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23/10/2018: Mulled cider recipe

Janet's Jungle Juice
Half a bottle of good dark rum

A pound of raisins
Large chunk of fresh ginger root
1/2 lb clear honey
3-4 pieces of your favourite citrus fruit

4 inches of cinnamon bark broken into short lengths
4 dried star anise flowers
2 dozen dried cloves
1 nutmeg seed, coarsely crushed
2 vanilla pods

Put the raisins in a bowl and coarsely grate the ginger root over them. I find this easier if the ginger root is frozen first. Steep the raisin and ginger mix in the rum for 2-3 days before mulling. Keep an airtight jar or two handy for this once the cider has been consumed. This will be strained off and put to one side for Yule treats.

Put the spices apart from the cloves in a muslin bag and weight it with a small handful of ceramic baking beads. The cloves are then pushed into the skin of citrus fruits of your choice. My personal taste is to have a mixture of small oranges and limes, a couple of each, the limes just imparting a little sharpness.

Tip the mixture of rum, raisins and ginger into a large stock pot. Add the cider, honey and clove-spiked citrus fruit, not forgetting to keep a little cider back to sluice out the bowl used for steeping the raisins. Waste not, want not and all that... Finally drop in your bag of spices.

Heat as gently as your cooker will allow for as long as you can bear to leave that smell wafting around the place. Slow cookers are pretty good for this, but may not have sufficient capacity if you have a large number of guests. If this is the case, you can decant enough to fill the slow cooker, keeping warm for serving, then top up your stock pot with more cider to be mulling while the first slow-cooker full is being consumed.

If you can't be bothered or don't have time, you will soon be able to buy ready made mulled cider from West Croft Farm, made with their own secret mix of spices and not a little gin. Visit their online shop

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