A trip to Bath and 2 festive recipes for sipping and holiday gifting
sip on a spiced cider hot toddy while making mulled wine syrup
I’ve just barely cleaned up after Thanksgiving, and here we are…..it’s December and time to deck the halls for Christmas. I’m having a bit of a hard time focusing these days. After you read Jane’s bit, it seems like this fogginess is going around. Part of that, I know, is me counting down to when both kids will be back home again. They were both home for an entire week at Thanksgiving and it was pure joy. We sat around in pjs, cooked together, played Catan (such a fun strategy game that definitely requires focus and patience), watched the first Christmas movie of the season (we went with Home Alone 2), ate at their favorite restaurants and even managed to get a photo for our annual Christmas card.
Today I’ll be decking the halls with the hubs. We bought a massive tree (I think the biggest one we’ve ever had) and I’m hoping we’ll have enough lights and decorations. I’ll keep you posted!
‘Tis the season for festive cozy drinks, and if you need something to warm you up after a morning spent getting a Christmas tree, this is one of my absolute favorites!
SPICED CIDER HOT TODDY
Boiling water, as needed
One tea bag (black tea or oolong)
1/4 cup apple cider
2 ounces bourbon (Maker’s Mark or Larceny are my favs)
¾ ounce spiced syrup (recipe below)
One (3-inch) orange peel
Cinnamon stick and whole star anise, to garnish (optional)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
one piece orange peel
To make the spiced syrup: put all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a low simmer until sugar completely dissolves. Turn heat to low and continue to steep for 5-10 minutes. Take off heat and cool completely. Strain the solids and pour syrup into a small mason jar or other container.
To make the hot toddy:
In a mug, add the tea bag, apple cider, bourbon, spiced syrup, and orange peel. Pour the boiling water over the ingredients, and let tea bag steep for 3-5 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings — add a bit more syrup or bourbon, until it’s to your liking.
Garnish with cinnamon sticks and star anise and enjoy in front of a roaring fire, preferable in your coziest sweater.
Do you ever have that feeling life has gone just a little bit bonkers?
I’m sat here, typing, musing! Wondering where on earth I have put my recipes note book? In it is the recipe for Mulled Wine Syrup that I created for you.
My brain is somewhat muddled. I have just returned from a trip to the bank, and, as I am sitting in said bank, it dawns on me I have walked out of the house with no wallet, no phone, no cards. I am parked in a carpark, which is automated, and only takes card payments. I’m stuck. Good grief.
Add this to a dodgy back inhibiting sleep ….. yup, losing it big time.
I do, however, have one lovely and positive experience to tell you all about. This week I took a day off and headed to Bath with my lovely friend Kath. There is a Christmas market that lines the streets and I have a friend, Oz from “Go Wild Preserves”, who has a stall there every year. This will be the first year that I have managed to get to his stall to see him. He is one of the few other preserves makers who I would buy from! Integrity and Quality = a winning combination.
My son, last year, bought me a voucher for an afternoon tea and the date was running out, literally one day later. This is your reminder — If you have any vouchers tucked in drawers, check the dates!
We made the most of it and after a little Christmas therapy shopping in this beautiful city (one of my favourites), we made our way to The Royal Crescent Hotel, slap bang in the centre of the Royal Crescent, for what was a delightful experience, great service and a great tea!
For our friends across the pond in the US, who may not be familiar with the Royal Crescent here’s a bit of info taken from our friend, Mr. Wikipedia.
The Royal Crescent is an impressive landmark arranged around a perfect lawn overlooking Royal Victoria Park. It forms a sweeping crescent of 30 Grade I Listed terrace houses, and is considered one of the greatest examples of Georgian architecture anywhere in the UK.
US side of the pond will know the Royal Crescent from any Jane Austin Novels film adaptations, and most definitely from the Netflix series, “Bridgerton”.
Sorry Lisa. I can almost hear her tutting from here! When she visited the UK during the summer, I treated her to an afternoon tea at Fortnum and Masons and we were so disappointed in it.
Suffice it to say, tea at The Royal Crescent Hotel would make a wonderful Christmas gift for a special person.
A non foodie note: Thank you to everybody that sent me supportive messages this week. My lovely Millie went in for an operation - I was a bit of a mess, but she is healing brilliantly! Thank you to my wonder vet, Jon Horlock.
Drum roll please! I have found the recipe!
I created this recipe with the thought that it would make a great gift for Christmas. I then used some of it myself on: Ice Cream, Pavlova, Porridge ….. and made a Victoria Plum Jam and added some to it as another gift for friends. I call that a win win!
Thanks so much for reading our latest newsletter! We’d love to have you join us around our virtual kitchen table! Whether you opt for a free or paid (only $5/month) subscription, we’re thrilled you’re here!
MULLED WINE SYRUP
(If I had had an orange, I probably would have added that to).
1 x bottle red wine (I used a Merlot)
3 x cinnamon sticks
2 x star anais
1 x teaspoon cloves
Splash of vanilla extract (or paste)
1 x apple
200g soft brown sugar
30ml (2 tbns) Spiced Rum
Put into a saucepan, the wine, all of the spices, slice the apple thinly and add.
Bring to a simmer and leave to simmer for half an hour.
Pop a lid on and leave to cool overnight. The spices will infuse and create an amazing aroma.
The next day, sieve out the bits and return the infuse wine to a cleaned out saucepan. You can throw away the bits.
Add the sugar to the wine and warm, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for about 30 mins so that it reduces to a syrup ( by approximately half).
Turn off the heat and then stir in the rum.
Bottle in sterilised jars or bottles, seal and label with a Christmas tag.
If you would like me to include my plum jam recipe, just let me know.