Hot Chocolate and Bigos

By the time the thick, spicy hot chocolate swirled in my mouth this evening, I had earned it.

Today, Alicia and I made bigos, which might be the most labor intensive cabbage dish I have ever made. It involves cabbage, and sauerkraut, and meat and tomatoes and boiling. Recipe to come eventually. It was delicious enough to make up for its time consumingness. I think we have approximately 15 servings.

Other things that I put together for the week include a more vegetable-y version of skillet lasagna and a kale and sausage skillet with lentils cooked in red wine.

So another week’s food is divided neatly into individual portions and tucked neatly into tupperware that is squirreled away into the fridge. We froze half the bigos (freeze-thaw cycles being part of the mandatory marinating process), and still have meals frozen from last week. Soon, the chicken carcasses occupying the bottom shelf of our tiny freezer will be evicted in favor of ready-to-eat meals. This cooking everything on Sunday is not for the faint of heart, but it does have its advantages–Alicia and I are prepared to weather any coming storm. (Can I just say how much I love her?)

Today I learned that you can buy bus tickets using pence and tuppence, and that you can’t buy anything at The Continental Food store using a card of any kind.

We discovered that my delightful kitchen blender/food processor, which grinds spices, minces meat, and purees potatoes also whips milk for frothy hot chocolate.

The hot chocolate was Alicia’s idea. She picked up some Cadbury chocolate powder in early January when she got back from Poland. She heated milk on the stove while I washed dishes, and then frothed the milk and chocolate into a glorious end-of-day concoction. After finishing the dishes, I decided to do something similar. I ground 50 g of 81% cocoa chocolate (from Lidl) in the kitchen genie food processor while heating a cup of milk with two cinnamon sticks, one gorgeous, sticky vanilla bean (purchased from eBay in a pack of twenty), and a palmful of chile flakes. The result was thick, dark, and subtly spicy. It’s a grown-up’s hot chocolate, a little unexpected and sexy.

Beginning to suspect that I am using exercise and spicy food to replace sex in my life. Though really, I can live without getting laid. Other things can be substituted for sex (albeit imperfectly). However, the prospect of at least another three months without kissing/shifting/snogging makes me wonder how I will survive. I’ll probably have completely forgotten how by the time I have the opportunity again. Thank God Europe doesn’t obsess over Valentine’s Day. (Or maybe they do and I just have no TV or other way to become aware of the obsession.) But regardless, being reminded of how much action I am not getting lately would not improve my coming weekend. But, you know, at least I have my hot water bottle to keep me warm at night. And it doesn’t steal the covers.

Hot Chocolate and Bigos

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