The first steaming cup of spiced cider firmly in my grasp signals the beginning of Autumn for me. Irrelevant of the outside temperature, which overcoat I am wearing or the colour of the leaves, it is the sharp smell of fermented apples softened with spices that rings home the season.
This year like many before, my first taste of the season came at the local food festival. Nestled under the trees, among brightly coloured stalls and crowds of unfamiliar neighbours. The whole park echoing with the sound of gleeful children and musical performers situated at either ends of the festivities.
This cup was enjoyed quickly, perched on the end of a crowded bench whilst deciding which of the multitudes of traders we would visit next, with little thought or care as to when I would find another seller. Two days later and the fair was gone.
Like many recipes, this one had been lost in an overwhelming sea of potential dishes in my Pinterest account. The recent cold snap in the UK (some may call it Winter!) had me reaching for something warm and comforting this past weekend when I found this again. This was the first time I had made it from scratch and it was surprisingly easy, and used ingredients I already had in my kitchen.
serves 2 (can be easily multiplied)
3 tbsp brown sugar
5 cloves (plus extra for decoration)
3 cardamom pods crushed open
1 stick of cinnamon (plus extra for decoration)
½ tsp allspice
½ tsp nutmeg
Using a sharp knife slice the peel off the clementine, and then quarter the remaining fruit. Reserving a slice of peel per glass for decoration place the rest of the orange in a saucepan.
Add the rest of the ingredients to the pan and warm over a low heat for 20 minutes to let the flavours infuse.
Poke little holes along each strip of decorative peel and poke cloves through each on, rest the peel over the side of the glass.
Place a cinnamon stick in each glass and then strain the liquid over it.