If you’ve been following me on instagram or twitter (or have come within 10 metres of me in real life) you will know that I’ve been nursing a lousy flu for quite a while. In fact, when I sat down yesterday to think about it, I figured i’ve pretty much been sick since the beginning of May. As Term 2 is always horrific for teachers, I haven’t been able to take much time off to get better so of course, I’m now sick in my holidays.
Part of being sick has involved a persistent and very annoying cough. I’ve tried everything. Hot water and lemon. Hot water and lemon and honey. Lots of roasted garlic. Gargling. Eucalyptus oil on my pillow. Eucalyptus steam bath. Eucalyptus on the soles of my feet. Hot showers. Cough lozenges. Codral. Benadryl. Staying warm. Hot tea. Various herbs and spices. NOTHING WORKED.
So, driven to distraction by the cough last night, I figured a bottle of red wine wouldn’t hurt. And what is better than red wine in winter? Mulled wine of course!
After inhaling the steamy aromas of this mixture, I would say to chuck the eucalyptus steam bath and just stick your head over a pot of mulled wine! Delicious!
It was a fairly simple recipe that I adapted from yet another Jamie Oliver Recipe involving some sugar, the zest of a lemon, a lime, an orange and the juice of the orange
some spices – vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, bay leaves and cloves
a little bit of wine
and then a lot of wine
and a lot of drinking.
Now, I know that a lot of tweeps were very skeptical, but I can honestly say that my cough subsided after a couple of glasses of this aromatic and deeply warming elixir. Whether it was because of the mix, or just the alcohol, i’m really not sure that I care. The point is, it worked! The beauty of this drink is that it has the physical warmth of the liquid, with the added warmth of the spices. You can choose to increase or decrease the quantity/mix of spices as you see fit. I originally started with making half the amount of the Jamie Oliver recipe but have since adapted it to include more citrus and a little more cinnamon and nutmeg. Feel free to play around with it until you feel like it is right. The other thing that is good about this drink is that you can use the cheapest wine you can find and it will still be great.
So, my lovelies, what are your favourite warming spices for winter?
Mulled Wine Recipe – adapted from Jamie Oliver’s Mulled Wine Recipe
1 bottle red wine (the cheaper, the better! Feel free to use cleanskin or cask)
1 large orange
125-250g caster sugar (it depends on the sweetness that you like. I quite like it with the full 250g as I like my mulled wine sweet)
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg
1 vanilla bean
2 star anise
1. Peel long strips of rind from the orange, lemon and lime and place in a medium sized saucepan along with the sugar and the juice of the orange
2. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, 6 gratings of nutmeg and bay leaves
3. Cut the vanilla bean lengthways and add to the pan
4. Pour in enough wine to cover the sugar and place over a high heat. Stir frequently until the mixture boils and thickens slightly (roughly 5 mins)
5. Pour in the rest of the wine and turn the heat down to low
6. Add the star anise and leave the mixture to heat through. Make sure that you don’t heat the wine up too much or you will boil off the alcohol. And where is the fun in that?
7. ladle into glasses and serve!