Christmas in July – eat, drink & be merry – do you? Mulled wine recipe included!

mulled-wine-web

Christmas in July – crank up the fire and belt out the carols the Fat Man is coming to a chimney near you – or maybe he’s enjoying his summer holidays in Europe? Christmas in July has to be fairly unique to the southern hemisphere don’t you think and I’m sure it was dreamt up by some savvy retailer but it is something that is starting to become more and more popular each year.  Regardless, it’s a good excuse for a party isn’t it?  I, for one, am a bit partial to mulled wine so love that the cold weather is a perfect opportunity for that (my tried and tested recipe is below, scroll on).

EAT:

gingerbread-men-web

Ginger bread men, well why not?  This recipe is a Donna Hay one and I really did make these little men at Christmas.

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter, softened

½ cup (90g) brown sugar

⅔ cup (230g) golden syrup

2½ cups (375g) plain flour, sifted

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 160°C. Place the butter and sugar in an electric mixer and beat for 8–10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl, until pale and creamy. Add the golden syrup, flour, ginger and bicarbonate of soda and beat until the mixture just comes together to form a smooth dough.

Roll the dough out between 2 sheets of non-stick baking paper to 4mm thick and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Using a small gingerbread man cookie cutter, cut out about 32 shapes, re-rolling the dough as necessary.

Place on 2 large baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper.  Bake for 6–8 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool completely on the trays.

Mix 1 Tbsp icing sugar and a few drops of water to form a paste. Put into a piping bag with a small nozzle or a zip lock bag and cut off one corner. Squeeze out some dots for eyes and make a smiley mouth.  Put a couple of dots on the bellies and stick on smarties.

For something a bit more substantial to eat I’m being a bit lazy today and linking you to Homelife.com.au they put together a Top 10 Christmas in July recipe ideas – which is great as it meant I didn’t have to!  I will use the time instead to go to the Black Star Pastry bakery and buy one of their Christmas Stollen, how good does that look?

DRINK:

mulled-wine-for-newsletter-web

Mulled Wine – for the last few years I’ve been experimenting with the recipe I think this is pretty close to being “the one” for me.

Ingredients

2 bottles red wine (any will do but I like to use a merlot and usually get a clean skin as you are heating it up anyway)

200g caster sugar

1/2 cup fresh orange juice

peel of one lemon

peel of one orange

peel of one mandarin

2 star anise

1 cinnamon stick

5 cloves

1 tsp fresh nutmeg

2 bay leaves

1 vanilla pod, halved  or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste

Method

Juice the orange and then peel it along with the lemon and mandarin.

Put the sugar in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the peels and juice, stir around and then add the rest of the ingredients and about 3/4 C of the wine just to ensure the sugar is covered and then heat until the sugar has dissolved. Let it simmer for about 4 – 5 minutes until you have a nice sticky syrup.  Don’t add the rest of the wine yet or you will burn off the alcohol and that is not part of the plan!

Once you have a thick sticky syrup turn the heat down to low and add the rest of the wine and allow it to heat up gently.

Once it’s warm it’s ready to be served up and enjoyed with Christmas Carols and friends.  Please let me know what you think if you try it.

BE MERRY:

Harrods-window-web

We were lucky enough to visit family in the UK at Christmas last year and this is a photo of the Harrods windows, they were all about a trip on the “Polar Express” to Santa – don’t you want to just jump right in and join the party?  They do such stunning Christmas window displays in London, the Fortnum & Mason’s ones were amazing too, our girls were mesmerised, so was I just quietly!

If you Google Christmas in July – Events there is an abundance going on around the country.  In NSW the Blue Mountains are really into it and have a complete Yulefest for the month, it’s cold enough for it!

Our little primary school is running with the theme and are having a “Christmas in July” Trivia Night tonight as the big fund raiser for the year.  I have volunteered to be one of Santa’s little helpers…

Do you do Christmas in July? Thoughts?

 

 

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2 comments on “Christmas in July – eat, drink & be merry – do you? Mulled wine recipe included!

  1. Lauren @ Create Bake Make
    July 26, 2015 at 9:20 am

    I’ve only ever done Christmas in July at work a few years ago – it was more an excuse just to have a boozy office lunch I think! Love your mulled wine recipe, I’ve only ever tried it once when we were in NZ a few years ago and think it would be the perfect winter drink.

    • Vicki
      July 26, 2015 at 11:34 am

      I’m sure that Christmas in July has only been created for a party! The mulled wine is great on a cold night.

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