Anyone an Octonauts fan? It’s a cute, mildly educational cartoon by Brown Bag shown on CBeebies. The Octonauts live in an Octopod and sound an octo-alert whenever there’s a situation requiring their attention. We’re big fans. So, when I picked up this bit of gadgety goodness in Ikea a couple of weeks ago, naturally it got renamed the octo-drier (Ollie the octo-drier, to be more precise).
If you’d like to adopt your own octodrier, they’re in Ikea Dublin for €4.99, and of a nice sturdy construction. The legs fold upwards to turn it into a vaguely cylindrical shape for storage. I’m very fond of ours already.
My usual mid morning tipple is a good hot chocolate. I’ve been indulging for so long that I’ve spoiled myself by perfecting the preparation of same at home, and I thought I’d share my method.
First, though, a quick note: Probably the most critical piece of equipment in the following procedure is a Whisky Thing™ (also known as a milk frother): this is a hand held gadget with a teeny frail whisk at one end and a weightier motor, on/off switch and battery pack at the other. They’re produced at the swanky end of the market by people like Bodum and Aerolatte for €10-€15, or at the less swanky end of the market by people like Ikea for ~€2. The swankier ones tend to come in hard presentation cases, and it’s worth storing them in same to protect the whisky bit from inevitable accidental bendage. I’ve owned about 4 of them at this stage (thanks to bendage) and am pretty unfussy about brand, but unshakeable on how essential it is to have one.
Preparation of the perfect hot chocolate.
- One drinking vessel – a mug with a bulging body and narrow opening retains heat best.
- One microwave.
- One Whisky Thing™.
- Milk – I like regular cow’s milk, or hemp milk for a non-dairy alternative.
- Good hot chocolate powder – Nothing I’ve tried thus far can beat Cafe Direct’s San Cristobal.
- Add ~200ml of milk to your drinking vessel (which should have a total capacity >200ml).
- Place vessel in microwave and nuke for 2 minutes @850W. Adjust time to suit your own machine’s rating.
- Remove heated vessel of milk from microwave, add 3 generous teaspoons of hot chocolate powder, and whisk till completely mixed/dissolved using the Whisky Thing™.
- (Optional) Hold the Whisky Thing™ just below the surface of the milk towards the end to produce a pleasant cafe-like froth, which both insulates the top of the beverage and looks pretty.
- Find a quiet spot, kick back, and enjoy the results.