Warm winds have cooled, and smoke is steadily puffing from stone cottages dotting the countryside around where we live. Early morning frost on the ground and crackling fireplaces all add to that wintery charm that the english countryside do so well.
The grass is still green on the surrounding hills, but don't be fooled, the trees have shed their colourful autumnal frocks, winter is most definitely here.
The blog post I promised you about my grandmother's doughnuts drenched in that thick and glossy chocolate sauce my mother taught me to make, is still in draft form, like so many blog posts I´ve been meaning to share with you over the last year.
Words seem to escapee these days, and so much has happened since we last met here on the blog, so I hope you'll forgive me for sharing a delicious little recipe for mulled wine poached pears with you, as a treat while we wait.
When mince pies and mulled wine appear on the menu at our local pub, we know it´s time to begin searching for the perfect Christmas tree, and to leave mulled wine on gentle heat on the stove, both for perfuming our home with the ever so festive aroma, and for filling up a mug or two to serve friends swinging by.
This year, with renovations of the go, the launch of my cookbook`The Cottage KItchen´ and with our little girl on the way, I reached for the perfectly convenient packages of mulled wine spices from Schwartz, added a lovely red wine.
I used Langhe Nebbiolo 2013 for the recipe below, but I suggest using your favourite drinking wine. I don´t believe in cooking wine, because let´s face it you will probably have a wee timbal while cooking, perks of the job. And most importantly everything you add to a dish will affect it´s final outcome.
Poor quality in ingredients results in a poorer result, yet the work of creating the dish stays the same, so reach for your favourite wine.
Then add a few spoonfuls of sugar and a bit of water, and let the ingredients do their own magic with your stove turned to low.
Growing up in Norway, December was the month of sweet aromas wafting through the house. Originating in the kitchen where mum was baking traditional treats, and always had a warming drink with traditional spices simmering away, these aromas tickled the nostrils and awoke our tastebuds.
This year my Englishman and I are carving out our very own family traditions for the month of December, from an advent calendar, to christmas tree decorations, and the three day event between the 24th-26th that is the hight of Christmas celebrations in my home country.
Every Sunday of the month of December when I grew up, we´d light a candle and serve a special dessert with our dinner. It was a formal event and a formal dinner, one that called for an especially delicious dessert.
Upon moving to England I discovered mulled wine.
That lovely warm and sweetly spiced drink that every pub would have on low in a big barrel of a pot, and homes across the country on their stove, infusing their house with that special Christmas aroma.
I fell in love with the flavours of mulled wine so much so that I created the below recipe for mulled wine poached pears with clotted cream and sweet wine sauce. It quickly become a classic that we've served again and again during this festive season.
Find the recipe below, and do let me know what you think!
It´s ever so easy to make, and rich in flavour.
It can easily be made in advance and served cold with a warm sauce, or warm straight out of the poaching liquid.
Either way, I have a sneaking suspicion you might fall in love too...
Mulled wine poached pears with clotted cream and wine glace
6 Conference pears (or other firm pears)
6 bags of mulled wine from Schwarz (follow instructions and quantity of ingredients)
Pluss 300ml red wine
Peel the pears and leave the stem (optional)
On low heat combine the ingredients for the mulled wine and stirr till the sugar is dissolved.
Add the extra wine, add the pears and remove the mulled wine bags after 10-15 min. Leave the bags in longer should you want a stronger mulled wine flavour.
Let the remaining content simmer on low/medium for 30-35 minutes till the pears are soft but still retaining their shape.
Remove the pears and arrange them on a serving place.
Turn up the heat to medium and let the mulled wine mixture reduce till you have a gentle reduction left, quite runny when warm, but thicker when cooled. It should be about 200ml syrup when its ready.
Serve the pears at room temp, with the warm mulled wine reduction with your afternoon tea or after a decadent festive meal.