Prague Adventures and Spiced Mulled Wine

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I’ve been on a little jaunt across to Prague since my last post. As is customary around this time of year my family like to spend a few days somewhere really cold where we can wrap up warm (I wore five layers most days), visit the christmas markets, eat lardy food and soak up a bit of culture. Prague hit the spot and besides I have always wanted to return as my last visit was interrupted the whole time by work calls from London. This time I vowed to turn off my phone and all communication with the outside world.

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The best way to explore any city is by foot or bike, although across cobble stones the former mode of transport is by far more advisable. So for three full days we walked around the old city across the bridges, through the various squares, visiting the cathedral, churches and palace and taking in some art – both old and new. Our days of walking were interspersed with tasty pit stops. My girls loved to eat these wonderful hot pastry rolls that were dipped in cinnamon sugar.

Whilst Mr B and I enjoyed sipping some festive mulled wine/gluhwein/vin chaud/glogg. Nothing beats drinking mulled wine when the outside temperature is close to zero. It warms you up from the inside out and gives you that renewed energy to keep exploring a little longer in the cold elements.

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It’s brilliantly easy to make yourself and is a great winter warmer for the holiday period. Over the Christmas break you can guarantee that I for one will be drinking a glass or two after our Boxing day walk. The warming smell of the cinnamon and cloves bubbling away in the red wine on the stove evokes so many happy memories.  I recommend using the cheapest bottle of red plonk that you can get your hands on – save your Chateaux Margaux for another occasion!

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Spiced Mulled Wine

Serves 6 (a couple of glasses each!)

2 bottles of cheap red wine

150g (or 100g if you prefer it less sweet!) caster sugar

1/2 freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tsp cloves

4 cardamom pods

2 sticks of cinnamon split in two

100ml port (optional)

a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp allspice

200ml water

orange peel strips to serve

1. In a large pan add the caster sugar and half a pint of red wine and stir until completely dissolved.

2. Add the remaining ingredients aside from the orange peel strips and simmer gently for 45 minutes.

3. Strain the liquid before serving and gently pour the hot spiced mulled wine into individual glasses or mugs and add a orange peel strip to each one.

You can make in advance and then reheat when needed. You can also store in the fridge overnight to be reheated the following day.

Note: If you have some muslin cloth you could add all the spices to this cloth and then simply remove before serving, instead of straining. 

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I bid you all a very happy Christmas and will be back with my next post in the New Year. Thank you for always stopping by and supporting me with your comments and likes over the last couple of years. Merry Christmas to you all.

Torie x

Take a sneak peek at a few of the other sights we saw in Prague below.


Indian Spiced Tea – the perfect hot drink for stormy weather

Indian Spiced Tea

Oh its been mighty stormy recently in the UK. The type of storm that wakes you up in the middle of the night and your mind begins to play tricks and convinces you that the house will take off torpedo style like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz . Since I’m living in England and not Kansas or along a typical hurricane belt, I normally manage to get back to sleep in the knowledge that the wind will pass and we won’t be reliving the 1987 hurricane.

For the last few days however, the winds and rains have been battering our doors and keeping us cooped up inside. So when they gave us a little respite and a clear sky was visible we grabbed our wellies and headed out to face the cold wind on a country walk and to stretch our legs. We are spending a few days out of London so a walk in the fields with the pheasants and sheep was overdue.

After a bracing walk we returned to the warmth of the house and drank Indian spiced tea from elegant antique bone china cups, as you do.

In Kolkata, where Mr B is originally from, they often serve it in delicate little clay mugs, like this, at the side of the road from chai wallahs. They are often made from river clay that is then baked in an open fire. After use you literally discard your clay mug and it dissolves back into the earth. Environmentally friendly and far more hygienic than having a glass washed rapidly in unsanitised water at the edge of the road.

The drink is sweet, creamy and fragrant with ginger, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon all vying for attention. It’s the perfect drink to transport us to warmer climates and exotic locations. Try it and let me know. If you prefer a stronger tea then add one more tea bag and a little less milk and more water.

 


Please note that I have not added the water in this photo and you will need more milk than what is shown, the jug was too irresistible not to photograph.

Indian Spiced Tea

Serves 6

600ml full fat milk

600ml cold water

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1tsp ground ginger

1tsp ground cardamom (this works out to be approximately 5 cardamom pods)

1/2 (half) tsp ground cloves

3 tea bags (black tea such as PG)

6 cinnamon sticks, for serving

Please note that I have used ground spices, however, if you do not have these to hand or do not have a spice grinder you can use fresh ingredients and then simply strain the liquid after the tea has infused and before serving. 

1. In a saucepan add the water, all the spices (except the cinnamon sticks which are for serving) and the tea bags. Bring to the boil and then simmer for  5 minutes before adding the milk and sugar and then simmering for a further 10 minutes.

2. Let the spices and tea continue to infuse off the heat. You can leave them in the pan to cool. All this can be prepared in advance a few hours before drinking.

3. When ready to serve reheat the tea, removing the tea bags and simmering gently for 5 minutes. Serve immediately and place a cinnamon stick in each mug/glass. This is done more for effect than a major flavour enhancer so do not worry if you do not have any to hand.