It's about this time of year that I start to feel slightly panicked and wish I could run away to some kind of closed community where they don't celebrate Christmas, or have jobs, or blogs or Things To Worry About. Do you feel like that too?
The internet is the worst place to be if you're in that kind of mood, because CHRISTMAS is around every turn. Don't, whatever you do, venture on to Pinterest, or you'll fall into a deep depression at the realisation that you've failed dismally as a mother/partner/sibling/friend/member of society because you haven't planned your themed decorations, hand-stitched jaunty bunting or made 20 sets of Frozen-themed figurines of every kid in your child's class from air-dried clay. And you've still got to bake for the school gala, sort your invoices, locate the spare car key and send your dear friend her birthday present, now three months overdue (sorry Claire!).
Fear not, friends, because I have a remedy to lift you to a higher place. It's chocolate chilli syrup - and if pouring it over cake or ice cream doesn't cheer you up, then adding it to a martini certainly will. Here's how.
Chocolate chilli syrup
If you're stuck for easy DIY Christmas gifts, this should go on the list. It takes minutes, doesn't cost much and is extremely simple. It's my offering for this month's We Should Cocoa challenge, hosted by the lovely Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen. No surprises in guessing this month's guest ingredient - it's chilli.
1 cup water
1 cup caster sugar
3 Tbsp good quality cocoa powder
1 tsp chilli flakes
Stir the sugar and cocoa together in a small pot, then add the water and mix well. Bring to the boil and let simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat. Stir in the chilli and let cool to room temperature. Strain through a fine sieve into a jar or bottle and cover tightly. Store in the fridge.
Chocolate chilli martini
Martini purists, look away now - this is very much my desperate housewife interpretation.
60ml ice cold vodka
30ml chilli chocolate syrup
Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker (confession: I use a jam jar) and shake well. Strain into a martini glass (or two, if you're generous).