Listening to: Katchafire
Watching: Dr Who
Making me smile: Gingerbread and mulled wine!
Well, it's midwinter, folks! (Or midsummer, if you're in the northern hemisphere.) Down here in New Zealand, it's cold, dark, grey, wet, and I can see some snow on the mountains (when the clouds lift). For me, though, midwinter will always mean snow piled thickly on the ground and candles shining in windows and thin, crisp gingerbread and fragrant, spicy mulled wine.
You see, when I was seventeen I had the great good fortune to live in Sweden for a year. Best year of my life! I love Sweden, and I love the change of seasons there. Winter is winter in a way it isn't in New Zealand. The days are short and freezing. There's snow falling from the sky, snow piled up on the ground. Candles shine in people's windows. And best of all, there's plenty of homemade gingerbread cookies and mulled wine, or in Swedish: pepparkakor and glögg.
So, to celebrate Midwinter, this year I made some mulled wine. Fortunately, there's a Swedish bakery in town, so I didn't have to root my Swedish cookbooks out of storage -- I could just buy a bag of heart-shaped gingerbread cookies! For those of you who'd like to join me in celebrating mid-winter, below is the mulled wine recipe I used. (And, not to blow my own trumpet, but this glögg is amazing!)
1 bottle red table wine (I used a merlot)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
4 sticks cinnamon
3 pieces crystallised ginger
zest of a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
1. Crush the cinnamon sticks. Put all spices plus the lemon zest in a glass jar with the vodka. Leave overnight. (On the left is what my vodka looked like. It smelled fantastic!)
2. Strain the vodka, discard the spices.
3. Mix the spiced vodka with the wine and sugar.
4. Heat all the ingredients in a large saucepan until steaming hot. DO NOT boil! Stir and taste.
5. If not sweet enough, add more sugar. If too sweet, add more wine.
6. Serve with gingerbread cookies.
So, how are you marking mid-winter? I know what I'm doing -- having some more glögg!