The new way to recycle

Hopefully you’ve all recovered from plenty of booze, partying and general overindulgence.

As well as some new books, kitchenware and too much chocolate, I’ve also ended up with some quite unusual booze. As I write this I have the following ‘leftovers’ in my house; a litre of Baileys, half a bottle of Courvoisier Cognac, a thimble full of 2 week old red wine, a dash of cheap Port and a surprising three quarters of a bottle of Jaegermeister. An eclectic mix you might think.. He are some ideas to ‘recycle’ those weird and wonderful Christmas dregs.

Baileys can be used for plenty of sweet treats, put a massive slug in a cheesecake à la Nigella (click here for her recipe) – this is a particularly perfect anti-diet comeback. To be honest, you could probably add it to most creamy/chocolatey desserts. After a terrible gym session around 3rd of January I may have poured a rather large glug over the last remaining slice of yule log.. I’ve since come clean to the gym and we’ve patched things up.

Cognac, or Brandy (Cognac is a type of Brandy) is a brilliant leftover to have. When pay day comes, treat yourself and make an eighties classic, Steak Diane with fluffy mash and salad. A creamy, boozy, mushroomy sauce and a rare steak is truly delicious, you use the Brandy to flambé the sauce (Gordon’s recipe is pretty tasty, click here). It’s also a great nightcap – a wee Brandy after dinner is becoming more and more common in my house, maybe I’m finally maturing..?


Old red wine can be used in so many dishes, some fellow winos say you should only use wine in food if you’d drink it. I disagree. A bit. Red wine tends to get a bit like vinegar after it’s been open for a while. I think old red wine works even better when making Bolognese, the acidity and vinegar like quality actually works quite well with the sweetness of the tomatoes.  My super hot recipe tip, combine and cook sausage meat, garlic, tomato puree, fennel seeds and a massive slug of red on top of linguine. And shit loads of parmesan. Heavenly.

Port makes some really delicious cocktails, there’s even a whole website dedicated to it by the cocktail master David Wondrich, just click here. My favourite is the Mad Men-eqsue Martini, Ruby Port, vodka and cranberry. I feel like I actually am Joan when I’m drinking it.. plus it’s so simple to make! Port also adds great flavour to barbecue or hoisin style marinades and if you’re still on the mulled wine, whack some in there too.

joan holloway blog LIZ SULLIVAN

And finally to the Jaegermeister, please don’t try to add this to your dinner or transform it into a sophisticated cocktail. Let’s just call a spade a spade. Force it upon guests at your next party. That’s what I’m going to do.

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