Getting in the mood…


How is everyone faring? With the gallery closed for the week, I am in a cozy swirl of cookie baking (chocolate gingerbread – my favorite), frantic gift purchasing (I always leave it to the end) and party going. I’ve also been thumbing through some of my favorite seasonal cookbooks including Nigella Christmas to find inspiration. I’m having a few friends over tonight for a small holiday soiree and I think I’ll try out the recipe for “Spiced Cider Wassail Bowl” that my mom posted on her blog last week (adapted from Parties!: Menus for Easy Good Times. Seems to epitomize all that is warm and festive…

Spiced Cider Wassail Bowl

8 cups good-quality cider
2 cinnamon sticks
10 allspice berries
8 whole cloves
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups orange juice
1 Tb. lemon juice
1 cup dark rum
1/2 cup brandy or Cognac
Quartered orange slices for garnish

1. In a large saucepan, combine the cider, whole spices, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook gently for about 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar.
2. Stir in orange juice, lemon juice, rum, and brandy. Heat gently. When ready to serve, float orange slices in wassail. Ladle hot wassail into small punch cups, serving directly from the stove or placing pot on a warming tray in the dining room.