Chapter 1 – Hot Chocolate and Shortbread


It was a frosty November day and Jasmine and Lucy were wandering around the village looking for something to do.   They were both wrapped up in gloves,  hats and scarves so that all you could see were their eyes and red noses.  Their breath froze into white clouds in front of their faces.It was too cold to go to the park and the library was shut.

The two girls walked slowly passed the window of the village cafe and peered in.  Everyone inside looked warm and snug,  eating,  drinking and chatting.   Jasmine and Lucy wished they could go in too,  but neither of them had any money.

‘Do you think if we asked your mum,  she would give us the money for hot chocolate?’  asked Jasmine.

Lucy shook her head.  ‘No way.  She’d just point at the cupboard and tell us to make our own hot chocolate.’

‘Yeah,  that’s what my mum would say.  But its not the same!’  Jasmine pushed her hands deeper into her pockets.  ‘I love going to cafes.  I’m going to open my own cafe when I grow up,  and I am going to do special things for kids so that they can always afford to come in.’

Jasmine was about to stomp off home when Lucy stopped her.   ‘Jazzy,  I’ve just had a brilliant idea!   Why don’t we make our own cafe,  in your mum’s garage!   Its almost empty,  and we could use those old picnic chairs and tables.’

‘But whose gonna come.  And what will we serve?’ asked Jasmine.

‘Hot chocolate of course.  We’ll just ring our friends from school.  And tell neighbours. It’ll be so cool!’

Now all they had to do was convince Jasmine’s mum,  but amazingly,   she thought it was a great idea.  There was loads of milk that needed using up in the fridge,  and she said that if they wanted,  they could make some shortbread to serve with the hot chocolate.

They found some old tables from the shed,  wiped them down and borrowed chairs from the house.  The garage looked a bit dull,  even with the light on,  so they put up some fairy lights.  They looked fantastic!

Mum showed them how to make the shortbread.   The girls couln’t believe how easy it was.  ‘Is that it?’ asked Lucy, screwing up her nose.   They made two trays, enough for 24 biscuits.   While it was cooking,  they started to call their friends.

‘Hi, it’s Jasmine.  Me and Lucy have opened a cafe!    Yes,  really!   It used to be the garage,  but its a cafe now.   Are you coming?   We’re serving hot chocolate and freshly made shortbread.  Fantastic – see you then.’

15 minutes later,  all the calls had been made and the shortbread in the oven smelled fantastic.   ‘I think that’s done,’   said Mum.  ‘Cut it up into squares and sprinkle sugar on the top.’

Now all they had to do was wait for their first customers.  It was half past three in the afternoon,  and it was already starting to go dark,  which made the fairy lights look even more special.    Jasmine and Lucy had decided to wear brightly coloured aprons,  to make themselves look more professional.    On an old blackboard,  they had written ‘Hot Chocolate and shortbread – just £1.’

‘I hope some people come soon, ‘ said Lucy,  after ten minutes of standing around.   ‘What if nobody comes!  All this hard work will have been a waste of time.’

Jasmine was so nervous that she was stood at the end of the drive looking down the road so she could be first to catch a glimpse.   She was looking so hard that her eyes started to hurt.  Suddenly she caught sight of a group of people coming towards them.

‘Its Freya and Emma,  and some people I don’t know!   I am sure they are coming to the cafe!  Get ready!’

A few minutes later,   the tables in the cafe were full.  People kept their coats on,  because it was fairly cold in the garage,  but every one loved the hot chocolate and especially the shortbread.   Jasmine heated the milk  and mixed the hot chocolate while Lucy lifted the pieces of shortbread onto plates.   Mum washed the pans and cups as they went along,  which was a good job because they were SO BUSY.    All their customers were chatting and laughing,  while saying how delicious everything was.  They especially loved the shortbread,  which was still warm from the oven.   Jasmine and Lucy rushed around,  showing new customers to their tables and taking orders.  They never stopped.

Two hours later,  the shortbread had all been sold and people were starting to leave.  Jasmine and Lucy were surprised to see it was now properly dark outside.  The time had just flown past.   They said goodbye to the last of their customer,  cleared the pots from the table and last of all switched off the fairy lights.   The cafe was shut.

That night,  Lucy and Jasmine were curled up on the settee,  exhausted but still excited about the day.

‘That was amazing,’  said Lucy.  ‘How much money have we made?’    Jasmine counted it up,  and once they had paid Mum for the milk and shortbread ingredients,   they had made a profit of £8!

‘So what are you girls going to do with your profits?’  asked Mum.   ‘Are you going to spend it in the cafe in the village?’

‘No way’  said Jasmine.  ‘Running a cafe is much more fun that being a customer.  We are going to plan our next menu.’

‘Wow’  said Mum.  ‘Well you two girls have worked so hard,  I think you’ve earned some hot chocolate yourselves.’

‘But there’s no more hot chocolate powder’,  moaned Jasmine,   ‘we used it all up.’

‘My special hot chocolate doesn’t need powder,’ said Mum.  A few minutes later she brought through two mugs of milk,  she’d whisked them up to make them frothy.  ‘Here’s the milk,’  she said handing them a mug each,  ‘and here’s the chocolate.’   She produced two chocolate flakes.  ‘Just dip them in.  They make the milk chocolatey and you can eat the melted chocolate as you go along.’

‘Just perfect,’  sighed Lucy.

‘I think we’ve found a new addition to the menu!’  said Jasmine.

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