mellicious: pink manicure (xmas - merry & bright)
We sang that song in high school - I don't know if everybody knows it nowadays (or for that matter if most people did back then, either) - "...Our bread it is white and our ale it is brown / Our bowl it is made of the green maple tree" etc. Anyway, that's still the first thing that pops in my head when I see the word wassail.

But the second thing is the drink. I used to make up big batches at the holidays but it's an awful lot of trouble since it's really too much for two of us, and it's not real easy to transport. But Rob found a gallon of apple cider at Aldi for quite cheap, and I wanted something that approximates the cider drink I used to make by the gallon that can be made one cup at a time. After soem experimentation, I've come up with a version that is close enough to feel like wassail rather than just cider, to me, anyway. So I thought I would pass it along.

The main things I used to put in my large-batch wassail was cinnamon sticks, cloves, and oranges, and sugar. I looked at a bunch of different recipes to come up with mine, and I never really wrote it down, but it mostly involved dumping most of a small bottle of cloves, a small bunch of cinnamon sticks, rather a lot of sugar, and several oranges, quartered, into a big pan along with a gallon of cider, bringing it to a boil, and then turning it down and letting it simmer for an hour or so. I might have used some additional ingredients in other years (lemon juice comes to mind) but that's the gist of it. Then you can add liquor afterwards - I usually use brandy, but for the big-batch type I just let people add whatever they want, or drink it with no liquor at all.

So for the cup-by-cup version, I've dispensed with the cloves, and instead of cinnamon sticks (which are expensive) I just have been using ground cinnamon. Cinnamon and sugar also works. But I think the thing that makes it actually taste like wassail is the orange flavor along with the cinnamon and apple flavors. What I've been doing for that is just quartering an orange and throwing one piece of it in the cup, and then microwaving the whole shebang.

So here's the "recipe" such as it is.

Mel's wassail by the cup

Put the following in a microwavable mug:

  • apple cider (preferably the "fresh" kind that's available in the fall in gallon jugs in the produce section) (fill your mug about 3/4 full, to leave room for the orange)

  • cinnamon to taste

  • sugar or sweetener to taste

  • a quarter of a fresh orange, peel and all

  • brandy or other liquor if desired

Microwave until hot. (In my microwave it takes about a minute and a half.)

As far as the liquor, we bought a 750ml bottle of brandy at Spec's last year and we're still working through that. It was a domestic, not-too-expensive brand (Taylor, I think? I checked, it's Korbel) and it was fine as far as I'm concerned. If you're a connoisseur of brandies you might want something better than that. Or I'm sure vodka or wine might work fine, too. But brandy tastes good in the winter, to me.

And I drink it with the orange still in the mug, but you could of course fish it out if you wanted. If you do that, you probably should squeeze some of the contents back into the mug before you discard the rest of the orange. (The meat of the orange also tastes really good after it's marinated in the cider-and-liquor mixture for a while.)


2015holibadge-blue.gif
mellicious: pink manicure (Xmas tree lights)
Ever since the "holiday recipes" prompt a few days ago, I've been meaning to post the one recipe I made last Christmas - fudge. I didn't make it on my own initiative, either - my mother tore the recipe out of a magazine and demanded that I make it. And I did, and it was awfully good. I'll probably be making it again sometime this week.


Never-fail fudge
(from marshmallowfluff.com)

one 7-1/2 oz. jar Marshmallow Fluff
1/2 stick butter or margarine
one 5.33 oz can evaporated milk
2-1/2 cups sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate pieces
1/2 c. chopped walnuts

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan; set aside. Combine first 5 ingredients in large saucepan. Stir over low heat until blended. Heat to a full rolling boil, being careful not to mistake escaping air bubbles for boiling. Boil slowly, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and chocolate until chocolate is melted. Add nuts. Turn into greased pan and cool. Makes 2-1/2 pounds.

---------------------------

Of course this calls for Marshmallow Fluff but I couldn't find it so I used Kroger brand marshmallow cream. It seems to have worked fine. Other notes: I used butter; evaporated milk seems to only come in 5-oz. cans but I figured that was close enough; and I used pecans instead of walnuts.

And my one criticism after eating was that it didn't have enough nuts to suit me - I think I will double them next time.


Holidailies gold

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