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Stop the gravy train....

by:
Emma Rogers

...in YOUR  budget!  Torontonians have been furiously discussing the election results over the last week.  Comments ranging from “we’re screwed!” to “we’re saved!”  are being exchanged all over the show from work place kitchens to Facebook status updates.   I've never seen you so passionate!  No matter what your take on our new Mayor one thing’s for sure, we came out in record numbers to vote and we’re in the mood to cut back spending to the bare minimum, no matter who we have to vote for to get it.   According to the big retailers though, it’s time to unleash your wallets and let the Holiday spending begin!  I saw my first Holiday advert of the year on TV yesterday and this morning my take away coffee cup was sporting snowflakes.  It’s time to reclaim the Holidays for ourselves. 

I know it’s early but I’m already thinking Holiday gifts because this year I’m making everything!  And it’s going to take time.  If you’re on my gift list this year you’re getting one of two things:  Mulled wine or slipper socks. No, knitting is not just for your Granny!  Any additional gifts I buy this season will be home grown and/or purchased from local retailers.  I’m stopping the gravy train to big retailers.  They’ve slashed their prices too late one too many times.  Half price Halloween candy anyone?  People are out in droves after big Holidays like New Year’s Day.  Revelling in the savings when really it’s a blatant slap in the face, “here’s how much this stuff actually cost!” 

I’m also telling people who usually buy me gifts to get me something small, if anything.  And this year I actually mean it!  You may not want to be so militant in your approach but since the Holidays are being sold to us so early we may as well take this time to think about how we’ll spend our money.   Even if you don’t give mulled wine as gifts to your family and friends it’s nice to have it cooking on the stove for your Holiday parties, it's the Holidays in a glass!   We'll have plenty of tips and advice for you in the run up to the Holidays but in the mean time start perfecting your mulled wine!

Mulled Wine recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 Clementine’s.
  • Peel of one lemon.
  • Peel of one lime.
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • 2 star anise.
  • 1 vanilla pod, halved.
  • 2 bottles of Ontario red wine, your choice.  I recommend Merlot or Shiraz***.
  • Substantial dash of brandy***.

***You can substitute apple cider for the wine and brandy for alcohol free mulled wine.

Peel large sections of peel from your clementines, lemon and lime using peeler.  Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the peel and squeeze in the clementine juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick and about 10 to 12 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar. Let it simmer until the sugar has completely dissolved into the red wine and then bring to the boil. Keep on a rolling boil for about 4 to 5 minutes or until you’ve got a thick syrup.  It’s important to  make a syrup base first because it needs to be quite hot, and if you do this with both bottles of wine in there you’ll burn off the alcohol and who wants that!

When your syrup is ready turn the heat down to low and add the star anise both bottles of wine and brandy.  Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes it should be warm and ready to serve.

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