This year has gone so quickly and I wanted to wish everyone a very happy new year. The holidays, like always, have gone by in a blur and here I am, early new year's eve morning, typing away. All is quiet here in Michigan, a fresh blanket of snow covers the beach and we're spending our last day skiing the tiny hills of a local mid-west ski resort.
Here is a recipe for a tried and tested mulled wine, one that says "happy holidays to you and yours" in a glass. I love the combination of the sharp citrus with the sweetness of the sugar and vanilla. When guests walk in the door wrapped in hats and gloves against the cold, they will be hit by an aroma that is instantly welcoming.
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
2 clementines, peel and juice
peel of one lemon
peel of one lime
1 1/4 cups sugar
6 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
3 fresh bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg or 2 tsp of ground nutmeg
1 whole vanilla pod, halved
2 star anise
2 bottles of Chianti or other Italian red wine
Peel large sections of your clementines, lemon and lime using a vegetable peeler. Put a large pan over medium heat and add the sugar, peel and then the juice of the two clementines. Throw in all other ingredients other then the star anise and wine. If grating a whole nutmeg, grate about 10 to 12 gratings into the mix. Pour in just enough wine to cover the sugar and bring to a boil. This will produce a flavored syrup that infuses the rest of your wine without cooking off the alcohol.
Keep this boiling for about 4-5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and it's a nice thick syrup consistency. Once this has cooled slightly, turn down the heat to very low and add the star anise and the rest of the two bottles of wine.
Let the wine warm slowly. This should take about five minutes and you'll be ready to ladle them into welcoming glasses. I like to make this ahead and then warm it up when I know guests will be arriving.
Thank you all for reading my blog in 2009.... I'm looking forward to 2010!