Hot Spiced Mulled Wine

Temperatures in Montreal are shockingly low today (-29C!) and I’m here with a suggestion on how to stay warm this Valentine’s Day – with a thermos of hot spiced mulled wine.

My first trip to London happened to be at Christmastime, when Fortnum & Mason displayed plum puddings on pedestals in their windows and Oxford Street was trimmed in holiday lights. I wandered around Borough Market, stopping to get a meat pie and an enormous cup of mulled wine. There were many firsts on my maiden UK trip, but that hot, sweet wine was the first thing I recreated at home.

It took a few tries, but I eventually came up with this recipe that is delicately spiced and not too sweet. The key is cooking a spiced syrup, then adding and gently heating the wine. You never want to boil the whole batch, or you will burn off the alcohol.

On weekend, we take two thermoses out to the sledding hill or the skating rink: hot spiced cocoa for the kids and mulled wine for the adults. Even on the coldest of days the robust drink warms us from the inside out.

Hot Spiced Mulled Wine || Simple Bites

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Herbal Homestead Gin & Tonic

The summer days are long and hot here on our homestead, filled with chores that never quite seem to finish. But occasionally in the late afternoon, when the sun has already drifted down into the trees and the footsteps of the children are starting to tire, Danny and I cool down with a cocktail.

We sit on the edge the garden and absentmindedly tug at the weeds while conversing about our respective days. Time seems to speed up all of a sudden and the moments slip away as quickly as our gin and tonics are depleted.

Lately I’ve been mixing our drinks right in the garden, with a handful of herbs and a warm, sun-ripened tomato. Today’s Herbal Homestead Gin & Tonic is undoubtedly our new summer cocktail of choice, thanks to its fragrant herbaceousness and cucumber sweetness.

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Flavoured water for morning, noon and night

Let’s make a pact to stay hydrated this summer, okay?

My love of flavoured water almost seemed too simple to blog about, but I reminisced over many, many basic tutorials I’ve shared in this space and reminded myself they are some of my most popular content. So, I’m here to convince you that infusing your drinking water with gorgeous summer produce is the ticket to staying refreshed (and kicking any soda habit) in the hot months to come.

Three flavoured water recipes | Simple Bites #recipe

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Honey-Sweetened Peach Lemonade

As long as there are peaches to be had, you can be sure we’ve got a basket ripening on the counter for salads, cobblers, and juicy snacks.

They are Noah’s absolute favourite fruit, which is why it made sense to feature them in a honey-sweetened lemonade for his recent birthday party. We celebrated Noah’s ninth birthday on Sunday – which is just mind-boggling because didn’t I just make this robot cake for his seventh? And his third doesn’t seem all that long ago, come to think of it.

Perhaps I’ll post a few more photos from the party later in the week, but this recipe for peach lemonade had to be shared as soon as possible. Hopefully you haven’t moved onto apples and pumpkin just yet; there’s plenty of time for that later in the fall.

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Raspberry-Rhubarb Collins Party Punch

I almost passed them over during the purge of my chest freezer last week: a bag of greyish-coloured chopped rhubarb and a solid lump of last year’s raspberries.

The fruits were encrusted with a layer of ice and most likely freezer burnt. I nearly tossed them in the bin, along with the other unwanted items from the recesses of my deep freezer, but I hesitated. Sure they were not as appealing as the fresh new rhubarb stalks that are pushing up in my garden, but what if I cooked them down for their juice? It was worth a shot.

Together with sugar, water and a splash of lemon juice, I simmered the rhubarb and the raspberries in a pot while I finished emptying my freezer. It wasn’t long before the concoction began to emit the intoxicating smell of raspberry-rhubarb pie, or something very similar. My taste-buds watered and I dipped a spoon in for a sample: tangy and sweet, it tasted of spring even after a year in hibernation.

I strained the bright red syrup through a coffee filter to keep it clear and stashed it away to cool. Obviously it would make a terrific base for a celebratory Mother’s Day sip, something along the lines of a Raspberry-Rhubarb Collins Party Punch.

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