Hot spiced apple juice with gingerbread stars


Winter warmers

Hot spiced apple juice (Gingerbread recipe below this recipe)

Ingredients (makes 2.5 litres of apple juice)

  • 2l of pressed cloudy apple juice
  • 500ml of water
  • 6 orange slices
  • 6 lemon slices
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 10 cloves
  • 10 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp of ground nutmeg

When I am making this drink at the woods, I combine the spices in a small box to carry them up, and buy the apple juice in 2l cartons.  2.5l of hot spiced apple juice is enough for a family of six, but when I make this for any other sized gathering I still box the spices in the quantity above, making up one box per 2l juice carton.  This means, once I am at the wood, all I need to do is add juice, water, fruit slices and one box of spices to each batch of juice I make, so no measuring is necessary at the time.

Kit list

  • Spices in batches sufficient for each 2l of apple juice required
  • The rest of the ingredients (apple juice and fruit slices)
  • Water (500ml for each 2l carton of apple juice)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Large pan that holds at least 3l
  • Tripod or some method of holding the pan / griddle over the flames
  • Mugs
  • Matches / lighter
  • Natural firelighters / tinder
  • Dry kindling if there is not a supply where you are going
  • Recipes or instructions
  • Gingerbread if serving with the juice (recipe below).

I like to laminate any instructions or recipes I use so that I can carry them up to the woods and keep them handy without getting them wet or muddy.

When you are outdoors ready to cook

  1. Light your fire.
  2. Wait for the embers to be hot, and the flames to die down.
  3. Place all the ingredients in the pan and heat to the required temperature.
  4. Ladle out into mugs.
  5. Serve with gingerbread if desired.

Gingerbread stars

Ingredients (enough for a gathering of twenty)

For the gingerbread

350g plain white flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2tsp ground ginger
100g butter
175g light brown soft sugar
4tbsp  golden syrup
1 beaten egg

For the icing

250g sieved icing sugar
1 egg white
1tsp lemon juice
1tsp glycerine

Obviously, this is not something I attempt at the wood, but the gingerbread travels well in tins and is perfect for warmth on a frosty day.

To make the gingerbread

  1. Sieve flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger into a bowl.
  2. Rub in the butter until the mixture is like breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix in the sugar.
  4. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and syrup together, then stir into the flour mix.
  5. Continue to mix until a dough forms.
  6. Roll out to half a centimetre thick.
  7. Cut out star shapes and place on a baking tray covered with greaseproof paper.
  8. Cook at 190 degrees centigrade or gas mark 5 for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. When cool, pipe icing round the outline of the star and leave to set.
  11. Store in airtight container.

To make the icing

Combine ingredients (above) and mix until smooth.