|A recipe inspired by October and the Ramthorpe Funfair|
I absolutely love Autumn. It's my favourite time of year. Yes, it's colder and it's definitely getting darker but I like that. Crisp leaves, conkers, scarves and the smell of bonfires are just some of the things that make October special for me. This month always conjures up birthday excitement and cosy nights in beside the fire. October makes me feel warm inside.
I quite often get asked which of the Bree novels was my favourite to write. It's a tricky one to answer because each of the books has something special and unique about it and each one has memories attached - how I was feeling and what I was doing at the time of writing them. But if I really had to choose I would have to say my favourite book to write was the third book, Bree McCready and the Realm of the Lost. This is partly due to the story being set during Halloween. It gave me such an opportunity to use my senses to bring the story to life.
As a writer you get pulled into the story and therefore it was a delight to experience the Ramthorpe Funfair with Bree, Sandy and Honey. It was a very visual and sensual experience which included all the things that made my own childhood so special around this time of year. Bonfires, fireworks, toffee apples, being outside with your friends after dark, making patterns in the night air with sparklers and warming chilly fingers on a cup of hot chocolate. So what would be a more fitting recipe to offer you than Hot Chocolate? And do I have the most Seriously Decadent Hot Chocolate for you! Weight watchers look away now.
It's a straightforward recipe which will give you enough for about three or four drinks. I put everything in a jar with a lid so I can use it again and again. Here's what you'll need:
6 tablespoons of Cocoa powder
6 tablespoons of milk powder (Coffee Compliment)
1 tablespoon of Caster sugar
1 sachet of Fudge flavour Cadbury's Highlights
4 tablespoons of milk chocolate chips
Marshmallows for the topping
Milk to make
Put the first five ingredients in a jar and shake well. Add three heaped teaspoons of this chocolate mix to a saucepan, add 200ml of milk and whisk over a low heat until melted, warm and frothy.
Transfer to a mug and top with marshmallows.
If you're feeling very sweet-toothed you might like to add some fudge pieces to this for an extra special twist. Now all you need is a dry, crisp evening, a roaring bonfire and some good friends to share the occasion.
"As Bree sipped her hot chocolate, hands curled round the cup, face buried in the steam, she sensed someone staring at her. A hooded figure stood perfectly still amidst the throng of activity. His hands were tucked into the sleeves of his cloak. A memory stirred at the back of her mind, but before she could pin it down the man lowered his hood to reveal a shiny, bald head. He stared at her with eyelids that showed up bright red against his chalk white skin. Black lips muttered something before he turned and walked away, melting into the crowd. Bree searched every face, but he had simply vanished into thin air."
Excerpt from chapter 1 of Bree McCready and the Realm of the Lost.