Who are Bex, Sue, Charlotte and Regula you are asking?  In late November we were so excited to welcome Miss Foodwise  otherwise known as Regula, Sue from London Food Finds, Rebecca Williams and Charlotte Pike to join some local ladies for a day of laughter and creativity.  I stepped away from the AGA and left it in the very talented hands of Regula and we enjoyed a wonderful day chatting, making, cooking and of course eating.

Regula arrived the night before and although she was itching to help, I really did try to make her sit down and rest from her travels.  In the end it was hopeless so I passed her the red cabbage to shred and we both chatted whilst preparing and planning for the following day.

Whilst Regula braised the cabbage with apple, I started planning the mulled wine. I am sure the secret to this is the generous glug of sherry but Miss Foodwise would insist it was the long pepper. It is not so much of a recipe, but more of a method which you can adapt suit your larder.

 

You will need

1 large orange

1 cinnamon stick

2 bottles of full bodied red wine – nothing too expensive but it needs to be drinkable!

6 cloves

6 juniper berries

1 nutmeg – grated

1 star anise if you like them

couple of glasses of sherry

1 bottle of apple juice – not concentrate please

2 tablespoons of honey (although I made the first batch with light, brown soft cane sugar as another friend is allergic to honey)

A large pan and a piece of muslin or jelly bag

 

The day before you want to make the mulled wine, prepare the orange by studding it with the cloves.  Add this to the pan with a tablespoon of sugar (or honey), roughly crush the juniper and pepper in a pestle and mortar then wrap them in the jelly bag.  Add to the pan.

Pour in one bottle of red wine, add the nutmeg, star anise if using and cinnamon stick.  Add the sherry.  Warm gently and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Remove from the heat, cover and leave overnight to infuse.  Regula taught me that this ferment is called a ‘gyle’.

The following day and at least half an hour before you want to serve, add the rest of the red wine and the apple juice.  Heat to serve and taste.  You may need to add more honey or a grating of long pepper or nutmeg before pouring into warmed glasses and sharing with your guests.

 

Thank you to Regula for this lovely picture of her snake fritters.  These are the perfect accompaniment for mulled wine and you can find the recipe in her beautiful book Pride and Pudding.

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