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Friday, 10 December 2010

A Collection of Festive Beverages: Hot Chocolate Variations, Eggnog, Mulled Wine & Glogg!

Some Warm & Cold Beverages For the Festive Season and the rest of winter!!


I miss winters! The cold weather outside, the rain and the smell of earth after rain! The layers of clothes, and cosy dimmed indoors. The fireplace, real thick socks, roasted chestnuts and a good book, all make for the perfect unwinding treat for me! Growing up in the harsh winters of Amman, I never took much joy in the cold weather. Now, living in Dubai, I actually miss that whole winter experience! I never realised this during the time living in Amman, but weather change is actually good for you. The rejuvenation, the sense of change and moving forward are all reflected by seasonal change. The produce and therefore food choices change as the seasons turn. All these are things we miss when living in areas of moderate climate change.

I know many of you are living in areas where it is getting colder by the minute, so here are some beverages that can keep you warm and help you unwind! For the rest of us, we can still enjoy a cup of hot chocolate any time too! Who doesn’t like chocolate? You can serve these really good beverages to anyone, and you will be serving them a treat! Don’t forget to leave a cup of Santa too!



Hot Chocolate
Serves 6
Hot chocolate is succulent, it is indulgent and seductive!!! This gush of creamy smoothness, makes every sip a treat. The aromas of cocoa are known for their theraputic and healing properties that they are used in Aromatherapy oils. This is pure goodness in a warm cup to keep you company on those cold days, or when its "Me Time".

You Need
60g 60% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp instant coffee granules (optional)
Whipped Cream (optional)
Mini Marshmallows
Cocoa Powder for dusting

In a medium saucepan combine chocolate, sugar and ½ cup of the milk. Stir over medium heat until mixture just comes to boiling. Stir in the remaining 3 ½ cups of milk and coffee granules if using for a Mocha flavour. Heat through, but do not boil.

Remove from heat. Add vanilla. If desired beat mixture with rotary beater till frothy, and top with whipped cream or mini marshmallows.

Dima’s Tips If topped with whipped cream sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles or shavings. If desired use a heart-shaped stencil and dust with cocoa powder to make a heart on top.
For a lower fat version, use skimmed milk and darker chocolate. Use honey, instead of sugar or you can use sugar substitutes (just note that these substitutes are not very healthy)!




Spiced Hot Chocolate
Serves 6
Spice up your hot chocolate and add that extra layer for a an even more seductive effect!

You Need
60g 60% dark chocolate, coarsely chopped or 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp cinnamon
A pinch nutmeg
A pinch cloves
Whipped Cream (optional)
Mini Marshmallows
Cocoa Powder for dusting

In a medium saucepan combine chocolate, sugar and ½ cup of the milk. Stir over medium heat until mixture just comes to boiling. Stir in the remaining 3 ½ cups of milk and spices. Heat through, but do not boil.

Remove from heat. If desired beat mixture with rotary beater till frothy. Top with whipped cream.

Dima’s Tips You can sprinkle with chocolate sprinkles or shavings. If desired use any shape stencil and dust with cocoa powder to make a shape on top.
For a lower fat version, use skimmed milk and darker chocolate. Use honey, instead of sugar or you can use sugar substitutes (just note that these substitutes are not very healthy)!


My Favourite
White Hot Chocolate
Serves 4
Serve this creamy luscious warm drink anytime! Everyone will love it. This is a Dima’s Kitchen Favourite!

You Need
2/3 cup chopped plain white chocolate
3 cups light cream
1 stick cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp almond extract (optional)
A pinch nutmeg
A pinch of cloves (optional)
A pinch ground cinnamon

In a medium saucepan combine ¼ cup light cream, chocolate pieces, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir over low heat until chocolate is melted. Add remaining cream and cook, stirring until heated through. Remove from heat. Remove and discard cinnamon stick. Stir in vanilla and almond extract. Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Glogg!
Serves 8
Yes! What is Christmas without some good old-fashioned Glogg? Glogg is the Nordic version of Mulled wine usually made with claret or aquavit with spices, orange peel, raisins and sugar. I have worked this recipe with more available spirits, but do try the original claret or aquavit if available. Serve home-made Glogg this Christmas and let your guests enjoy a merry time!

You Need
1 750ml bottle dry red wine
½ cup raisins
½ cup vodka or gin
1/3 cup sugar
Large stick of cinnamon, broken
2 cardamom pods, cracked
6 whole cloves
2 whole allspice pods
2 tbsp orange peel
¼ cup blanched whole almonds

Dima's Tip  Do not peel the white bits under the orange skin as they are bitter. Make sure to get only the orange peel.

In a large saucepan, stir together wine, raisins, vodka and sugar.

Make a small bouquet garni  (a spice bag: a small double-thick 100% cotton cloth place), place orange peel, broken cinnamon stick, cloves, allspice pods, cardamom pods in the centre of the spice bag and bring the corners of the cloth towards the centre and tie it closed with a string. Add spice bag to wine mixture.

Heat mixture to simmering but do not boil. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Remove spice bags and discard. Just before serving, stir in almonds.


Mulled Wine
Serves 6
Not only does Mulled wine, pair really well with Christmas menus, but nothing beats and afternoon in the crisp outdoors sipping on mulled wine... When making Mulled wine the aromas of the Christmas spices, and orange will scent your home for days! Nothing beats this :)

You Need
1 bottle Burgundy or your preferred red wine
6g Demerera sugar
1 cinnamon stick
18 whole cloves
3 star anis
freshly grated nutmeg
1 bay dried leaf
1 orange, sliced into 6 thick slices
6 cinnamon sticks for garnish

Press whole cloves into the skin of the orange slices as shown in picture.

In a saucepan, on medium heat, place all the ingredients except the 6 cinnamon sticks. Heat the mixture gently, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat off.

If desired, you can now add 60 ml of gin for extra kick, or skip this and stick to just the wine. Taste the sweetness, and add extra sugar if you like it sweeter.

Pour into serving glasses, garnish each with fresh cinnamon stick, serve warm!

Eggnog!
Serves 6
Although not exactly a hot drink; but since it’s the festive season, I thought I would include this classic Christmas drink recipe for you.
For a non-alcoholic version omit the rum & the bourbon. Increase milk to 2 1/3 cups instead!

You Need
4 egg yolks, beaten
2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp light rum
2 tbsp bourbon
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cloves

In a large saucepan, combine the egg yolks, milk and sugar. Cook stirring over medium heat till mixture coats the back of a metal spoon without slipping off. Remove from heat, and place in a bowl of ice and water stirring for 2 minutes, to cool it quickly and stop the cooking process. If you do not do that, you will end up with curdled eggs inside!

Stir in whipping cream, rum, vanilla, cloves and cinnamon. Cover and chill for 4-24 hours. To serve sprinkle each serving with nutmeg.

Dima’s Tips For different presentation, you can whip some whipping cream to soft peaks, and pipe it over the top of eggnog into a swirl. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
For Lower Fat Eggnog use skimmed milk and half-and-half instead of full fat milk and whipping cream.


And there you have it! A collection of the best winter drinks for you to enjoy at home during the festive season, and then some! What are your most preferred festive beverages? Has this post inspired you to prepare some of these really good beverages this Christmas? Share your inspirations with me, I love nothing more than hearing your stories... Leave me a comment :)


It's December and Dima's Kitchen Dedicates all posts to helping you entertain at home with ease and style :) Keep checking, as I will post lots of festive food and drinks throughout December ;)

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