Saturday, 10 November 2012

Its beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

I wish you could smell the yummyness of the Christmas cake as the fruit begins to absorb the brandy it smells really lush.  That will be cooked out tomorrow as it needs about 4 1/2 hours in the oven.

I use spices a lot in cooking throughout the year not just for Christmas.  One of my favourite ways of using cloves is a ham studded with cloves, the flavour is wonderful.  (Well I think so).  I think that could be well on the cards for preparing for this Christmas just a small piece as again OH is not keen.

However I have been busy I have made some mulling syrups for both red and white wines which are very simple to make.  Alternatively it can be used with Cider. This should take some of the hard work out of making mulled wine.   This makes a couple of bottles.  I recycle other bottles that have had ingredients in and sterilise them carefully before re-using.  The recipe is a BBC Good food one.

  • 250g caster or granulated sugar
  • 2 oranges , halved
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 6 whole allspice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • ¼ nutmeg , freshly grated
  • small piece ginger , sliced 
  1. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan with 1 litre water and bring slowly to a simmer, making sure all the sugar has been completely dissolved. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins. Leave to cool, then strain through a very fine sieve.
  2. Sterilise your bottles by washing them in hot soapy water, rinsing well, then drying them in a warm oven. Meanwhile, rewarm the syrup until just hot, then pour into the bottles while still hot and seal.
  3. Before giving away, add labels with serving instructions: Heat 400ml syrup with 750ml red wine or cider and some slices of orange or apple. Syrup will keep in a cool, dark place for up to 3 months. (Mine will be hot water bath processed as this will take all the air out of the bottle and make it last longer which means it will not need to be kept in the fridge.
Make up a kit as a gift by tying some cinnamon sticks to the neck of the bottle with ribbon, and accompanying it with a good red wine. You can buy nice preserving bottles from

 I have also made some Christmas Spice to put into a cake mix;

And  I have started off a winter spice jelly recipe here

I love spice and am particularly fond of the Speculatis biscuits and mulled wine a rather pleasant tradition that I have in the run up to Christmas. (OH is a bit of a party pooper he doesn't like either).   I love the biscuits but it is the mulled wine that helps me get in the mood when doing the Christmas baking.

Tis getting to be that season

Catch you later on



1 comment:

  1. I love the smell of sweet spices too, I made Christmas gingerbread yesterday which has cinnamon and ground mixed spice in it and the kitchen smelt wonderful while it baking and cooling. It's in the freezer now and will have lemon icing put on it when it comes out at Winter Solstice.


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