Mulling things over…

… at the midwinter celebration evening we had in the shop on Thursday everyone was enjoying the delicious mulled wine and spiced fruit juice, so we promised that we’d pass on the recipe (as much as there is one, you kind of just mix stuff together to taste… )

We used a couple of crock pot or slow cookers but you can just mull in a pot over a low heat for a least three hours to get the most from the spices. Mulling (or maintaining a filled pot at a low heat, no boiling, for several hours) is a gentle but potent slow and long heating that extracts and melds all the flavours from the liquids and spices but doesn’t cook off the alcohol – be careful, it can go straight to your head! For the spiced fruit juice option we used 1 litre of cranberry; about twice that of apple or apple/orange juice; an orange cut in half, each half studded with about 3 cloves; about 5 cardamom pods, lightly crushed; a couple of cinnamon sticks, broken once; about a cup of castor sugar. Stir all together and leave on a low heat for several hours. This is one of those recipes you can fiddle about with, adding/removing ingredients to your taste. We did the same for the mulled wine but used two bottles of red wine and only about 1 litre of apple/fruit juice – might have added more sugar to sweeten it to taste. You can add brandy too, to really give it a kick. Remove the halved, cloved oranges when you want to serve (they’ll be sodden & unpleasant looking) and throw a couple of thinly sliced oranges and lemons in… yummy and your kitchen – or bookshop – will smell amazing!

We had a great evening, there is something great about coming into a spicy and book scented place from the bleak and icy dark…

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