Mulled wine, spiced nuts, and spiced ginger tea (a mulled wine alternative minus the booze) – all delicious to enjoy at home or give as a gift, and all super quick and easy to make!
Bring to boil 1 litre of beer (I use a craft ale or IPA) with 1oog sugar
Add 1 sliced lemon, 1 sliced orange, 3-4 cinnamon sticks, 15-20 dried cloves, a handful of raisins, and 1 bottle of ok but inexpensive full-bodied red wine. Bring momentarily to a simmer then take it off the heat. You can drink it straight away, but ideally let it sit overnight, then sieve and reheat. If you like it sweeter, you can double the amount of sugar or add a spoon to your mug.
Heat oven to 180C.
Melt 50g butter and 3 tablespoons of honey together in a pan. Add a teaspoon each of crushed dried chillies, paprika, mixed spice and nutmeg. Add the zest of 1 orange and 1 large sprig of rosemary, roughly chopped. Put 6 generous handfuls of mixed nuts into a bowl, pour the butter mixture over them, and mix well. Put a sheet of baking paper over a baking sheet and grease it with some butter, then spread the nuts out over the whole sheet. Put in the oven for 10 mins, then give them a shuffle round and put them back in for about 5 mins – keep an eye on them though, they can burn quite quickly. Take them out, shuffle them around again and let them cool on the sheet until they’re cool and hard, then sprinkle salt and black pepper over the top. They keep well in a jar for about a week, but they’re unlikely to last that long…
Spiced ginger tea
Boil 1.5 litre of water in a pan with a thumb of ginger, sliced; 2 sticks of cinnamon, and 10-15 cloves, for about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat – you can either drink straight away let it sit for up to 3 days with the spices in the water to let the flavours intensify.Either way, add a generous teaspoon of honey and a fat slice of lemon to your mug – tastes lovely and festive, and it’s also very soothing for colds and sore throats.