All 2 entries tagged Spice
December 08, 2012
For the past three years, we've put on a Winter Wonderland event for our Cryfield and Redfern students, with Christmas music, plenty mulled wine and mince pies to get them into the festive spirit. Of course, the first year we ran this, I realised how gauche I was about how one went around making mulled wine. My previous experiences of making mulled wine consisted of using a cheap bottle of red wine and dropping one of those mulled wine sachets into it. You know the kind I'm talking about right? The schwartz mulled wine spice bag.
So, that first year, I was marshalled into the mulled wine making army. We were inside this tiny kitchen, mixing vast quantities of homemade mulled wine syrup with bottles and bottles of red wine, adding sugar and dropping oranges into stock pots. Passing vats of the stuff outside to the thirsty punters, without making too much a mess, proved one step too far. Cleanliness was sacrificed for speed. I'm not sure that the redfern subwarden's kitchen ever survived it.
It's an understatement to say that it was somewhat of a revelation on how to make mulled wine. But you know what? That mulled wine tasted sweetly spiced wine with the tanginess of oranges, more akin to glühwein, and far superior than my previous homemade mulled wine. And that was even when we were doing it in bulk! The experience revolutionised my approach to making mulled wine.
The following year, I volunteered to make the mulled wine. A bit of research and arithmetic later, I began to compose my email to our deputy warden and organise my mulled wine making team.
For the next few days, I couldn't quite get over the fact that I had ordered 50 bottles of wine!
Pinar and Rumana came round the evening before to make the mulled wine syrup with me, studding oranges with cloves, peeling lemons...
2 hours and plenty of chatter later, we produced about 7.5 litres of mulled wine syrup. Later that night, I got the calculator out again to work out the mulled wine syrup to wine ratio.
This is what happened on the night.
We had 47 bottles of red wine to mull and 2 hours to do it. I'd printed off the instructions in the morning and stuck it up on a cupboard.
For 500-550ml of mulled wine syrup, add 3 bottles of wine and 2 oranges. Heat it on a gentle heat so that all the alcohol doesn't burn off. Empty the pan and start again :)
Rumana and Jue took charge of the mulling of the wine, whilst the rest of us began putting up decorations and heating up the pies. They were super-efficient and had it all done before 7pm before our first punters arrived. Shortly after the event began, I nipped off to a friend's birthday party, confident that my job had been done.
I guess it's becoming a tradition now to make the mulled wine from scratch for this annual event because this year I find that I'm initiating the new Cryfield team recruits into the art of making mulled wine syrup for the masses. We follow the success of last year and make the syrup a few nights before. Sarah needs a plaster when her finger exchanges sharp words with a vegetable peeler and Rumana shows off her skill for removing citrus peel. Glugs of orange juice and red wine are added into the pans by Dan. The good old calculator comes out as I work out the amount of spices that's going into each stock pan and the ratio of syrup to wine when it comes to mulling.
But this time, it's all happening out of my Redfern kitchen and I'm in charge of organising the whole event. What a difference a year makes!
So there you have it. Mulled wine for 300. Rather simple with a bit of organisation, preparation and a team of hardworking, happy helpers.
October 28, 2010
It's autumn on campus. I love going for walks with friends around the fields on the beautifully bright days that we're lucky to have. And with the dark nights drawing in and the leaves falling off the trees, it is the perfect time to brave your face to the brisk night at a bonfire, or turn in early and watch the flames lapping the wood in the fireplace.
When I came up with this cake 2 years ago, I had both types of fires in my mind as inspiration. I had also been watching Masterchef and one of the contestants had created a dish using charcoal to recreate the fiery taste of a bonfire. I decided to use dark chocolate, not feeling quite knowledgeable enough about charcoal flavouring (perhaps leave that for another time). My idea being that the chocolate would visually recreate the burning embers of a fire, and the orange and spices would add the warmth in the flavour.
I used the Lemon Drizzle Cakerecipe as my starting point for bringing to life a perfect autumnal treat.
Ingredients for Spiced Autumnal Orange Drizzle Cake with Dark Chocolate Embers
- 125g/4.5oz butter
- 75g/3oz caster sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 150g/5oz self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp mixed spice
- zest of one orange* see top tip.
- 2 tbsp (or 30 ml) of Cointreau or milk if you don't want to use alcohol
- 85g/3.5oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
Top Tip: wash the fruit with a wee bit of washing up liquid to take the wax off, unless you can buy unwaxed oranges (I find them harder to source compared to lemons and limes). It will make the zesting of the orange much more effective and easier.
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4 and line a 2lb loaf tin.
2. If you don't have an electric whisk, like me, then mix the butter, sugar, orange zest together first before adding in the eggs, then the flour, spices and baking powder. If you have an electric whisk, then add in all of the above ingredients and whizz them up until the mixture is smooth.
3. Stir in the Cointreau/milk so that the mixture falls softly off the spoon - that's my interpretation of 'a soft, dropping consistency'.
4. Stir the chocolate into the cake mixture. I wanted the chocolate to sink to the bottom of the cake, so didn't coat the chocolate with flour.
5. Spoon the cake mixture into the loaf tin and smooth the top. Pop it into the oven and let it bake for about 40 minutes, or until the tester/knife comes out clean.
6. While the cake is in the oven, prepare the orange drizzle. (if you prefer it a bit sweeter, then increase the sugar)
Ingredients for Orange Drizzle
- Juice of one orange
- 1 tbsp of Cointreau
- 30g golden caster sugar
7. I normally use a chopstick to poke wholes in the cake for the drizzle to pour into. This time I experimented with a cocktail stick in case they make smaller holes. Nope. I'll return to the chopstick next time.
8. Slowly pour the drizzle evenly over the cake when it is fresh out of the oven. Ta da!
Verdict - Mmmmmmmm.... Moist and flavoursome. The chocolate, orange and spice mix is a winner with adults and children alike. The added bonus is that this is a simple and quick cake to bake (especially if you have an electric whisk).