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Friday, 28 November 2014

A little Spice makes things nice - Mulling Spices and Mulled Wine/Cider

I tend to cut through the M & S Store in the Queensgate Centre to save walking time when I am in town at lunchtime and I espied bottles of Mulled Wine, Spiced Cider and Mulled Rose available for the cost of £6 a bottle (or 2 for £10) which is all very good but that's a lot of money for what basically is a bottle of wine, or cider which has had added to it in the case of mulled wine some brandy or a liqueur  if you really want to be exotic (but it is very warming).  I love Mulled wine anyway but I had not thought about using it with a Rose for example or with White Wine.  I have had Mulled Cider before which is a favourite.  I will post a  recipe for the Cider at a later date.

Its funny that prices shoot up on food when somebody does something to it.  It is simple to spice a wine, traditionally it is a red wine, but why not experiment with white wine, cider and Rose. 

To prepare in advance if you are using oranges or lemons in preserves in the run up to Christmas do not waste the peels, peel them off thinly in one whole strip if you can and then scrape off as much as the pith as you can without damaging the strip and then dry in readiness to add to the basic mulling bundles.  You can always store the peels in glass jars or in a brown paper bag until ready to use.  They are also ideal for use in home made pot pourri as well.Or if you have a fire throw some on to scent the room but beware it can be a little overpowering.
 

A basic mulling kit can be made and given as a pressie with a bottle of wine and is very easy to assemble.  A useful present for a gentleman may be.

Ingredients:

1 orange (I often use a Clementine)

1 lemon washed

16 cloves

1 tsp ground cloves

1 tsp powdered cinnamon

1 tsp Allspice

1 tsp grated nutmeg

4 squares/circles cut from butter muslin 4 x 4 inches in size

Fine string

Cinnamon sticks (either long or short)


If you have not prepared the peels in advance do so now peeling them thinly into long thin strips so that they form a spiral as they dry but scraping off any pith (the pith is bitter) and I then hang on a string off my dresser attached by clothes pegs to dry, but if you hang it somewhere warm to dry in the house (somewhere suitable in your home - all of our homes are different) leave for a couple of days to dry which is why I have indicated to prepare beforehand.

Precut 4 x 4 inch squares or circles out of butter muslin.

Mix the whole cloves, and ground spices together in a bowl and mix thoroughly then put a teaspoon of the mixture into the middle of the butter muslin square.  Draw up the edges and then tie in the middle with a piece of string leaving the strings on.  Take a couple of cinnamon sticks, tie the spice bundle to the cinnamon sticks forming a bundle and making sure that everything is securely attached to each ite, and then using a skewer make a small hole in a strip of lemon and/or orange peels and attach these to the cinnamon sticks. as well. 

Now for a basic mulled wine

2 bottles of red wine
4oz of sugar
4 tablespoons of water 
1 Mulling spice bundle

Heat all the ingredients together simmering until nice and hot.  Do not boil.  I keep mine warm in a small slow cooker (OH does not like Mulled Wine) and as I do and do not want to miss out on this its a good way for me to access.

You can add Brandy, Cherry Brandy and Ameretto Liqueur to the mix as well very warming on a cold winters evening.

Catch you soon

Pattypan

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