Sunday, 1 December 2013


Good Morning to you,

Last year, George and I celebrated Christmas together, without our family being around us, but this year, well, I have the most fabulous news to share with you...... our whole family are coming home for Christmas and we are all going to have the most wonderful family Christmas.... how exciting is that.  We have Natasha and her husband, Danielle and her partner, Nan Phyllis and Nana Sadie, all celebrating Christmas with us and we are over the moon. There is going to be much excitement, much chatter and lots of tea drinking, with the odd gin and tonic and glass of wine thrown in for good measure.  

Everyone is coming in stages and last to arrive will be Danielle, Dan and Nan Phyllis..... all arriving on Christmas Eve. It is a wonderful time to arrive, because the Christmas decorations will be hung, the Christmas tree will be dressed with past and present ornaments  and there will be lots of twinkling lights around the house. The presents will be around the tree and a Boeuf Bourguignon will be cooking in the oven, ready for everyone to enjoy at supper time.

I thought, as it will be really cold when everyone arrives, they will enjoy a drink which will warm the cockles of their heart,

a glass of Mulled wine which will be warming and so aromatic.  It will be made with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, grated nutmeg,  sliced orange and of course a bottle of red wine.  The house will smell fabulous and it will provide a very warm welcome for everyone.

The first time I tasted a spiced wine, was in Germany when we visited one of the fabulous Christmas Fayre's.  There was always a stall selling Gluwein, which was so welcomed, especially as the Christmas Fayre was held outside in the cold.  Our noses might have been bright red, but our tummies were certainly warm.  Just one sip, of this warm, aromatic liquid took away those winter chills.

During the Victorian era, Mulled Wine was a very popular drink and was especially enjoyed at Christmas time, just as it is nowadays. There are many recipes for Mulled Wine, but I would say, generally they are the same, with a little of this added or a little of that.  Mulled wine is very simple to make, but before I list the ingredients, I need to choose my music for today and what could be more lovelier than,

listening to The Nutcracker Suite. One of the reasons I chose The Nutcracker Suite is not only because I love the story and the music, but because I have a number of wooden Nutcrackers which decorate our house at Christmas time.

The Nutcracker is such a lovely story. I remember when Natasha was a little girl, the school put on a performance of The Nutcracker and  Natasha played the part of a snowflake.   The story begins on Christmas Eve at a party being given by the Stahlbaum's.  The children Fritz and Clara are given Christmas gifts by their Godfather, Drosselmeyer the Toymaker.  Fritz and all the boys are given a drum and the girls are given a doll, but Clara is given a Nutcracker, which she loves.  Fritz, her brother, becomes jealous because he feels Clara's gift is better than his, and he takes the Nutcracker  from Clara and throws it to his friends and by so doing, the Nutcracker is broken.

Clara becomes upset, but the children's Godfather repairs the Nutcracker, using his handkerchief and Drosselmeyer's nephew creates a makeshift bed.  The Nutcracker is then placed safely under the Christmas tree.  At bedtime, when the guests have left the house, Clara checks to see that the Nutcracker is alright and falls asleep under the Christmas tree, holding the Nutcracker...... and so her adventure begins. 

I am putting my apron on and "The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy" is playing....  such beautiful music.  I am now ready to list the ingredients.


1 75cl bottle of red wine
1 orange
1 large or 2 small cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon of cloves
1/2 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
2 star anise
100g of dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of brandy (optional)
A cup of water


Pour the bottle of wine into a large saucepan


slice the orange
add to the saucepan 

add the
cinnamon sticks,
grated nutmeg,

the star anise,
(aren't they just beautiful)


the dark brown sugar,

a cup of water.
a tablespoon of brandy (optional)

Place the saucepan over a very low heat
and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

Bring the wine to  a gently simmer
and continue simmering
 for 10 minutes

Remove from the heat
and allow to cool.  

Set aside for 4 hours to allow the flavours to mature.

When you are ready for a little glass of
this delicious Mulled Wine,
return the saucepan to the heat 
and allow the wine to become hot, 
but not boiling.  
I usually put some mulled wine on a teaspoon
and test with my little finger, if the wine 
is not too hot for my finger, then it is ready
to pour into glasses and enjoy.
you must strain the spices
using a small sieve.


using a ladle, 
carefully pour the mulled wine into a heatproof glass

nice cup
promise you,
this will
warm the 
cockles of your heart
on a 
cold, winter's day.

Last week, I mentioned that today I was going to be covering my Christmas Cake with marzipan, but when I checked on the cake yesterday, I found it to be a little too  wet, so I have postponed rolling out the marzipan  until later in the week.

I am feeling very pleased with myself as so far everything is going according to plan.  How are your Christmas preparations going?

Oops, I almost forgot, My Christmas To Do List

Mulled Wine ~ tick 

Take care and I will see you on Wednesday.

This week I will be joining,

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Best wishes to you.


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