I like the idea of Hot Chocolate, but in reality I find it sickly and have stopped ever drinking it at cafes or at home. This is good old-fashioned Cocoa, from before we got all trendy with Costa and Starbucks and decided that every Hot Chocolate must be bedecked with cream, marshmallows and a fine dusting of sweetened chocolate powder.
This is the Cocoa that our Mums and Dads used to make, and had made for them and which has been cherished by many generations gone by.
If you'd like to make it yourself, it's very simple and you don't need a recipe, it's just about finding what works best for you. Some people like to make a cocoa paste with a little water in a pan then slowly stir in the milk. This way is just plopping the cocoa powder in the bottom of each mug, two heaped teaspoons per person. Then you pour on boiling water, slowly, stirring as you go. Leave some room at the top for evaporated milk, or normal milk, or cream or any non-dairy alternative. Stir in a good teaspoon of sugar, to taste, and enjoy while hot, preferably in the open air or round a fire.
I love evaporated milk, and the real advantage of this ingredient is that you don't have to keep it cool or fresh. The children in the Spiggy Holes story were staying on a little island so this tinned milk was a real asset. I like that fact that the drink isn't too thick, and I think I'll be drinking more of it now that I've got over the idea that it has to be rich. I also had a play, adding spices to the cocoa. I added about a third of a teaspoon of ginger before adding the water, and it gave an extra warming kick. I think it could also be nice with some cardamom or cinnamon, or a combination. Perhaps some orange zest!
Andy and I enjoyed ours after an afternoon of baking, sitting in the armchairs in our kitchen, but I think it would be much more welcome drunk outside. I can picture my friends with allotments filling a few flasks with this to accompany them on a fresh autumnal morning or cold spring afternoon to warm their veins. Good stuff!