Flora Shedden are perfect for a cosy Bonfire Night.
CHILLI HOT CHOCOLATE
South Americans have long been championing this combination of spicy and sweet, and rightly so. I love hot chocolate to be quite rich and bitter, so this recipe relies solely on any sweetness from the chocolate and the cinnamon. But if you are used to a much sweeter affair, add a wee spoonful of sugar, or honey as suggested below. If you are feeling extra indulgent, you could serve the hot chocolate with a dollop of whipped cream, some chocolate shavings and a slice of chilli.
700ml (1¼ pints) milk
3 small red chillies, halved, deseeded and cut into thirds
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
200g (7oz) dark chocolate (55–75% cocoa solids works best), finely chopped
250ml (9fl oz) single cream
tiny pinch of salt
clear honey, to sweeten (optional)
In a large saucepan, heat the milk, chillies, cinnamon sticks and vanilla over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat, cover with a lid and leave to stand for 10 minutes to allow the spices to infuse the milk.
Put the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Strain the infused milk on to the chocolate. Stir the mixture, then transfer to the same saucepan in which you heated the milk along with the cream. Heat gently over a medium heat, stirring until well combined. Add the salt, then taste the hot chocolate – if you find the mixture too bitter, add a wee squeeze of honey and taste again to check the sweetness.
This recipe was drunk at the bonfire where I had my first kiss. Surprisingly, I remember the taste of the cider a lot better!
MAKES 1 LARGE PANFUL
1.5 litres (2¾ pints) dry cider
125ml (4fl oz) Calvados
500ml (18fl oz) cloudy apple juice
75g (2¾oz) light brown sugar
rind of 1 orange, cut into thick strips
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
5cm (2 inch) chunk of fresh root
ginger, peeled and roughly sliced
3 star anise
Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a slow simmer over a medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and allow to mull for 30–35 minutes. Serve warm in glasses or mugs.
Gatherings is available on Amazon.