Merry Merry ;) Mulled Wine
Yes, we are in Beirut for the holidays, and even though I must admit I have a love and hate relationship with this country (yes- I said it!). I'm very happy to be back here this time.
I can't list why I love Lebanon the way I do, after all I'm not Lebanese (I married one though ;), and only lived here for a little while. But there is something about Beirut. An incredible energy, a real beauty and an everlasting charm. Something that you just cannot explain to anyone and only those who have visited will understand what you mean.
And then there are a few things that drive me absolutely nuts about this place. If you know Beirut you most definitely would agree that the silly traffic, annoying attitudes, slow internet (yes, really!), and constant wining are just not on. But what can we do, we all have our sweet and sour sides too.
But today, I love this place. I'm surrounded by the people I adore, enjoying a cold winter (for Dubai standards that is), and am writing this post under a gorgeous Christmas tree, just about to have my Mami's in law famous Christmas lunch. What a blessing, hamdellah!
I always get emotional during holiday times, or let's face it, whenever family surrounds me. That may be the Syrian in me after all, I always worry, wonder, ponder, and I don't think it's the healthiest way to be, but that is my sour side I guess.
As I observe three generations, the granddaddies, Phiras and little munchkin Phares sitting together, my heart skips several beats. I remember being tiny and sitting on my dad's laps, I remember getting excited about Christmas even though I wasn't sure if I was allowed to since I was not Christian. I think this is another reason why I love Christmas so much, because as a child I almost felt it was a forbidden holiday for me, and I was jealous of my Christian friends who were allowed to enjoy it.
So growing up in Paris, and even though the city feasts Christmas in a big way, my parents would not celebrate it. Not out of any serious reason, just out of habit. But I, little D, was craving for a Christmas tree, presents, Santa and all that comes with it. And so did my brothers and sister. So we got our own mini tree, placed it in the living room and celebrated in a kiddie kinda way.
But I vowed that when I grow older, I would make this holiday a huge feast for my little family. So when I met Phiras, and realized that Christmas was an extremely important event for him, I was overjoyed to say the least.
Certainly, I do have an identity crisis between where and how I grew up, and where I come from. But I embrace it - it's a beautiful way of feeling lost because you get to add so many things to your personality that make you whole. And that means celebrating Eid and Christmas and all those wonderful holidays which at the end of the day mean one and the same thing - food, love and family.
...And mulled wine! So I will leave you with one of my favourite things on the planet. Just in time for Christmas ;)
Wishing all of you a very, Merry Christmas! Much love,
- 2 bottles red wine
- 2 cups orange juice (fresh preferably)
- peel of 1 orange
- 3 - 4 tbsp dark brown sugar
- 3 - 4 tbsp honey
- 6 cloves
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 bay leaves
- In a large pot, bring everything to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes.
- Strain the wine, keep warm and serve in wine glasses. Merry Christmas :)