It's wintertime in rainy old Sydney, and after dark, the smell of log fires wafts through neighbourhoods as we walk bundled in thick, woolly jumpers with cold, rosy cheeks. It's a lovely time of year, although one thing is missing from our chilly tableau. Yes, I'm talking about hot chocolate.
'But what about my paleo/vegan/gluten-free/I quit sugar diet', you say? It's no problem health nuts, I got you.
Health foods, like everything else, come in and out of fashion and, for a while now, juices and smoothies are having their moment. Green juices, in particular, have led this charge and, I admit, I too have joined the ranks of the young, urban, and trendy who've forked out for a cold-press juicer and get up early on weekends to forage around farmers' markets for organic, leafy veg to feed it. The thing is, as evangelical as I feel about getting all that fresh, raw goodness down in a single glass, kale just isn't morning fare for me.
Which is why I'm loving the latest blender-based phase to hit this winter: that's right, we're back around to hot chocolate. Hot chocolate smoothies, to be precise.
Here's the thing: we all need a little extra help getting out of bed on nippy winter mornings and that's exactly what this saintly bevvy delivers. It's a snap to prepare when you're rushing out the door (even better if you're lounging in a sun trap), super warming, and decadent enough to make getting out from under the doona well worth our while in a way silverbeet just never could be.
To make my hot chocolate smoothie you'll need:
1 heaped tbs raw cocoa powder (you'll find it in the baking section of the grocery store)?
1/2 tsp vanilla?
1 tsp chia seeds
?2 medjool dates (the soft, crinkly ones) / or 4 regular dates / or some honey if you prefer?
1 cup boiling water
Wizz all the ingredients up in a blender, pour into a big glass, or mason jar if you're on the go, and enjoy!
For advanced hot smoothie manoeuvres, try adding:
1 tbs peanut or almond butter, raw oats,?a pinch of cinnamon,?coconut, and a scoop? of protein power (I like the Sun Warrior chocolate vegan protein).
TUL Note: Catherine is a Brisbane-based blogger and purveyor of neo-traditional food, craft, and home-styling wares at The Spring Shop. For more recipes, DIY projects, style tips, and notes from around town, you can follow her at The Spring Blog.