Homemade wintery mulled wine

Mulled wineFor those of you contemplating making mulled wine (perhaps after sampling some at the Winter Fair…) here’s my recipe. It should make just over a litre, but you can of course vary the amounts to increase (or decrease) how much wine you get. This was only my first attempt but it was very easy – not to mention successful – so I’ll certainly be making it again. I bought all of the ingredients on Mill Road.

Ingredients:

  • 1 x cinnamon stick
  • A small pinch of ground nutmeg
  • About 15 cloves
  • Around ten small pieces of dried ginger
  • 75g of demerara sugar
  • 75cl bottle of red wine
  • About 300ml of boiling water
  • An orange

Firstly, boil the water in a kettle. Then pour it into a saucepan on a medium heat on the hob and add your cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and ten of your cloves – these were just the spices that I chose to use, but you could try all sorts of spices and flavourings such as bay leaves, cardamom, vanilla pods, fruit peel and honey. Stick the rest of the cloves into one half of your orange, then cut it in half (I learnt the hard way that it’s much easier to stick the cloves in to the orange before you cut it) and add the cloved half to the pan, skin side up. Stir for a minute then add the sugar, stirring for another minute or so. Then let this mixture simmer (so that it’s bubbling gently) for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Red wineIt’s now time to add your chosen red wine and you can just pour it all in to the mixture in one go – I’m not normally a red wine drinker and am particularly averse to Merlot, so I chose a fruity Chilean Cabernet Sauvigon. Keep the mixture on the hob and gently heat it, stirring occasionally. A couple of the recipes I looked at said to be careful that it doesn’t boil as this could apparently impair the flavour – but I have to admit I let mine boil and it certainly didn’t seem to do any harm. Once you’ve heated the mixture your mulled wine is ready to serve. The best way to do this (both to avoid spillage and also to stop bits of spice ending up in your drink) is to place a sieve over a pouring jug and pour the desired amount of wine in through it. You can then pour the contents of your jug into glasses.

Homemade mulled wineI would suggest serving in thick glasses or ones with handles, as otherwise it can be a bit hot to handle. From your remaining orange half, cut slices and attach them over the side of each glass – for decoration, but it also adds a nice boost of orangey flavour to the wine when placed in the bottom of the glass. Mr Mill Road and I didn’t want to drink all our mulled wine in one go, so went back to the saucepan and reheated when it was time for second and third glasses. I had expected the cooling and reheating to do funny things to the flavour, but it didn’t and each glass of mulled wine was just as enjoyable as the last. I should say that as it is a hot drink, it can be easy to forget how much alcohol you are drinking, so try not to overdo it – a couple of glasses is probably just enough to warm the cockles on a cold winters evening. You can enjoy your mulled wine on its own, or as I did accompanied by some chocolate truffles – I had made some dark chocolate & dragon ginger ones earlier in the day and they were the perfect addition.

A Fair Do!

MRWF trufflesI hope everyone enjoyed Mill Road Winter Fair on Saturday. There was so much going on that I didn’t even get to see half the things I had hoped to, but I still thoroughly enjoyed myself. What better way to start the day than with some foodie delights, so I decided to make some dark chocolate and dragon ginger truffles first thing in the morning. Although I am not vegan myself, I have tested various truffle recipes over the last few months and the one that tastes most delicious just happens to be vegan. They seemed to go down a treat with everyone that tried them and I had a few people ask me to make some for them to give as presents – so I will probably be spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen over the next couple of weeks!

MRWF ASh Co-opI did a tour of the very busy Food Fair at Gwydir Street car park, which had some amazing edibles. The crowds were so great that you could only move in one direction, so if you passed a stall without stopping it wasn’t easy to go back. The Afternoon Tease stall had already sold out of all three (!) chocolate and Guinness cakes by the time I arrived, but I did treat myself to one of their lovely rum cup cakes. I saw some delicious looking burgers at one of the farmshop stalls and decided that I had to have one, but then I realised that there was a very long queue indeed, so I’m afraid I gave up. I tasted lots of food at the Fair including a lovely free jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw, courtesy of ‘Joseph’ outside Mill Road Baptist church. But I have to say my favourite food of all was the chickpea curry at Lally’s News, it was really warming and spicy, and possibly the best vegetarian curry I have ever tasted – Amrik and Raj are known locally for their delicious curries, and deservedly so.

MRWF Ash Co-opThere was lots of music along Mill Road and I saw people jiving on the Broadway. At one point I could hear my friends band playing on Mill Road bridge. I heard later from others that so many people were dancing to the music on the bridge during the day that the bridge, rather worryingly, actually started to shake (eek!). There was some great music at Argyle Street Housing Co-op in the afternoon, including musicians from the Jam Band Caravan collective playing folk and reggae, and I even heard some thrash metal at one point (!).

MRWF Mulled WineMyself and Mr Mill Road decided to pop in to the Earl of Beaconsfield in the afternoon in the hope of having a nice warm cup of coffee, but when we arrived the place was packed and everyone seemed to be drinking mulled wine – which sounded like a marvellous idea, and so we ordered some without hesitating. I don’t normally drink red wine, but mulled wine is different and this one tasted so nice that I decided to go and buy the ingredients (cloves, dried ginger, a cinnamon stick and a bottle of Chilean red) on Mill Road so I could try making some at home. The resulting mulled wine was great and I shall definitely be trying this again over the next few weeks (probably quite a few times!).

MRWF ReindeerFor me though, the best part of the Fair was bumping into so many friends as well as chatting to lots of people I’d never met before; and the absolute highlight for me was getting to meet my friends’ daughter for the first time – who at just two and a half weeks old was possibly the Fair’s youngest visitor! A massive well done to everyone involved in making Mill Road Winter Fair happen, including the Committee and all the visitors that came along on the day – it’s great to live in such a diverse and inclusive area that has so many community-minded people.