It seems the nights are drawing in not long after lunch, and snow is falling, I've been enjoying snuggling up with a hot drink. I've got a few favourites, so here they are:
The Cold Buster
My husband calls this my vitamin drink, and I've been needing in lately to help see off one of the many colds flying around. It uses some of the elderberry syrup I made in the Autumn which is apparently full of vitamin C, but I'm sure any cordial would taste good.
Put into your cup: 1 tsp honey (manuka is best for its antibacterial properties), 2 tsp elderberry syrup and a good shake of lemon juice or a slice of lemon. Peel a piece of fresh ginger and bash it with a pestle or the end of a rolling pin and add to the cup. Top up with boiling water and leave for 3-5 minutes before removing the ginger. Inhaling the steam seems to clear my blocked nose and it is very soothing on the throat. I've swapped my breakfast tea for this recently, and it's a lovely way to start the day.
As I'm breastfeeding and trying to conceive, I'm pretty much teetotal nowadays. This is a drink that makes me feel Christmassy without the alcohol content!
Warm a bottle of grape or cranberry juice in a pan along with half an orange and some strips of lemon peel. Wrap half a stick of cinnamon, a few cloves, a piece of peeled ginger, ground/grated nutmeg in a piece of muslin and tie with string. Add to the pan of juice along with a cup of water and boil for about 5 minutes before serving.
Decadent Hot Chocolate
There are few things in life that make me feel cosier than sitting on the sofa covered with a blanket and drinking a hot chocolate. This concoction may be the most decadent version I've ever tried.
Using the cup you will be using to drink from, pour out some milk until the cup is nearly full. Pour into a pan and add 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder and 2 tbsp brown sugar. Put the pan on to a medium heat and whisk until smooth. Reduce the heat and add in a handful of dark chocolate broken into pieces, a strip of orange peel and a cinnamon stick. Keep whisking over the low heat until the chocolate is melted. Allow to stand for a further 5 - 10 minutes. Remove the peel and cinnamon stick and gently reheat. Pour into your mug, top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa. Put your feet up and enjoy!