A wonderful, peaceful Christmas from my writing cave! And yes, I did write this post a day early – just after making a dish of Mulled Wine Crumble, in fact – because, all things willing, I’m nowhere near a laptop today. Our living room is still a building site, so we’re planning to spend Christmas day with a picnic on an empty beach. (Fingers crossed it stays dry!)
We discovered this particular beach many years ago, during our first holiday on the North Norfolk coast. And we’ve been back numerous times since. On Christmas Day, driving the 100 or so miles is a piece of cake. When, on any other day, the going is medium to tough, with rows of lorries clogging roads that get narrower and narrower the closer we come to our goal, on Christmas Day (and New Year’s Day for that matter) the roads are blissfully empty.
This doesn’t just make for a faster drive there and back, it also makes for a more relaxing one. It’s a journey where I sit with a notepad on my knee while my husband drives, looking forward to sea, sand, and seals, and untangling the latest plot snarls. We’ve designed quite a few murder mysteries between Northampton and King’s Lynn, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
I always think better when I’m moving, so most of my plotting is done on walks. But bouncing ideas off someone else – or get a much needed sanity check – is equally good. And spending a day watching the waves roll and the seals settle in with their pups goes a long way to help us de-stress.
Our Christmas lunch this year will be picnic fare. Pasties, juicy green apples, a beer or two, and home-made marzipan for pudding. And once we get home, there’ll be a special treat to warm us up: Mulled Wine crumble.
For something that’s so easy to make and that looks after itself in the oven while you do other stuff, mulled wine crumble is one divine pudding. Don’t believe me?
Here’s one I made earlier…
I tend to make a big dish, and take extra joy in watching the juice bubble up through the crumble topping. But you can make this just as easily in individual dishes.
All you need is a mix of fruit, spices, mulled wine or red wine, and your crumble mix.
I like apples and plums in my crumble, maybe with a few stalks of rhubarb. Chop them all roughly and place in your baking dish.
Add a glass of red wine and your spices: cinnamon, clove, ground ginger and allspice go into mine. Alternatively, use ready-mixed mulled wine instead of the red wine and spices. (Though I’d still add extra cinnamon to mine.)
Now add sugar to taste. I like my fruit mix to be quite tart, and balance it with a slightly sweeter crumble topping.
Then make your crumble mix. Mine is a 2:1:1:1 mix of butter, sugar, flour, and oats. Plus some extra cinnamon. Rub together until the mix resembles fine breadcrumbs, then splash with a bit of cold water so it clumps a little.
Spread the crumble mix over the fruit and bake in a medium oven until the top is golden and the juices start to bubble through the crust. Thick cream and a jug of custard are a must. And did I mention how your home will smell absolutely delicious while this bakes?
You’re welcome. 😉