I had meant to write about Wilkie Collins 'Miss or Mrs' but am putting it aside again in favour of a general ramble and a sort of recipe. The day the clocks go back is easily one of my favourite in the year. It marks the beginning of winter in my head and that's a season I get on with. Autumn brings me down with it's general sense of things ending, my inability to find clothes which don't leave me either to hot or to cold, and all those particularly fat and gruesome looking spiders which infest the garden. Winter on the other hand is a chance to wear all my beloved woolly items, see sunrises at a time of day when I'm likely to be up anyway, and to plan new beginnings.
Even spending the day nursing an impressive bruise and sore arms hasn't taken the shine off that extra hour in bed. Yesterday we went for a shooting lesson (D thinks it's something nice we can do together - apparently nothing says romance like a shotgun, and who's to say he's wrong). I was reasonably confidant that I'd enjoy myself but was surprised at how much fun it was despite being really not very good at it and managing at some point to hold the gun low enough to get that bruise - even so I hit a couple of clays (very satisfying) I would say it was by accident but as I was certainly meant to be aiming at them I'm counting those hits as a real success.
Other sure signs that winter is on the way are the panic stories about weather, in this case Very Strong Winds heading for England, Shetland friends are dismissive of these winds feeling that gusts of up to 80mph merely constitute a strong breeze but they don't have trees to contend with and I feel that makes a difference. There also seems to be a lot of mulled stuff around. Of all the mulled things I can think of mulled oranges are my current favourite. When I was staying with dad a few weeks ago I had one of those 'help I unexpectedly have to make a pudding for 10 people out of store cupboard ingredients' moments that a certain sort of cookbook insists that you are always likely to have but I find has happened to me in 39 years of real life only twice. Both times they got oranges.
The credit for Mulled wine oranges goes to Hugh F-W in a Guardian column (see here) and now also in 'River Cottage Fruit' it had stuck in the back of my mind and I don't think really needs a recipe. Mine had red wine, port that needed using, rum because I found some, cinnamon, sugar, a star anise that was hanging around, and cloves, all simmered into a slight syrup and then poured over sliced oranges (just over half an orange for each person if you're interested) and left to sit for a couple of hours. It was quick, easy, a pleasingly light finish to a meal, and generally popular so is set to become a staple in my house - had there been left overs I bet it would have been even better the next day.