It’s the time of the year again where it’s all festive. People are getting all excited about almost everything. Our team in the office has planned like ten Christmas lunches. Organizing secret Santa, Christmas lunches, decorating the desks, shopping for Christmas jumpers is what comprises of the December calendar. We never celebrated Christmas in the true sense till we moved to UK. In India, as one can expect it used to be more traditional back in the day. While it did involve some decorations and good food, it was more about going to the mass, visiting family and friends. It makes sense considering the Christian population in India is just above 2%. But, I do enjoy the festive season and me being me I want to do it all and be part of everything, so we have a tree, visit markets , exchange gifts and of course eat to our hearts content on the day – – ok well during the month J . We will be in India this year and I am hoping the globalisation has done good in terms of getting people out a bit more to celebrate Christmas irrespective of their faith.
For me, personally, it’s still a bit low profile at the moment because of the extremely challenging deadlines and work load. I am not even excited about gifts ‘yet’. My son gave me his letter to Santa where he requested toys for his cousin’s as well …how sweet no? When I appreciated him for that, he liked the idea and wants to update his letter and wants to add a whole lot of things to the list for his loved ones. I am like ….yeah…You get them those things not just ask Father Christmas :) . Buying gifts is getting more and more difficult and challenging starting from gauging the person’s likes and dislikes, cost, shopping around for gifts. I personally love the idea of handmade gifts. Especially, if they are edible gifts then all the gifts are sorted in one go and you will definitely have happy receivers because who doesn’t like a bit of a Christmas treat? I have attempted edible gifts before and made chilli chocolate brownies along with few other things, which was very successful with the colleagues, friends and family. This year the whole thing became even more exciting because a bunch of my lovely girl friends decided we would exchange handmade gifts over a brunch as a christmas tradition.I have taken a ginormous task of making a hamper of edible goodies for friends. I was up against the time but managed to pull it off in the end. It looked something like this.
My friends on the other hand were so organised and all of their gifts were filled with good wishes and love. Receiving gifts is one thing but knowing that the person has put in so much hard work for you, just to bring a smile on your face, that’s really something to be thankful about. Also everyone has been so kind and posted how they made their DIY gifts in their blogs. Do visit their blogs and take a look at how they went about making their friends happy.
So on this occasion S presented us with these super cute, personalised jar of body scrub and a lip balm
V made these gorgeous rocky road and oh boy! were they delicious. the family completely enjoyed chomping on them.
N made candles in a lovely vintage tea cups and fizzy bath bombs. Don’t they look just pretty?
I have started with these lovely bottles of Mulling syrup. I was so impressed with the idea, but was debating the recipe for some time. When I finally made up my mind, I decided I would go about it just as I would do with my regular mulled wine which is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe and I am quite happy with the results.
So, the idea is to give someone a no-nonsense mulled wine. An easy way to whip up a glass of warm wine for themselves or those unexpected guests. Usually, mulled wine does involve little amounts of a lot of ingredients, which can be tedious to shop around for. And shopping for the spices is a separate story, especially if someone who is not into cooking will not have all the spices and you don’t want your loved ones to have a store-bought, ready-made mulled wine do you? That is where this fabulous idea of mulling syrup comes and once you have bottled it, all they have to do is warm up some nice fruity red wine and mix the syrup which is infused of all the necessary action. Isn’t that even a handy thing to keep at home to welcome you on those chilly nights after work? So, to get started with making this infused concentrated potion.
This recipe will make four ml bottles of Mulling syrup.
You will need : 4 Bottles sterilised (Wash them in hot water or a dish washer and dry them completely)
6-8 Bay Leaves
4 Tsp Nutmeg powder
5 Cinnamon sticks
2 Vanilla pods
6 Star Anise
1 Kg sugar
Halve the clementines, lemons and lime. Mix all the ingredients in a deep pan and add 3 liters of water. Boil the mixture for about an hour . Keep the lid on for the first 20 minutes so the aroma, and flavours are infused to some extent and then for the rest of the duration you can keep the lid off. This only makes the process quicker and within an hour you should have concentrated, sweet and infused syrup.
Let the syrup cool. Once cooled, filter the syrup and fill the bottles.
To make Mulled wine from this syrup :
Add 500 ml syrup in one ltr of a good fruity red wine and bring it to boil. Serve warm mulled wine and enjoy the instant warmth that it provides.
Have a merry Christmas and a Happy New year!!