The Sun is shining for once … at least it is here in Cornwall!!
So what are you waiting for? Grab some blankets, a flask, some woolly hats and mittens or some Doombar if your prefer, raid the fridge, pop to the store (don’t forget the marshmallows and matches). Take your loved one by the hand and venture off into the evening air. What could be more romantic than a spontaneous Valentines winter evening picnic????
The best moments are the unplanned but spontaneous free moments of joy with the one you love. So leave your work and inhibitions at the door, take your supplies happy thoughts, each other, take the dog if you want….. Just get out there and do something different, do something fun and live….. hit the beach, find an empty barn, if you have a landrover drive through fields, just make it fun, completely yours to remember….. Oh yes and tidy up behind you!!!!
If you have a boat, how about a winter’s picnic on a local estuary or lake? Take the children if you don’t want to leave them out.
If it’s raining where you are, although surely a little rain won’t hurt, rediscover your childhood with a carpet picnic, make an indoor tent ….. for those of you who are adventurous, get out under the stars, wrap up and enjoy the warm glow in your cheeks when you get home.
Most of all do something spontaneous with your loved one that is worth remembering to tell your children (yikes … you never know!)
Tilly’s Nordic Nostalgic Hot Chocolate (Sugar-free)
If you’re not yet riding the sugar-free revolution wave this is your opportunity. What better way to anchor those nostalgic memories than a cup of hot chocolate. So if you have time this will be well worth making and popping into your thermos.
Some of these ingredients may not be immediately to hand but they are super easy to get a hold of. I will tell you my favourites found from my extensive research (I’m a long-standing sugar-free fan).
Not only is this sugar-free and utterly healthy, it’s dreamy and delicious too. Made with raw cacao it contains plenty of antioxidants which help the nervous system, reduce blood pressure and. most importantly, boost your mood in exactly the same way as you do when in love.
Chocolate is proven to help boost your memory which will help strengthen the nostalgic memories you are making. It also helps soothe sore throats if you can’t tear yourself away from your winter picnic so it’s a clear winner.
Cooking time: 2 minutes
500ml Koko milk (made by Koko, which you can buy from most supermarkets)
1 x tbsp Cacao (less for those who prefer not so strong hot chocolates – I use Fazer Cacao and available through the Scandinavian Kitchen – the Nordics make the best chocolate – I should know)
1 x tsp Cinnamon
1 x tsp Nutmeg (or less, according to taste)
1 or 2 Vanilla pods
If you must sweeten then add Xylitol (I love this stuff. Again it’s from Finland. It is by far the most superior, natural sugar substitute and has been proven to help against cavities) or vanilla essence by Dr. Oetker. Another alternative sweetener is to boil prunes in a small amount of water and reduce the juice. This is lovely but takes a little more time.
Warm the Koko milk gently on a low to medium heat, stirring in the cacao from time to time so it all mixes in.
Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Be sure to scrape out the vanilla seeds and add these to the mix. Add the pods but remove before pouring into the flask. (Just a warning for those who aren’t sugar-free, you may find the vanilla pods alone an acquired taste).
Add any other sweeteners, bring to the boil gently, pour into the flask and you’re good to go.
Even my little boy loves this now his taste buds are attuned to a sugar-free way.