Well, Christmas eve really has crept up on me this year. I haven’t wrapped any presents other than helping Libby to wrap the one she got for Lia. So tonight, we will be sitting down with a few mugs of mulled elderflower wine (recipe below), wrapping presents and decorating the Christmas cakes. I can’t wait.
Mulled elderflower wine
The preparations for this little tipple started way back in June, when the elderflowers were at their best on the trees. As I’d recently had Lia, my dad was kind enough to pick a carrier back full for me. This was added to 12 litres of hot water, 4 litres of cold water, 3 kg of sugar, the juice and zest of 8 lemons and 4 oranges, 6 tablespoons of white wine vinegar and a sachet of baker’s yeast.
Once I’d stirred it, I covered it with a clean muslin and left it for over a week, until the fermentation had stopped causing it to bubble. I then strained it through a muslin and bottled it into 10 x 2 litre pop bottles. The recipe makes approximately 20 litres. It was then stashed away until last week!
Now, when we want some elderflower mulled wine, I make it up in two litre batches in a large pan. Into the pan goes the juice and jest of 3/4 of an orange and a whole lemon. Into the remaining 1/4 of an orange, I stuck 12 cloves, this then went into the pan. I then added a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and mixed spice before adding the elderflower wine.
As I’m cooking it, I add both sugar and honey to taste. It will take quite a lot to prevent it from being too bitter, and more if you like it really sweet, which I don’t. Right at the end, I add a dash of either brandy or cinnamon vodka. I then drain it through a sieve before serving, or through a muslin if you don’t like any sediment in it. It needs to be served hot.
To give this as presents, I bottle it into sterilised Lorina lemonade bottles, they are nice and sturdy and look great once you’ve removed all the labels. I then just tie a gift tag around them, making sure I write on instructions to heat it before use and the year.
I love making my own Christmas presents, I’m really not a fan of the consumerism associated with Christmas. I particularly hate the shops at this time of year, so I ordered a very small number of presents online and everyone else has had presents handmade either by me or a friend of mine who sells beautiful hand knitted slippers. I also made our Christmas cake, as well as an extra one for hubby’s aunt who insists that this is her ideal Christmas gift.
Libby and Lia are getting festive and enjoying wrapping up warm to walk Pluto in the cold weather. Libby is hoping for a book from Father Christmas, and we have put in a special request for some sleeping dust for Lia to make her sleep all night. Fingers crossed!
Tonight, we intend to watch the International Space Station going overhead and tell Libby that it’s Father Christmas, as it reflects the sun’s light and appears red and sparkly. It is passing us at about 5.22pm, you can find out what time it passes you each day from the NASA website.
We have already watched NORAD tracks Santa, Libby and Lia’s Portable North Pole videos (several times) and re-read their letters from Santa. I think we are going to have an incredibly excited two year old on our hands this evening when we leave a mince pie and a carrot out for Santa and Rudolf.
Merry Christmas to you all.