Freebie recipes: warm winter beverages

 

What about some delicious concoctions in vintage glasses? It’s the time of the year where it can be really freezing over here, for me it can’t get any better. Enjoy staying warm inside by the roaring wood fire in your festive flannel pjs, cozy fleece blanket on top of you, the cutest warmest winter socks out of your cupboard, cuddling up your feet…

Let’s not have chilly fingers and have some fragrant, delicious, festive winter, lukewarm or hot beverages for a lazy day or a cozy winter evening, for one reason only: to spoil ourselves. Offering you some inspiration in this post, so flavours will buzz up your evening!

It’s all in the presentation as well! How on earth do you hold that warm cup in your hands, well simply put it in a small lovely woven basket, layered with a decorative set of vintage serviettes or even better use a thin homemade cherry stones pad inside, ready to serve and hold.

We all know the orange slice with cloves pricked in it, or the star anise fruit floating in your cup, so do add it to your warm drink. By the way never forget that citrus fruits in supermarkets are often dipped in a wax as preservative and to add shine, so do scrub your fruits in a little warm water and baking soda, before using them!

There’s so much more a creative mind can realize! Why not serve a set of four mugs, each with a number on, representing 2015, standing on a set of cinnamon sticks, bound together raft wise with a nice ribbon as beverage coaster.

Or enjoy your cup of cheer presented in a hollow apple served with a cinnamon stick, accompanied by a heart shaped cookie (cut of the top of the apple, hollow it out, make sure you cut a bit of the bottom so it stands sturdy). I once saw mushroom mugs, the lid was the head, keeping the beverage warm, so cute!

As a Belgian you have to add some cuberdons (cone-shaped Belgian candy)on a lovely vintage plate. The French call them chapeau-de-curé / prêtre meaning the priest’s hat, we the Belgians call them “neuzen” or noses.

Lovely winter themed candy “snowballs” ( marshmallows with coconut cover) and what the French call “tête de nègre” later “bisous de mousse” to avoid the racial issues (Negro kisses / angel kisses), are made of simple eggwhite beaten to foam with sugar, then boiling sugar syrup is added to stiffen the egg white, this is sprayed on a biscuit and once cooled down upside down dunked in chocolate and so it becomes the covered candy with chocolate. Go for some nic nacs ( dry biscuits shaped in alphabetic shaped letters, numbers) and add a nostalgic touch to your special treat dish. The thought of caramel apples, on a stick, pops up in my mind too, what a delicious treat.

The net swirls with warm and tender recipes for soothing winter evenings near the open wood fire. Whether it is a traditional Gluhwein, a spiced hot wine punch, an orange scented mulled wine, a hot apple cider with marsh mellows, an apple cider vinegar brew or a non alcoholic cardamom, sage/thyme or hibiscus tea, a hot cranberry/ molasses / almond milk, a lavender/ peanut butter hot chocolate served with homemade churros (!) or a hot pineapple-ginger punch (put slices of pineapple on top of each other from the bottom till the top of your glass and pour the punch over it, then on the top of the glass, put a cocktail stick with pineapple cubes slightly roasted)… I can’t make up my mind which one to tackle first.

Did you ever try to make a simple hot chocolate drink with coconut milk instead of normal milk, simply delicious (always melt the chocolate in the cream first, to avoid tiny lumps floating in your drink). Don’t forget: chilly powder and chocolate mix well too!

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Some of my favourites for warm hospitality: spoil my guests using my Kona set, to serve the traditional cup of coffee in a grand way or put a great wassail bowl on your table.
For those who don’t know the Kona: fill the top bowl with coffee (it is presented with that bowl on the right, but you lift it out of its holder and put it on top of the other one), put water (nearly boiling, it goes quicker then) into the bottom glass bowl, put the heather (filled with methylated spirit) under it and lit it.
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The water will start to boil and evaporated to the bowl above. When all the water has gone into that one, take away the heat source and the water will come down again into the bottom one, offering you the best coffee ever.
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Always use quality coffee in a Kona, it’s sheer delight for guests, to watch the coffee being made and the tempting cup of coffee prepared this way, offers an outstanding taste!

For those who’d like to see how it works (mind you, here they put it on the gas stove)watch this clip I found on youtube (modern version of a Kona):

The wassail bowl, is guaranteed success too, sheer delight to see.
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A big beautiful glass container is filled with floating mandarins (pricked with cloves) offering you a delightful spicy vintage drink (based on oranges / mandarines, apple ciders, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, vodka and brandy). The two Anglo Saxon words: “wes” (be thou) and “hal” (whole) became the word “wassail”.

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For about 18 people:

– 6 mandarines

– 150 cl apple cider

– 3/4 of a cup lime juice

– 5 cinnemon sticks

– 1 cup of vodka

– 1/8 cup of brandy

Preheat the oven 350F / 180°C

Put cloves in the mandarines

Bake uncovered 30 min in the oven

Heat cider until bubbles show up around the edge

Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, cinnamon sticks and oranges.

Put it back on very low heat (covered) for about 30 min.

Add vodka and brandy, mix and serve warm.

The best ideas, delicious recipes, were always gathered from sharing with friends. Please do not hesitate to share some your delightful hot beverage ideas or recipes with me. Let’s soak up some warmth, no excuses to not enjoy these chilly days!

Celebrating the cold season in style

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