Friday, December 10, 2010

A Smoking Bishop

Here's something for your Christmas parties right out of the pages of A Christmas Carol. A Smoking Bishop is a hot mulled wine drink which goes back to the early 1800's and was mentioned by a repentant Scrooge in a conversation with his astonished clerk Bob Crachit at the end of A Christmas Carol

"A merry Christmas, Bob!" said Scrooge, with an earnestness that could not be mistaken, as he clapped him on the back. "A merrier Christmas, Bob, my good fellow, than I have given you for many a year! I'll raise your salary, and endeavour to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop"

There are many recipes which a similar and I think it is fair to same you can swap and change the citrus component based on availability and tweak the spices to taste the only constants being the wine and ruby port. I noted down this unreferenced recipe from the cover of an old cook book so if you are in the mood for some holiday cheer Dickens style have a go

  • 6 large oranges
  • 2 large lemons
  • 120g of brown sugar (demerara)
  • 1 bottle (750ml) red wine - a decent local variety
  • 1 bottle (750ml) ruby port - California has great ruby ports
  • 8 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
Preheat the oven to 250F(120C). Place the oranges a lemons on a clean roasting tray and place in the oven to roast until they are pale brown (about 60-90 mins). Once baked place one clove into each of the fruits and carefully place them still hot into a large bowl, pouring any juice which had run from them during baking. Add the sugar and the spices (except the cinnamon) to the bowl and pour in the wine. Gently mix to combine then cover the bowl and leave in a warm place for 24 hours. 

The next day crush the juice out of the oranges and lemons (I use a potato masher)  then strain into a saucepan and push as much liquid as possible through the sieve. Compost what is left in the sieve add the cinnamon sticks and turn up the heat to bring the wine to a high simmer for 5 mins (do not boil!). Then turn the heat down and add the port gently heat until steaming (smoking) and serve immediately.

Be sure to pour into heat proof glasses nice and hot, serve citrus slices on side and sugar so the sweet tooths can sweeten the Bishop to their own desires.

A very Merry Christmas to you all.....

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