Universal excesses

There are some inevitable truths that show their ugly faces after every Christmas. We will all have gained weight, and feel bloated and sluggish as a result. We’ll all get a cold, the result of a season of late nights, stodgy days, and finally stepping off the work treadmill. And we will all have enough food and drink leftover to feed a small army for a month.

Every January I am left with a cupboard full of chocolate, a fruit bowl full of satsumas and a liquor cabinet full of cheap wine and undrunk brandy. Rather less typically, I am also always left with a couple of kilos of gin-soaked sloes. So I was delighted when I stumbled across these recipes, designed to put those delicious, alcoholic berries to good use.

If you’ve no red wine left from Christmas, the old “three bottles for a tenner” deal at your local corner shop will be magically transformed from almost-undrinkable vinegar into delicious sloe port. And the remainder of the berries taste delicious tossed in cinnamon with the zest of a couple of on-the-turn satsumas, smothered in melted-down Christmas chocolate – not dissimilar to chocolate liqueurs, ideal with after dinner drinks…

I plan to bottle the port and store until next Christmas, whip up a new batch of the chocolate using frozen sloes and give the two together – what a treat!

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