I’m a firm believer that spending at least one minute every day doing something completely ‘unnecessary’ will make a difference to your mental well-being.
My project today: DIY hot chocolate recipes that don’t require an inventory or a chocolatier’s dedication – just 3 seconds and some kitchen staples to re-invent an ‘ordinary’ indulgence and start the day on a different note.
1. SEA SALT
A pinch of coarse sea salt (from mineral-rich oceans and lakes) adds depth to your favourite cuppa.
2. ICE CREAM
Think: Molten brown perfection – melted ice cream, thick frothy chocolate and interesting favour infusions. Anything goes here: Baileys, earl grey, durian, coconut or toasted marshmallows ice cream…
Chilli = pain = the release of endorphins that induce a sense euphoria. And of course, combining ‘happy’ food with chocolate is a no brainer – chilli flakes or hot sauce make interesting (but not everyday) combinations.
4. VANILLA EXTRACT
A whiff of vanilla has mood enhancing and anxiety-relieving benefits, according to aromatherapists. And it makes creamy milk hot chocolate varieties that much richer and flavourful.
Get your antioxidant fix in your hot chocolate – studies suggest that this spice contains free radical fighters and reduces inflammation. Spiced hot chocolate is also apparently one of the first versions enjoyed by the Aztec and Spanish.
6. NUT BUTTER
These are chockfull of unsaturated (good) fats, omega-3 fatty acid and fibre. Processed peanut butter (less healthy) will work, but raw nut butters such as hazelnut and almond are even better. It’s like imbibing a melted sundae.
To get thick, soup-like Spanish hot chocolate, half a teaspoon of corn flour with real chocolate bits will do the trick. It’s chicken-soup of the soul, but sweeter.