Mulled Cider..

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Every Autumn, down at St George’s market in Belfast, my ‘Lady from Armagh’ has a selection of fresh bottled apple juices in different flavours, depending on which variety of apple is used.

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The Apple juice from St George’s is used in my Mulled Cider recipe, which is always popular at home. Mulled Cider is light, relatively low-alcohol, and with the addition of spices and some cider, is a delicious element of the run-up to Christmas. I actually prefer it now to Mulled Wine, although obviously if that’s all you’ve got, I’ll force a glass or two down, just to be polite 😉

The recipe couldn’t be easier:

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All the Christmassy flavours!

EQUIPMENT:

  • A large stock pot (and another, slightly smaller for the non-alcoholic version)

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  • A ladle for serving – check that it pours well (or if you can beg or borrow an insulated jug, all the better)
  • Heat-resistant glasses

INGREDIENTS: It’s hard to say how many this feeds – it really depend on how much people like it! See NOTES below for quick replenishing information.

  • 4 litres of dry Cider
  • 1 x 750ml bottle of good quality apple juice.
  • 4 cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4-6 Star anise
  • 1/4 of a nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 1 vanilla pod, split, or 2-3 heaped teaspoons of vanilla sugar
  • Juice of a large orange
  • Mandarin or Clementine oranges, sliced.

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METHOD: Rocket-science this:

  • Put everything (except the mandarins) into the large pot. You can do this as early as you like – the flavour will only improve if you let it sit before heating)

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  • About an hour before you’re ready to serve, heat it gently until it’s hot – try your best NOT to let it boil.
  • Stir occasionally, then taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary.
  • Then strain the cider, rinse out the pot, and return the cider to  it, cover, and put on a very gentle heat.

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  • Add the sliced mandarins shortly before serving.
  • Keep the spices in a bowl nearby in case you need a more than one pot.

NOTES:

  • I find serving from a ladle a very messy business, especially if you’re busy talking to people, checking ovens for warmed nibbles, etc. If you have an insulated jug, it’s really useful for such an occasion. If not, try decanting it into a sturdy pottery jug, and fill several glasses at a time.
  • The  second pot: Put the previously used spices into the pot, add the ingredients as before, except the nutmeg, and bring immediately to heat. Again, don’t let it boil. Strain and discard the spices this time. Taste and adjust seasoning, add freshly cut mandarin slices to serve.
  • If you have a drop of Calvados or Apple brandy handy, a small amount will really enhance this.
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Yum!

 

About

I started writing down recipes in an old copybook when I was about 16. With 6 children at home, my Mother was always glad of a hand in the kitchen, and really allowed us to experiment - as long as we washed up afterwards, and left the kitchen immaculate! Having a tidy kitchen has followed me through my life, as has the habit of writing down my favourite recipes; except that these days I write them for my website, and add photographs when I can. The website really started when it occurred to me that my daughter might like to have these recipes when I've forgotten them. In my early days of cooking for family and friends, I used to phone my Mum all the time to ask her for the recipe for some of our favourite family dinners. She rarely had a recipe to hand - I think, like me, she made a lot of it up as she went along.. So welcome to Eating for Ireland - these are the recipes that my friends and family having been eating these past 40 years.. yes, I truly am ancient! They are tried and tested, and have worked for me for all that time - I have updated them as new ingredients became available - I really hope you'll find something that you can make into a family favourite of your own. You don't have to tell anyone where you found these great new dishes that you're serving up - it can be our little secret, but I'd really love it if you could give me a sneaky 'follow' on Facebook and Instagram.. So off you go - have a good rummage around, you're bound to find something new! My sincere thanks to all of you who have found a recipe that you liked and dropped me a line to tell me - I really do love to hear from you! Happy Cooking! Becks xx

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