Very Busy and Important Elf Work

The days are rushing past now in a flurry of activity and pre-Christmas fun, much like the swirling snowflakes in Ari’s snow-globe and we are happily swept up in it.

Busy crafting, baking, wrapping and twining, we are strangely enough, also trying new recipes that require hours of preparation and time spent communally stirring the pot as if we cannot bear to be dragged away from the stove right now.

Last week it was Heston Blumenthal or as Ari affectionately calls her idol “That Crazy Heston” and his Perfect Spaghetti Bolognaese. A triumph of exquisite flavour, with such length and breadth on the palette that it could be tasted a minute after swallowing each delicious bite! It was of course well toasted with corresponding wines from generous friends and finished with Uncle Jamie’s Mulled Wine.

If you only create one new thing this December make it this recipe. Spicy and sweet with a deep crimson hue, its Christmas in a glass, or bottled if you need last minute gift ideas.

A very simple process of creating a red wine sugar syrup before adding a few decent bottles of red, it was a welcome reprieve from the intensity that is a Heston recipe. I couldn’t get/be bothered with clementines and so used green apples instead – they worked a treat.

In a pot place the peel of two green apples, one lemon and one lime. Add 200 grams of caster sugar, 6 whole cloves, 1 stick cinnamon, 3 fresh bay leaves, 8-10 grates of nutmeg, 1 vanilla pod halved, seeds scraped and a partridge in a pear tree.

Pour over your half decent chianti or red wine, just enough to cover and boil until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has taken on a syrupy consistency, about ten minutes. This will give you the flavour base to then add the rest of your two bottles of wine and 2 star anise. Simmer very gently for about five minutes just enough to heat through but not cook off the alcohol, clearly that would be wrong.


Sorry there isn’t a picture of the finished product. I was too busy ooohhing and aaahhing over it….

Amongst it all, Lady Moss found the time to create a dazzlingly pink winter wonderland village of gingerbread for Ari’s teachers. We cooked all from scratch this year and will happily do the same again next year its just that delicious and easy to work with using the Sweetopia recipe.

Lady Moss took a day to complete each stage and although I felt for awhile my life was gingerbread, the outcome was five dreamy wee cottages and one romantic renovators delight. One finds that Royal Icing (recipe also from Sweetopia) and cellophane cover a multitude of sins that we look forward to creating dozens more next year. Before you mutter certifiable, remember I prefer to think of it as low down on the OCD scale.

I’m sure you’ll agree they did turn out to be rather quaint.




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1 Comment

  1. Bevy

     /  December 4, 2013

    Simply beautiful ! x


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