Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Smoking Bishop

After a brief odyssey with the new Blogger, here's a Boxing Day post from me:

Now, Smitty has already mentioned our Boxing Day walk, and my post is a bit of a post-script to that. The walk ended in the shadow of St. Paul's Cathedral (stay tuned for cool photos by Smitty, I'm sure). At that point, our guide and her husband (who reminded me of my grandfather in his elven Santa cap with a sprig of mistletoe on the end of it) handed out copies of a recipe for bishop, a kind of mulled wine popular in Victorian times at Christmas, which I think got its name from being the bishop's nightcap.

It wasn't that they were trying to encourage drinking, even though it was getting nippy, and some mulled wine would have gone down nicely. It was because at the end of A Christmas Carol, Dickens writes:
"A Merry Christmas, Bob!" said Scrooged 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 endeavor to assist your struggling family, and we will discuss your affairs this very afternoon, over a Christmas bowl of smoking bishop, Bob!"
If it's good enough for Scrooge and Crachit, it's good enough for you, dear readers. Recipe below. Please try it and tell us what you think!

Bishop -- a fine old nightcap
2 small oranges
8 cloves
8 allspice berries OR 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 pint water
1 bottle of port
1-inch piece of cinnamon
2 small pieces of black mace
2 small pieces of ginger root
6 lumps of sugar rubbed over the rind of a lemon
a pinch of grated nutmeg
Directions: Stick the cloves into the oranges and either roast slowly in front of a slow fire or bake in a pan in a slow oven for about 45 minutes. Put the cinnamon, mace, allspice and ginger root with the water into a saucepan and bring to a boil, then let it boil until it has reduced by a third. Put the spices and water into a large warmed bowl with the roasted oranges and the sugar lumps. Heat the port, but do NOT let it boil, then pour over the fruit and spices. Stir well, then grate the nutmeg over the top and serve hot. Keep warm over a slow flame but never let it boil. Serves 6-8.


Blogger oldest kid said...

Do you eat the oranges, or just drink the warm, spiced port? I just gave Mr. OK a bottle of 20 year old Tawny Port for Christmas, but I doubt he'll let me use it for this recipe.

4:49 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Werbenmanjensen said...

I would NOT recommend using your fancy port for such a purpose. Not if you want to stay married, probably.

As for the oranges, I see no reason why you can't eat them, though personally I'd be more interested in the liquid! ;-)

6:14 PM  

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