Saturday, 18 August 2007

Hot Chocolate with chilli (dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free)

When the lovely Mike Thomas asked to interview me about my blog, of course I was delighted. As he is from the USA, I had hoped that might mean an all-expenses trip to New York. Alas, he was already in London and offered to pop over.

On the day of his arrival, I left nothing to chance. Having been up until the small hours cleaning the house, I dispatched my husband and all children off for the day. They were not permitted breakfast, and as I shooed them away, ‘Go to a farm or something’, I’m not entirely sure that they were all dressed. Never mind, dear hubby is always bemoaning his long business trips, some good quality bonding time was in order.

The house empty, I pondered what to wear. When I left Paris in July, I packed for a slobby summer in the country. A rifle through my wardrobe confirmed that the only possible option for the interview was a short, brightly patterned skirt, a skimpy vest and a pair of wedges.

Now, you will be aware that first impressions are key, and I had given the moment of our meeting careful thought. As he swept up our long drive, I decided I should be in the garden, artfully gathering roses. I opened the door and my breath was taken away. Not by the arrival of the handsome Mr Thomas, but by the wind,
‘Cook me it’s cold’ I thought.
A glance at the swimming pool confirmed that a gale had blown up; there were waves lapping against the sides. A further rummage in the wardrobe produced a floaty wrap, I figured an Animal hoody wasn’t the look and feel I was after.

So, hiding my goose bumps with the wrap, I arranged myself by the rose bush. Trying to hold a wrap, cut roses, not get scratched and look alluring is no mean feat when it’s blowing a gale. As I heard wheels approaching I would assume my pose, but time after time the pouting, meaningful look I tossed over my shoulder, (think Mother Theresa crossed with Gisèle), fell on a red-eyed bleary farmer driving a John Deere and scowling at me. The farmers are bleary at the moment because they are spending every waking hour transporting straw bales, ploughing and furrowing. They are red-eyed and scowly because I am yet another outsider pushing up the house prices and dressed in ridiculous clothes to boot.

Of course, as Murphy would have it, at the crucial moment of Mike’s arrival, the wind had blown my basket of roses over and I was bending over to retrieve them. No man should have to view the Pig’s rear in a ruched up mini without a good thick pair of beer goggles. I brushed off this poor start, beamed and shook his hand. The poor man had obviously been expecting summer, he was clad in a short-sleeved shirt and was almost frostbitten.

He made lovely comments about our beautiful Norman longhouse – tactfully not mentioning the weedy drive – and was in raptures about the old wooden beams, the beautiful floor and the delightful wood burner. In fact I had to quickly light a fire to warm the poor man up ( he declined the Animal hoody), and instead of offering him the fruit punch I had prepared, I handed him a cup of my delicious hot chilli chocolate. He made the correct orgasmic noises, and the interview was off to a good start. We spent a lovely hour chatting, the only shame is that he didn’t bring a photographer.

Now, in the manner of John Fowles in the French Lieutenant’s Woman, I’m going to let my (other) authorial voice have a word, and give you a choice of endings.

Reader, did you enjoy that story? It’s a heart-warming tale isn’t it? You may like to keep that story, or you may prefer the version where the lovely Mr Thomas sent me an email and asked me to submit my own interview online. You may even wish to believe the ending where I leave my husband and children and drive off into the Normandy sunset with Mr T, just stopping to drop his hire car back at Avis. Or indeed, the one where I shoot to fame and fortune and only ever wear mink again.

Whichever version you choose, I urge you to try my hot chilli chocolate in these wintry August days, it will heat you and soothe you. And please, have a read of our interview.

I do so love The Silly Season.
Hot Chilli Chocolate
When I was breastfeeding my fourth (allergic) baby, I embarked on a vegan diet in order to remove all the allergens that triggered her eczema and hives, from my diet. I remember evenings standing in front of open cupboard doors, gazing hungrily at food I couldn't eat, and trying to find a way to satisfy my empty stomach. (Note, it's a fantastic way to lose lots of weight). I came up with some mad, hybrid drink that involved cocoa powder and Bird's Custard Powder. This little tipple is sooo much better. If you are feeling particularly blue, you might want to up the chocolate content.
270 ml rice milk
125g gluten-free dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
1 tbsp gluten-free cocoa powder
1-2 tbsps Cointreau (optional, but why wouldn't you?)
Sugar to taste
Dried red chillis, ground up to make flakes, you'll only need a sprinkle (here's the kind I mean)
  • Put the rice milk and dark chocolate into a saucepan. Over a very gentle heat, stir until melted, all the while inhaling the beautiful fumes
  • When the mix is good and thick (add more chocolate if you want thicker), add the cocoa powder and stir until it is all combined
  • Put the Cointreau into your waiting mug, and a cube of sugar if you desire
  • Pour the hot chocolate into the mug
  • Stir
  • Grind the red chillis in a blender or mortar and pestle. Sprinkle over the top of your chocolate, careful, they really burn
  • Curl up somewhere snuggly and sip in a kittenish manner. Put on your mink coat if you desire.
  • That sounds so delicious I'm going to make one right now. I think you should too
© Pig in the Kitchen 2007

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Potty Mummy said...

Dear Pig,

I too had that moment standing in front of open cupboard doors where I was confronted with the stark choice of breast-feeding my eczema-ridden child or eating normally. Unfortunately for said child, my stomach won out. (Note: he is now the healthiest 19 month old you are ever likely to meet or strain your back picking up...). If I had known recipes like this existed then, not only would I have kept the Breast Feeding Police off my back, but I would have been a size smaller... Typical.

mutterings and meanderings said...

I saw your interview the other day Pig and wondered when you were going to tell everyone about it!

Elsie Button said...

am looking forward to reading your interview now! what a shame mike didn't get to try the chilli chocolate. i am off to make it now - my husband, just the other day came back with a bar of organic chilli chocolate so he is going to love this drink!

Suffolkmum said...

Great interview - couldn't believe the beginninig - I was sooooo impressed!

Miss Thistle said...

How fantastic! Perhaps fame is beckoning, I hope so. I can't wait to name drop when you are on the cover of 'Good Housekeeping' or even 'The Sainsburys Magazine'... but judging from the short skirt and wedge heels perhaps 'Vogue' will give you a call. Keep blogging on dear Pig, we'll all buy the magazines (how about Pig in the Kitchen figurines) - Ok so now I'm getting carried away but what's new.
Love Miss T x

Akelamalu said...

Loved the idea of you gracefully cutting flowers for your basket - that damn wind spoiled it all!

Great interview Pig.

Marianne said...

What are you doing to me? This looks absolutely gorgeous. Complete comfort stuff. I may be in need of it right now.

Frog in the Field said...

Oh Pig, how simply marvellous!!
Ha Ha, I love your photo links, very, very funny. My husband loves the John Deere, (he only has 8 and there's always room for one like that, he says).
And of course your interview is excellent. Well done.
Top Tucker too!

debio said...

Gosh - turn my back for two minutes and you've found fame!

Well done - good interview!

elizabethm said...

good interview but not as good as the blog itself - loved the idea of the artfully staged rose picking, sadly I might do this too. might also have to try the chilli chocolate

lady macleod said...

you cheeky wench! Well done on the interview whatever the circumstances. I can picture you in the garden, gale and all. I must pop over and read your interview now.

Akelamalu said...

PS You have an award please see my post today 26/8/07. :)

Smalltown RN said...

wow that sounds so yummy....funny I should come across your blog...I have just embarked on a gluten free diet for my stomach ailments but also for my allergies and's a journey starting off but I think it will be worth it in the end...I found you through alelamlau's blog...and I see she has an award there for is very well deserved....

Tapline said...

This is my first visit to this blog...Love to Cook.....My daughter is a whatever In Reiki, She did her thing over me and a beautiful multi-colored light appeared above moving in a circular motion. It was warm and beautiful.....I am referring your blog to her because she is into this type of cookery..I have Diviticulitis. Therefore, I cannot eat things, that I love like tomatoes and cucumbers etc...thinks with seeds. My downfall. Theses are excellent dishes, or anyway they sound that way....I ramble. Stay well....

Cindy said...

You have an awesome blog here!

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Hello PM, i empathise with your dilemma. it's so hard to take the plunge and try a diet for allergies when the doctors and consultants are really non-committal. Glad his eczema cleared up though.

M&M, yes, my interview is now officially open for public viewing

EB, i think chilli and chocolate is the future. Hope he liked the drink.

Suffolk Mum, yes, the beginning was rather fantastic...especially the imaginary bits!

Miss T, fame, fortune, mink coats, Cover shoots, I'm sure they are all just around the corner...(pig snorts)

Thank-you Akelamalu, I don't recommend gathering roses in the wind!

Marianne, it is a very comforting drink...i hope you don't need it for bad reasons, i will be catching up on your blog v. soon!

FITF, glad you liked it. 8 John Deeres??!! what fantastic drunken after-dinner entertainment. Do you get to drive them?

Debio, hello, i think the fame exists only in my head...

elizabethm, thank-u for kind comments, i bet the roses in your garden are more beautiful.

Lady M, yes, I can but cheekily dream!

akelamalu, thank-you dear, i'll be over to collect it soon, you're very kind. (pig blushes shyly)

smalltown rn, hello and welcome to you. Good luck with the diet, I really hope you notice a difference. It took about 2 months for me to see a difference in my daughter's skin, persevere! I hope some of these recipes can be of use.

Tapline, welcome! The reiki thing sounds amazing! I hope your daughter likes my blog. It must be hard dealing with Diviticulitis, my Grandad suffered with it too. Thanks for visitingx

Cindy, bless you love, glad you like it!

Mike said...

Thanks for naming the drink after me. I'm honored.


Pig in the Kitchen said...

Mike, you are very welcome, and I'm rather honored that you stopped by for a look!

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prague lodging said...

Wow it really looks yummy...Wish I could try it..