Of all our spices, Star Anise is definitely the treasured one. The fruit of an evergreen tree grown in China and Vietnam, this woodland spice springs forth memories distant and makes possible the scope to create more. A casserole in Chinese cooking isn’t quite complete without the magic of star anise.  It especially works well with meats and meaty vegetables. It’s woody smokiness is like a cure that perfumes and adds elegance.

At Christmas, I look forward to stirring up some mulled wine just so I can drop a few pods of star anise into the pot. That to me strikes up the beginnings of the Christmas season. It create a wonderful feeling of warmth and closeness at a dinner party, or even just a remedy to ward off the winter blues in January. Here’s my recipe

Star Kissed Mulled Wine:

1 litre red wine (we use our favourite house wine – Chaumière Rouge)

2-3 whole cinnamon sticks

1 tbsp of green cardamom

1 tsp cloves

2 round slices of orange (avoid pith)

3 star anise pods

2 tbsp dried fruit & nuts (optional)


Set the wine & all other ingredients in a pot over a medium heat for about 15 – 20 minutes. Let it simmer gently but do not let boil.

Serve hot in a tea cup or heatproof glass. Add a few bits of fruit and nut to each cup.

Stay warm and enjoy!