... I've cheered up! And no, my lifted mood has nothing to do with drinking copious amounts of my favourite autumn tipple (see recipe below); the sudden upturn has more to do with the other good things in life (a fabulous evening out with Molly Mudd, who has taken to wearing a little bird in hair and looks all the more gorgeous for it; a really lovely face-to-face interview with Jamie Oliver yesterday; pipeline plans for a week in the Loire Valley that suddenly feels within easy reach) than what I'm tipping down my gullet. Okay, so I have a bit of a cold - well so what? Things could be worse - and they're not. So, let's raise a glass to life itself ...
If you’re sick of listening to grumbles about the summer that never was, you’ve come to the right place. Autumn is the start of a food and drink season that only really warms up when there’s a chill in the air. Take cider. At long last, we can wave goodbye to those glossy advertising campaigns that urge you to take a pint of the apple nectar on ice. Fill your glass with something that’s guaranteed to kill those cheery, fruity flavours stone dead? I don’t think so. Now that (what should have been the) sun has disappeared for another year, the Animal Disco recommends that, to welcome you back to the cosy fold, you take your cider in another direction altogether.
Somehow less contrived than mulled wine, warm cider offers uniquely comforting depths. Trust your instincts (and your tastebuds) regarding which cider to use, bearing in mind that you can’t go too far wrong with a still, cloudy variety. Pour about four pints of cider in a big, sturdy pan, adding a sliced orange, a drizzle of runny honey, a handful of cloves and eight cinnamon sticks to the blend as you slowly bring it up to a simmer, taking great care not to allow it to boil. Ten minutes later, it’s ready to sup. Some folk add a drop of brandy or rum to the finished brew, others swear by allowing a pat of unsalted butter to melt into the melange. However you choose to dress it up, it’s the taste of autumn in a mug.