Mulled Wine. It’s the ultimate Christmas drink. It’s such a Christmas tradition, just like cards, trees and gift-giving. It’s warm, it’s cosy and flavoured with cloves, cinnamon, and orange it smells like Christmas Day.
A 750ml bottle of red wine -(virtually any red wine will do. Don’t waste money; you just need something that has fruit and alcohol)
2 unwaxed lemons
2 cinnamon sticks
75g caster sugar (to taste)
a splash of brandy (optional)
Carefully peel the zest very thinly from the lemons and one of the oranges using a vegetable peeler. Squeeze out the juice and reserve.
Stick the cloves into the other orange.
Pour the wine, a pint of cold water, and the citrus peel and juices into a large saucepan. Add the clove-studded orange and the cinnamon sticks. Bring the mixture to the boil, then reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, cover the pan with the lid, and continue to simmer for about an hour. Stir in the sugar gradually during cooking, until the mulled wine is sweetened to your liking (you may not need all of the sugar).
Strain the mulled wine and serve hot.
No Alcohol Version
For the non-drinkers, children and drivers, this is a great alternative to the boozy version:
750 ml Cranberry juice
250 ml Orange juice
1 large orange + the zest of another orange
2 Cinnamon Sticks
2 Star anise
5 pods Cardamom
In a large saucepan, boil the orange juice until it becomes syrupy.
Stick the cloves in to the orange and put it in the pan, along with the other mulling spices and the cranberry juice and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and let them rest for 2 hours for spices to infuse.
Strain the spice mix before serving and ladle them into the glasses.
Nothing says it’s Christmas time like mince pies. I’ll admit even with a reputation amongst my friends and family as a domestic goddess, with a small teething baby clinging to me last Christmas, it being our first vegan Christmas and having just moved house and only having half a kitchen and most of the cookware still in boxes, we did resort to just buying ready made pastry and a jar of mincemeat.
However, this year we wanted to have a go at making them, especially as my daughter is 2 now and loves to bake. Plus making them yourself means you know exactly what’s in them and there’s no unnecessary preservatives or excess sugar, it also gives you the option to add slightly more or less of particular ingredients to suit your tastes. We’ve made this recipe alcohol free as my daughter usually eats more of the baking she helps with than makes it to the oven, but you could add a few tablespoons of brandy if you’d like a grown up boozy treat!
The combination of apples, cranberries, raisins, orange and spices ticks all the festive boxes! This recipe is not only vegan but also soya, peanut and tree nut free, due to my children’s allergies to those ingredients. I’ve broken it down in to pastry and filling so if you only want to or only have time for one half you can use shop bought pastry (like Jusroll) or a jar of mincemeat from the supermarket (lots of them are accidently vegan)
The Mincemeat filling
1 large Bramley apple
¼ cup dried cranberries (45g)
¼ cup currants (45g)
⅓ cup raisins (55g)
⅛ cup mixed peel (20g)
The zest & juice of one orange
1 tbsp. lemon juice
⅛ cup brown sugar (25g)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
5 ground cloves
Peel the Bramley apple and dice finely.
Add all of the ingredients to a saucepan and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. Making sure the apple is now soft and absorbed the spices and flavours.
Remove for the heat as it’s ready to go in the pastry cases.
85g vegan butter
175g plain flour
3 tbsp water
Pinch of salt
Break apart butter into small pieces in large bowl.
Add flour and mix together with fingers (or in a food processor) until a breadcrumb texture is formed. If you make your hands cold while doing this, just run wrists and hands under the cold tap beforehand, it will be easier to work the pastry. (Pastry and warm don’t go together.)
Add salt and water then press together to form a dough. Be careful not over handle the dough.
Form into a flat ball, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 30 mins to rest.
Pre-heat your oven to 200°C or 180°C fan.
Lightly flour surface and roll out pastry.
Using two different sized cutters (one medium one slightly smaller) cut out 12 smaller circles for the base and 12 larger circles or shapes (We used a star shaped cutter) for the lids.
Place bases in your tray and spoon approx 1 tsp of the mincemeat filling into each pie. Make sure not to overfill them or they’ll spill over the sides.
Cover with lids, pressing edges together with water.
If using a circular cutter, pierce each lid with a fork to let air in. Brush with your plant milk of your choice, we used oat milk. You can also sprinkle a little brown or caster sugar on top of them for some festive sparkle and added crunch.
Cook in the oven for 20-25 mins for the perfect golden brown colour.