A Joyous Holiday Season and Happy Christmas to you all.

As the well known tune goes….”It is getting to feel a lot like Christmas”….actually, looking out of my window, it feels more like the North Pole!!!

Still we are definitely in the Christmas spirit and the kitchen is full of those wonderful smells that I always associate with this time of year….cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves; mince pies, chocolate and shortbread. Yum!!! The family have all put in their two cents as to what should be served…..so many traditions. However I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope it is the same for all of you and that this will be the best Christmas ever?

I have chosen two recipes this month. They are not part of the traditional feast but more the type of food you may serve if you are having friends dropping by for drinks. Both recipes will fill your home with truly festive and glorious aromas, so much so your guests may never want to leave.

The first recipe is for Hot Spiced Mulled Wine. Put a pot of this on low before you go skiing or out for a walk and by the time you come home the house will envelop you in a big warm citrusy red wine hug!!!

Mulled Wine

1 bottle (750 ml)      Red wine

2 tbsp            Sugar

2                      Oranges, sliced

10                   Cloves

1                      Star Anise

1                      Cinnamon stick

½ cup           Triple Sec

Method

Gently warm the red wine, orange slices, spices and the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. (should take 10-15 minutes)

Add the triple sec. Keep wine on a very low heat, just to keep warm.

When all the flavours have fused……serve.

In this recipe use only a house wine; triple sec is fine but any orange liqueur or brandy will do just as well. If you don’t have star anise (which has a mild licorice flavour) then leave it out or use a little mace instead.

To go with this warming wine I have a Gorgonzola Pizza. This Pizza is heavy with onions and leeks all sauteed in red wine and then finished with Gorgonzola Cheese. If you don’t like Gorgonzola then use any cheese you like….and why not throw on a little of that left over turkey?

Gorgonzola Pizza

2              thin pizza crusts

4 cups    sliced red onions

2               leeks, washed and sliced

3 tbsp    olive oil

2/3 cups    red wine

1/3 cups     balsamic vinegar

½ tsp          cayenne pepper

2 tbsp         chopped fresh basil

2 oz             proscuitto, chopped

6 – 8 oz     gorgonzola cheese

1 tsp           chopped fresh rosemary

1 tbsp        pine nuts

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Turn oven to 400*f
  2. Heat oil in a large sauté pan
  3. Sauté onions and leeks in oil until golden brown (about 20 mins)…I add a tsp of sugar
  4. Add the wine and vinegar and cook until ¾ of the liquid has evaporated.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, cayenne and add the basil and chopped prosciutto
  6. Spread this mixture on the pizza bases, sprinkle with rosemary
  7. Add the cheese, then the pine nuts.
  8. Sprinkle with a little good olive oil
  9. Season with extra pepper
  10. Bake for 15 mins

There really are no rules for this recipe….so play with it and have fun.

Well I hope you find these recipes fill a small gap this holiday season and inspire you to try something new.

But for now , my family and I would like to wish you all a very happy, peaceful, safe (and tasty) Christmas.

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