by Our Guest on November 20th, 2008
Hello, I’m Allison and I’m a chocohalic. Actually, I’m hopelessly addicted to anything sweet, and what’s more, I have totally embraced my addictions and have no desire whatsoever to be cured.
So there. Take THAT nutritionists and health food nuts! I WILL consume dark chocolate truffles and raisinetts and snack on sugary cereals and drink hot chocolate and triple mocha peppermint latte and…oh, jeeze, Allison, take a breath…it’s a little too early for this…
I’m ok. But seriously, having said that, I will issue this disclaimer: I can indulge because I do have a fair amount of self-control. All those lovely treats I just mentioned are reserved for just that – treats, part of my little reward system and not what I rely on to get me through a day of writing. I’ll have ONE dark chocolate truffle, a few raisinettes. A couple of lattes per week.
As far as preparing food goes, it isn’t what I make but what I don’t make that gets me through a deadline. As I was finishing up Dark Temptation last spring, my real life modern day warrior hero was not only willing to do the shopping, he’d cook, serve and clean up afterward, along with our very understanding daughter. And I’m not talking pizza and frozen food. Nooooo. The man is a wizard with a barbecue. Give him a piece of fish, some fresh veggies, a can of Old Bay and some aluminum foil, and he will create a culinary delight worthy of any fine restaurant. What a guy — I’m keepin’ him. As I said, he’s my hero, and he keeps us alive and well-nourished through any deadline emergency — and aren’t they all emergencies?
But not to leave you facing the holiday season without something sweet, warm and wonderful — odd though, it isn’t chocolate. This is what I call my “New World Wassail,” and it’s just perfect for relaxing and being cozy on chilly winter nights. Where I live, we like to light the tikki torches, get a little blaze going in the chiminea, grab a sweater and sip our wassail poolside.
1 quart apple cider
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 cinnamon stick
1/8 to 1/4 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want this)
optional but highly recommended: rum
Heat all ingredients to boiling, then cover and simmer 20 minutes. Strain. I usually return it to the pot and set the burner to the lowest setting to keep it warm. Float the oranges on top. Now, here’s where the “New World” part comes in. Traditionally, English wassail would have been made with port or ale. This being America, lol, I add a dash of rum to each serving, sit back and enjoy – the perfect end to a busy holiday!