Grappa is a clear distilled Italian alcoholic drink made from what is leftover after the wine-making process, that is the skins, pulp, seeds and sometimes, though not always, the stems. It is similar to the French Marc. It is a testimony to the resourcefulness of winemakers that they can turn what would otherwise be waste into something special.
It can be more difficult than you think to pair roast meat with wine: the variations from rare soft juicy meat inside to a caramelised, toasty, often burnt flavour on the crust can cause trouble on the palate. Here are some safe bets.
Make up a jug of this berry smoothie, pour it into clean jam jars, screw on the lid and keep them in the fridge for breakfast. They will keep for 3-4 days if you use freshly opened yogurt or kefir. You can also serve it as a healthy dessert – in that case don’t add the milk and garnish with fresh mint leaves.
Have you leftover liqueurs taking up space in your kitchen cupboards or drink cabinets? Don’t throw them out: cook with them instead.
Verjuice (also called verjus in French which means ‘green juice’) is unfermented grape juice and you can make it at home if you can find sour grapes according to food writer Paula Wolfert in her book The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook.
We drink this vitamin and nutrient-lacked smoothie instead of eating lunch some days – if you can find kefir in the Eastern European shops (they sell it in a carton in the chilled compartment) use it instead of yoghurt as it is stuffed full of good probiotics and, along with the beetroot, banana and nuts will help to create a healthy gut.
A few tips to save you from the excesses of a hangover at Christmas.