After a weekend of standing outside, trying to be both festive and warm, it seems I have contracted the lurgy. I thought I was fine. It didn't feel that cold on Saturday, I had a great time on the market, did well and even got a glass of port to keep me going.
What could go wrong I ask you?!
Then I woke up on Sunday and felt bleargh. That's the only word for it really. I spent the entire day lying on the sofa being pathetic and complaining about it. (I should warn you, I'm not very good at being ill, it's a bit like watching someone go through the seven stages of grief, accept I never get much beyond denial and whinging).
I gaily got up for work on Monday feeling better and determined not to let it get to me. But by the time I had finished my shift, and come home and done a mammoth session in the jam kitchen, I had to accept that I was feeling more tired that I should be. I woke up this morning and the lurgy was back with a vengeance. I don't like it. I don't like letting people down and not being able to go to work, I don't like being stuck at home knowing there are a million things I should be doing and no being able to summon up the energy for as little as making toast.
Now, where is all this whinging going, you've probably started asking yourself? Well, it's heading towards my favourite discovery of this year's festive season. Mulled apple juice.
No, really. It's amazing. It's such a simple thing, and yet it immediately makes you feel warm and festive inside. Plus, it's a completely alcohol and guilt free drink that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike any time of the day. (Although my gut instinct says that a dash of some brandy in there would be a super addition). I know it doesn't look like much, but the transformation when you put the three ingredients together and heat them is something very special indeed.
It's so simple, it can be multiplied almost infinitely, so you can slake the thirst of any size crowd, or just indulge yourself. I give you, the genius that is, mulled apple juice:
1 mug cloudy, best quality you can afford, apple juice, per person. (I use some from a local farm which is every so slightly tart, which works well as it stops the end product being too sweet).
1 skant tsp honey per person
1/2 tsp mixed spice, per person.
Place all of the above ingredients into a pan and warm together gently as the honey dissolves. You want it hot, but don't let it boil.
Pour back into a mug. Drink.
See! It's that easy, and if you use the best quality ingredients you can it's utterly delicious. Go, make it now...and if you do, could I have a mug please?