When I think of what the past few weeks have been like, a French expression comes to mind: métro, boulot, dodo. Translated, it means subway, work, sleep.. that wheel of perpetual motion that keeps the western world turning. Add in long hours of DIY as we attempt to get the house in order, and I’d say that gives you a fair approximation of what my life has been like over the last few weeks. It certainly doesn’t feel sustainable. Last night I got home and realised I couldn’t remember the last time I had a spare moment to myself. And yet, all around me I could see jobs that needed to be done, emails that needed to be written, walls that needed to be painted. So I made myself stop, the only way I know how, by rustling something up that I knew I could lose myself in – my Persian spiced hot chocolate.
If you read my previous post on the weekend about saffron sizzled chicken you will know that while I am a passionate eater of authentic Persian food, when it comes to my own cooking I like to play around a little with the rules. And so this hot chocolate is made from an amalgam of my food memories from Tehran. At my granddad’s house we would often start the day with a simple breakfast of cheese, jam and lavash bread, washed down with delicious honey-sweetened cocoa that my father would make for me. And in the afternoons, we’d have tea and pastries, often scented with rosewater, cardamom, occasionally cinnamon. Over the years those memories have melded together, into one combined, multi-layered flavour – and that’s how this hot chocolate was born. To the honey and cocoa of my childhood breakfasts I added the beautiful spices of my favourite Persian pastries. And as soon as I tasted it last night, all my stresses and worries of the day started to recede. The mellowness of the honey and aromatics of the spices make this hot chocolate linger on the senses, and it is so utterly comforting that you just can’t go back to running round like a headless chicken after drinking it.
So to get you over the midweek hump, and to buy you a few moments of precious you-time, I give you my persian spiced hot chocolate. Find yourself a comfy armchair, switch your phone off for five minutes, and enjoy!
- 3 cardamom pods
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3 drops rosewater
- 1 tsp cocoa
- 1 tsp honey
- 350ml milk (any type, your choice)
- In a mortar and pestle, crush the cardamom pods gently to release the seeds inside. Discard the husks, then grind the seeds to a fine powder.
- Add the cinnamon, rosewater, cocoa and honey to the mortar and mix to a smooth paste.
- In a small saucepan, heat the milk until it is hot and steaming, but not boiling.
- Pour a little of the heated milk (about 3tbsp) into the mortar, and stir well to dissolve all of the spiced chocolate paste. When all of the paste is combined, tip this chocolatey milk back in with the rest of the hot milk, and stir well to combine.
- Serve the hot chocolate immediately, and if you're feeling extra indulgent dollop a spoonful of whipped cream on top!