Recipe from ICA Patricia Cavanagh, Ballinode Guild, Monaghan:
“Each year since the new millennium, on the Sunday before Christmas, my local walking club in Knockatallon on the Monaghan–Tyrone border meet up with the Clogher Valley walkers. Our annual ‘mulled wine walk’ takes us up to Knockmany Cairn, an ancient passage grave situated on a high hilltop. There we sing carols and share flasks of mulled wine with homemade mince pies and shortbread”.
– 1 lemon, unwaxed if possible
– 1 large orange, or two mandarin oranges
– 4 dozen cloves, approx.
– 170g (6oz) brown sugar
– 2 sticks cinnamon
– 2–3 star anise (optional)
– 1 bottle red wine
– ½ bottle ruby port
– thin slices of orange and lemon
– sprinkling of grated nutmeg (optional)
1. Pare the lemon and the orange (or mandarins) thinly and remove the pith.
2. Stud the peeled fruit all over with cloves, and add to a large saucepan with 570ml (1 pint) water. Add the brown
sugar, cinnamon and star anise, if using. If you are using unwaxed lemons or oranges, you can add the peel too.
3. Stir over heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for about an hour to give the flavours time to combine. (Even
better, you can prepare this a day in advance to really give the flavours a chance to blend, and simply reheat it before the next step.)
4. Strain and discard the fruit and spices. Return the infused liquid to the saucepan and add the red wine and port. Reheat to bring almost to the boil.
5. Serve hot with orange and lemon slices and a sprinkling of
nutmeg if desired.
The ICA Book of Christmas lets you in on secrets and tips that have been passed down and perfected through generations of Irish families. Find traditional recipes for festive feasts, advice for ‘the big shop’ and buying the tree, techniques for homemade cards and gifts, and shortcuts to get your home ready for the festive season. Not forgetting the little touches that make an Irish Christmas complete, like the wreath on the door, the candle in the window and stirring a wish into the Christmas pudding.
In the whirlwind of eating, drinking and merry-making, the women of the ICA ensure there’s still time to reflect on the importance of blessings and memories with heart-warming lines from poems, short stories and carols. Buy your copy at www.gillmacmillanbooks.ie.