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Wholefoodie: Don’t waste leftover wine, mix it with nutritious prunes for Susan Jane’s licky-sticky dessert recipe

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Red wine prunes. Photo: Susan Jane White

Red wine prunes. Photo: Susan Jane White

Red wine prunes. Photo: Susan Jane White

Red wine prunes. Photo: Susan Jane White

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Red wine prunes. Photo: Susan Jane White

Ever opened a bottle of wine that was disappointingly meh? Don’t chuck it — get your mitts on a bag of prunes from your local supermarket and bathe these beautiful beasts in a cauldron of bubbling wine. Both the prunes and the wine are drastically improved — as is the traffic control in our very own waste-disposal unit. It’s as good as giving any backed-up vehicle a sat nav.

Research confirms that scoffing more than 35g of dietary fibre a day can result in a 40pc chance of living longer. Jeez. By fibre, I don’t mean a bowl of wholemeal pasta. Nice try. When you want fibre, you need to call in the services of black belts such as flaxseed, psyllium husks, bran, oats, beans — or this week’s prunes.

There is much giddiness among scientists regarding the antioxidant level of the humble prune, rumoured to even trump the nutritional power of a blueberry. Is it true? Who cares, when they taste this darned delicious? All the prune needs now is a celebrity endorsement to propel it on to an exciting new stratosphere. Or its own PR department. You and I can help with the latter.

Red wine prunes

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Red wine prunes. Photo: Susan Jane White

Red wine prunes. Photo: Susan Jane White

Red wine prunes. Photo: Susan Jane White

For 6 servings 

You will need:

500ml leftover red wine (use whatever you have, and top up with water or freshly squeezed orange juice)

1 cinnamon stick or 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

4-6 tablespoons dark brown (or other) sugar

2 whole star anise (optional)

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4 cloves (optional)

Strip of citrus peel (optional)

8 pink peppercorns (optional)

Roughly 350g prunes

 

1 Add the (topped-up) leftover wine to a small saucepan, along with the cinnamon, the sugar, the star anise, if you are using it, the cloves, if you are using them, the citrus peel, if you are using it, and the pink peppercorns, if you are using them. Bring to a gentle boil, keeping the saucepan lid off so the alcohol evaporates. (Feel free to use whatever spices are calling to you. Whole star anise is really beautiful with red wine, but if you don’t have some, don’t rush out to buy it. Same with the cloves, the citrus peel or the peppercorns. This recipe will work perfectly with cinnamon alone.)

2 After 10 minutes, drop in your licky-sticky prunes and gently stew for a further 4-5 minutes. If your prunes are very dry, as opposed to gooey, I recommend dropping them in much sooner or leaving them to cook for longer.

3 Remove from the heat. Pick out the prunes. Strain the liquid to remove any large spices. Reunite the prunes with the smooth red wine sauce and serve warm. I love this with cold clouds of Greek yoghurt or honey-sweetened mascarpone.


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