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Here are a couple of Mexican style drinks recipes for you to try out- included are champurrado, a Mexican chocolate atole, similar in consistency to gruel or porridge, but typically drunk rather than eaten. First though, a recipe for a spiced hot chocolate.  

-Mexican hot chocolate-

Ingredients (serves 4):
-1 litre milk
-1 cinnamon stick
-2 whole cloves
-115g plain dark chocolate, chopped into pieces
-2 or 3 drops of almond essence

-Heat the milk gently with the spices in a saucepan until almost boiling, then stir in the plain chocolate over a moderate heat until melted.
-Strain into a blender, add the almond essence and whizz at a high speed for about 30 seconds until frothy. Alternatively, whisk the mixture with a hand held mixer or a wire whisk.
-Pour into warmed heatproof glasses and serve immediately.


Ingredients (serves 2):
-20g corn flour
-250ml milk
-250ml water
-35g soft brown sugar
-25g dark chocolate

-In a large mixing bowl, mix together the corn flour and a little of the milk to create a thick paste.
-In a saucepan, pour the rest of the milk and the water and let it come to the boil.
-Take the saucepan off the heat and pour the milk and water into the mixing bowl. Mix it with the corn flour paste, then pour back into the saucepan.
-Put the saucepan back on the heat and stir it constantly until it comes to the boil again.
-Take it off the heat and whisk in the sugar and chocolate, with a molinillo* if you have one.
-Get yourself a couple of large mugs and enjoy!
 I found dunking digestives or breadsticks was tasty. You could also leave it in the fridge, which turns it into a chocolate pudding with a yoghurt-like consistency.

*A molinillo is a type of wooden whisk first used by some of the ancient civilisations in Mesoamerica. One end, with wooden paddles, is put into the drink and then it is whisked by rolling the molinillo between the palms of the hands.

If you find you've got a lot of champurrado left over, pour some in a flask and take it to work. It is similar to a drink called pozol which is used by field workers to keep them going throughout the day- I'm sure it'll keep you going!

To accompany your morning champurrado, you should get your hands on a tamale, which comprises a steamed corn dough outer layer stuffed with all manner of fillings. Meat, fruit, cheese and chilies can be used, though probably not in that configuration. Tamales have been eaten in Mesoamerica since the Mayan civilisation.

Whilst they are traditionally a Spanish foodstuff, you might also like to try having churros with the champurrado for breakfast.. Churros are essentially doughnuts, but formed into long string rather than rings, and have a star shaped cross section.Churros and hot chocolate is a typical breakfast in Spain. You may want to try making some churros yourself if you possess a deep fat fryer, or a deep pan and a modicum more bravery than I.

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