Making mincemeat of it

mincepie fillingSherry, whisky and freshly squeezed orange juice are sampled this week as I get started stirring the Christmas mincemeat. Recipes for this booze-soaked Christmas preserve always say you should let it 'mature' for at least a week before you use it. But home-made pies (individual or one large ‘un) will still taste wonderful if the minced fruit and nut mixture is spooned straight into pastry cases as soon as the alcoholic moistness testing has ceased.

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Cabernet Sauvignon winter wines

snowmanIt’s cold. And it gets dark before the day has properly begun. Which means we now have to turn the light on when admiring the colour of that pre-supper glass of red wine. Shorter periods of daylight send a signal to our brain to reject the lighter hues of summer and seek out dark reds and browns of winter. So leave the light-green Sauvignon Blancs unopened and pick up a bottle of its red cousin Cabernet Sauvignon instead.

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White and pink wine for Chinese food

chop sticksChopsticks leave me fumbling, but that doesn't stop me devouring Chinese food at least once a week. Unfortunately cooking my own stir fries has become a bit of problem since moving house: lack of mains gas means all my cooking must be done on an electric hob and my round bottomed wok just doesn't work well on that.

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It's gotta be red

swirling red wineDrinking a couple of glasses of red wine every day isn’t just enjoyable, it’s also good for you. Red wine is rich in chemicals called polyphenols. Research has shown that these compounds expand your blood vessels, making it easier for blood to flow. They also fight hardening of your arteries, the major contributor to heart disease.

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Bottled cider

apples in orchardNot wine this week but cider as October is National Cider Month according to CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale. October is when cider apples are at their ripest and are hand-picked, pressed and fermented into a fruity beverage that is a real alternative to wine.

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Be cool

wine rackThe ideal storage conditions for wine are a dark, damp, cool wine cellar. But as few of us have one of these, where’s the best place to store wine?

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Lidl new premium French wines

Cork removedLidl has added almost fifty new premium French wines to its in-store collection. And they’re not hard to spot – just walk in and head straight across to the ‘fancy new wine crates’ and chose from wines ranging in price from £4.99 to £25.99.

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Create your own wine list

text on pageJudging a restaurant on their food will only ever give you half the story. A competent wine list is just as important as the menu as it not only matches the food but also the expectations of the diners. It should also describe the wines in enough detail so that the paying customer can make an informed choice. A notable wine list, though, must do this and more.

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Wineboxes and pouches

Lindemans wineboxIf you really like a certain wine, rather than buying it in single cork-stoppered bottles why not get in larger two, three or four bottle-sized amounts available in boxes and pouches?

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Hedgerow wines

blackberriesPurple-stained cooking water is a sure sign of an accidentally nicked beetroot skin. But don't discard this nutrient-filled liquor, allow it to cool then add some sugar and yeast and the result in a couple of weeks time will be a beetroot 'country' wine.

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