We're off to the Blue Mountains this weekend to sit in front of a roaring log fire with mulled wine and board games. I haven't packed yet. What will we eat? I don't know. Maybe we could hunt or something. Ok, no, that is a stupid idea. How about toast? Will you bring the toast?
Anyway, I digress.
Drinking mulled wine and playing board games are, of course, perfect winter activities. Much more so than camping in the snow, which is what we did last year. You know, the year when I was organised enough to plan such adventures. It was fun, but I'm not sure I'll do it again. Something I did take away from that trip, aside from the knowledge that camping in the snow is freakin' cold, is how to make campfire gluhwein! Yum! We just shoved a pot in the coals and made do. BEST GLUHWEIN EVER.
200 g caster sugar
6 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
3 bay leaves
1 whole nutmeg, for grating
1 vanilla pod, halved lengthways
2 star anise
2 bottles of red wine
Peel large sections of peel from your oranges and lemon using a peeler. Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the pieces of peel and squeeze in the orange juice. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick, bay leaves and about 10 gratings of nutmeg. Throw in your halved vanilla pod and stir in just enough red wine to cover the sugar.
Let this 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 beautiful thick syrup. Creating a syrup first prevents you boiling off the alcohol while trying to infuse the wine with flavour.
When your syrup is ready, turn the heat down to low and add your star anise and the rest of the wine. Gently heat the wine and after around 5 minutes, when it's warm and delicious, ladle it into glasses and serve. Leave on a low heat for seconds!
Recipe adapted from here.