Wine

Making a cup of tea from scratch

teapotGrowing a grapevine on the allotment or in a conservatory is not that unusual. I even know of a fully functioning coffee tree growing inside a house (each year the kitchen-bound tree produces about half a pound of coffee beans), but I know of no-one else with tea bushes growing in pots on their bathroom windowsill. They're still rather small but when they're fully grown (reaching about three feet high in larger pots) the Camellia sinensis plants should provide me with enough tea leaves to make about 250 cups of tea.

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Drink regularly says research

woman drinking wineRegular alcohol intake, of the moderate sort, improves the quality of life in middle-aged adults declares the latest research findings investigating the link between alcohol consumption and health.

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Be sensible with that diet

tape measureInevitably some of us will have put on weight over Christmas and, if like me, you not only cooked the food but ate it too then the waist-band button is probably straining a bit. One way of dealing with this post-Christmas excess is to be sensible and eat slightly less and exercise slightly more.

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Top Ten Reds Over £6 of 2014

Aussie vineyardTop Ten Reds over £6 of 2014 this week. Here are the reds ranging in price from £7.49 to £11.99 listed in ascending order of price. Co-op here I come!

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Top Ten Whites Over £6 of 2014

VineyardTop Ten White Wines over £6 of 2014 this week. There will also be a Paula’s Top Ten Red Wine choices over £6 of 2014. But no Top Ten Rosés, Sparkling Wines or After Dinner wines. Because this year has seen a dearth of great tasting and great value wines that are a delightful pink colour and an even greater lack of wines to match the cheese and nuts course. But slurpable whites at a reasonable price there have been, in abundance - which made it very hard to knock the list back to just the top ten. But here they are ranging in price from £6.49 to £11.10 listed in ascending order of price.

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Top Ten Reds Under Six Quid of 2014

Aldi labelsAs promised following on from last week's Top Ten White Wines Under Six Quid of 2014 we now have Paula's Top Ten  Red Wines Under Six Quid of 2014. Last year’s £5 and under wine category has gone up in price to Under Six Quid, thanks to price rises across the entire grocery sector, as all the supermarkets have enhanced and expanded their existing cheaper wine ranges resulting in an even greater choice of value wines.

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Top Ten Whites Under Six Quid of 2014

trophyLast year’s £5 and under wine category has gone up in price to Under Six Quid, thanks to price rises across the entire grocery sector, and expanded into Top Ten White Wines Under Six Quid of 2014 (this week) and Top Ten  Red Wines Under Six Quid of 2014 (next week) as all the supermarkets have enhanced and expanded their existing cheaper wine ranges resulting in an even greater choice of value wines.

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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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