Norfolk Punch, Day Five on the Advent Calendar and a North Country Mutton Hotpot

Norfolk Punch, 
Day Five on the Advent Calendar 
and a
North Country Mutton Hotpot

5th December
St Nicholas’ Eve

“Originally children left hay and straw for St. Nicholas’ horse, but now they simply put a shoe, clog or boot outside their bedroom door, window or by the fireplace on the evening of 5th of December, hoping to find it full of sweets, biscuits, chocolate money, nuts and fruit the next morning.”

Window number five is a 
Christmas Stocking

Norfolk Punch

I was lucky enough to be sent a sample of Norfolk Punch recently and thus many arguments ensued in our household, so much so, that the bottle was finally hidden! Why you may be wondering? Well, we all LOVED this non-alcoholic herbal beverage so much that we were all slurping it on a daily basis……..and I wanted to save some for a recipe that I am developing that uses this magical potion; so stealth tactics and a hiding place were put into action. Our collective tasting results were pretty unanimous, and here they are:

We all tried a glass of this herbal punch at room temperature, but it really comes into its own when heated; when the punch is gently warmed in a saucepan, as a nightcap, we all found it a warming and very soothing drink.
The complex flavours of the herbs and spices are subtle but complement each other and are not overpowering. As we were tasting and reviewing the Original version of this punch, we all noticed it had very strong and tangy citrus notes, which was most refreshing. The verdict is, hide the bottle before buying some more! It is simply wonderful and very addictive. I am posting a new recipe soon that incorporates this beverage in a special and very festive dish. 

With a big thanks to Ranald for sending me this sample bottle to try and review. Here is some more information about this unique beverage:

About Norfolk Punch:

Norfolk Punch has returned by popular demand! A healthy non alcoholic herbal drink, first made by the Benedictine Monks in the 13th Century, Norfolk Punch is nature’s answer to tenseness, tiredness, and the lowness of spirits.
Norfolk Punch

Non Alcoholic Herbal Drink

Norfolk Punch is a healthy, non alcoholic herbal drink:
  • no alcohol
  • no preservatives
  • no artificial flavours
  • no artificial colourings
Original Norfolk Punch is a 700 year old medieval monastic recipe containing over 30 herbs, berries and spices. Although Norfolk Punch has no alcohol, it has a remarkable ability to induce a feeling of cheerfulness and wellbeing.
Packaging: standard 700ml glass bottle with screw cap.
Made in Australia to the original Benedictine non alcoholic herbal drink formula.

Norfolk Punch Ingredients:

  • Alder Leaf
  • Alehoof
  • Angelica
  • Bay Leaf
  • Camomile
  • Carraway
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Daisy
  • Dandelion
  • Dock
  • Elder Berry
  • Elder Flower
  • Fennel
  • Feverfew
  • Ginger Root
  • Grape Skin
  • Hops
  • Lemon Balm
  • Lime Flower
  • Lime Leaf
  • Liquorice
  • Meadowsweet
  • Nutmeg
  • Peppermint
  • Poppy
  • Rosemary
  • Samphire
  • Thyme
  • Vervain

Serving Suggestions:

Served piping hot to release the full benefit of the herbs, Norfolk Punch, is an ideal accompaniment to any meal… pleasure without alcohol!
A wineglass full taken morning and night will allow the gentle but potent herbs to restore the natural balance of your body. A chilled glass of Norfolk Punch, on hot days is very refreshing and helps replace lost energy.

Back to a non liquid treat ~ I have been promising some more comfort food recently and so I am sharing a classic with you today, a Hotpot. Now I have been careful not to call this a Lancashire Hotpot, as I do not want to fall foul of the Lancashire Hotpot police……those doyennes and keepers of the sacred recipe who scour Blogland in order to search out fake hotpots; therefore I have called it a North Country Hotpot in the manner of all types of casseroles that are made North of the Watford Gap, from Panackelty in the North East to the famous Lancashire Hotpot across the Pennines. It is simple, hearty and pure winter comfort food. 

It’s a favourite one pot meal in our house, although, I did serve some steamed Savoy cabbage with this today, all buttery and seasoned with black pepper…….divine. I normally make this recipe with lamb, but I bagged an amazing bargain the other day, a front quarter of fresh mutton, of which part of the package contained neck of lamb and assorted chops. This recipe is perfect for all those cheaper cuts of mutton as I cooked very slowly in my wood-burning stove. (I have given normal cooking times and temperatures in the recipe below.)

Cheap cuts do not mean no flavour ~ this was packed with flavour and nothing else was needed to serve alongside it, apart from my craving for greens……..I imagine that if you were serving this to some very hearty and hungry guests, that a doorstop or three of bread would not go amiss, especially for essential gravy mopping. Yes, as you will have gleaned already, this is not Haute Cuisine or Fine Dining, it is what it is, a simple and traditional British hotpot and is all the better for that reason; it has no airs and graces and a tankard of ale would be more in keeping with this meal than a glass of wine. I hope that at winter progresses you will enjoy this recipe as much as have done over many years…..I give you The North Country Mutton Hotpot! 
 I will back tomorrow with more seasonal treats…..

North Country Mutton Hotpot
(Serves 4 people)


  • 4 mutton neck chops, or chump chops
  • 3 onions, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 3-4 large carrots, peeled and cut in to rounds
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled, cut in half
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 small potatoes, peeled and cut into slices


    1. Preheat the oven to 170C/350F/Gas 4.
    2. Put the mutton chops, carrots, onions and garlic into an oven-proof casserole dish, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the potato slices on top and pour in just enough water to cover the contents. 

      Cut out some greaseproof paper to the same size and shape as the inside of the dish. Place the paper over the mutton and vegetables, then cover with the lid.
    3. Cook in the preheated oven for two hours, or until the meat is tender, taking of the lid and paper for the last 20 minutes. Serve with steamed fresh greens. 


  1. Inside a British Mum's Kitchen says

    that hotpot looks simply wondeful – I wanted to dive in and eat it! love the idea of the Norfolk punch also – delicious.
    Mary x
    PS haven't received the cookbook yet – will let you know as soon as I do!

  2. Neesie Natters says

    Didn't you know Karen that you don't have to feel guilty about hiding stuff…it’s allowed at this time of year. There's no guilt attached in the interest of Clandestine Christmas Cuisine.

    The hotpot looks so delicious and I’m so hungry. I tend to look at your blog in the late afternoon here in Melbourne and you’d think by now I’d have learnt to have a snack handy. I’m nearly eating the tablecloth! ;D

  3. Neesie Natters says

    Didn't you know Karen that you don't have to feel guilty about hiding stuff…it’s allowed at this time of year. There's no guilt attached in the interest of Clandestine Christmas Cuisine.

    The hotpot looks so delicious and I’m so hungry. I tend to look at your blog in the late afternoon here in Melbourne and you’d think by now I’d have learnt to have a snack handy. I’m nearly eating the tablecloth! ;D

  4. Dom at Belleau Kitchen says

    Man that hotpot looks good. I was in the food hall at Doddington Hall a few weeks back and hovered for a while over that punch… should have purchased! For a humbug I'm loving these posts xx

  5. Annie says

    I can't keep up with you Karen! Every time I revisit your wonderful blog there are so many lovely things to catch up with. Lots of my relatives will receive Christmas goodies this year that have been inspired by your posts. You're a star 😀

  6. Laura@howtocookgoodfood says

    That hotpot is my idea of real warming comfort food and I would serve mine with heaps of cabbage too!
    I am also finishing off my Norfolk Punch recipes and hope to post very soon…..a really good non alcoholic drink I agree. I really liked it warmed up too but did add a nip of brandy!! x

  7. Lauren says

    The hotpot looks fabulous! I've only had a "Vegetable Hotpot" before. It was very tasty. I've actually never had mutton and I've never seen it for sale. Finding lamb is difficult enough here! Evidently American sheep farmers export the vast majority of their meat because most Americans won't eat it. They don't know what they're missing!

  8. Cathy at Wives with Knives says

    Your hotpot is a perfect dish for cold, rainy winter days. I've never cooked mutton, don't think I've ever seen it in the market, but I do have some lamb chops in the freezer that would work well. This is my idea of comfort food.

  9. A Vintage Chic says

    Oh, yum, Karen! Every dish so full of warmth and comfort–I want to try them all!

    Sure wish I could get some Norfolk Punch over here in the states–always heard of it, but never seen it here. Since I don't drink alcohol, this would be such a wonderful holiday treat! Love the idea of all those herbs warmed and delicious–and the fact that it's such an historical recipe just thrills me…

    Wishing you the most wonderful day, my friend!


  10. Tamsin says

    Lovely hotpot! It's everything it should be .. hearty, warming, and using mutton it's nice and economical too! We should all be following your lead and asking our butchers for mutton to slow cook. Delicious.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *