Thursday, December 10, 2009


I am so excited about Christmas, Ian and I have booked to go to Whistler for 4 days. We can't wait, we go on the 22nd and come back on Christmas Day. Its going to be so much fun. We were very lucky this year in getting Christmas off work and even luckier to get a few days off together, so rather than just sitting at home doing nothing we decided to go away. It is our present to each other, Yay!!!. Being surrounded by snow makes Christmas feel so  magical and romantic. Roll on Christmas... only 15 days to go.

Normally during the Christmas period we have friends round for dinner and on Christmas eve we have a buffet that lasts all afternoon, this unfortunatley will not be happening this year, Sorry guys!!!. However I do plan on taking a Christmas Hamper to Whistler with us, so we can continue with some of our homely traditions. I love Christmas but I do like to plan ahead with menus as I want to make it as relaxing as possible and not be chained to the kitchen. To be honest Ian and I will probably eat out on most nights and we love to have breakfast at Ricks grill. They have the best eggs benedict ever, mmm mmm. Our hamper will basically consist of  picky foods, chocolates and alcohol. This  is what I am planning to make to add  to shop bought items that will make up our hamper.

Brandy Snaps
Monkey Bread
Mulled Wine Spice Sachet
Chocolate Bark

I made Brandy Snaps last year which turned out well but I added a little too much lemon juice, so this year I am trying a different recipe. I am going to test them out by taking them to my work Christmas potluck, if they go down well there a winner. Monkey bread is fantastic as it is so versatile, you can have it for breakfast or just to pick at during the day, it is basically sweet bread dough shaped into small balls and rolled in cinnamon  sugar and baked all together in a bundt tin. It is great to share as everyone can pick off the individual balls. Today I am going to share with you the ingredients needed to make mulled wine. I love mulled wine, especially after you come in from a cold night, it warms you right through and smells divine. (I can't wait till I make all these goodies... maybe next week!!... lets hope I don't eat them all though before our Christmas get a way!!!)

Mulled Wine Sachets
The original recipe includes orange peal. I found that if you were making the sachets in advance the peal was not dried and therefore spoilt, so I remove it and added more orange slices to the wine)

3-4" cinnamon stick (7-10cm)
30 cloves
20 allspice berries
3 cardamom pods
6" (15cm) square of cheese-cloth, muslin or other plain cotton fabric. 
Cotton thread to bind the sachet shut

This is so simple, tie up all the spices in the muslin and secure with the cotton thread. You will need to break the cinnamon stick in half so it will fit in the muslin.

To  make the mulled wine
Add the spice sachet, 3 Tbsp of sugar, and 750mL (one bottle) of red wine to a saucepan.  Slice a large orange into the saucepan too. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15min. Ladle into mugs and serve hot. Garnish with a slice of orange for a nice touch and enjoy.

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