19 May 2013

8 and a Bit ways to Cope with an "Unwanted" Bottle of Port

Yesterday was lovely weather.  No, honestly, it was. 

My darling and I made our annual pilgrimage to the Allen Valley to wander among the bluebells and be amazed.



He then went for a long and manly cycle ride and I went to my friend's house for a delicious lunch and a girly chat.  As we were leaving she gave us a bottle of Port because she said neither she nor he husband drink it.  What a shame, how sad, yippee!

We do drink it but I feel this is an ideal opportunity to write about other uses for "unwanted" port. Before I come up with all sorts of creative ideas, however, if you haven't already I urge you try port with blue cheese, it's an excellent combination.



The grapes in this picture have been sautéed - see here for more info. 

8 and bit other uses for Port ...

1.   Blue cheese pâté is good way to use leftover blue cheese and cheese scraps in general; if the cheese is soft mash it with a spoonful of port, if firm grate first and then mash it together with a spoonful of port!  A little or a lot of freshly ground pepper is good in this.

2.   Add a splash of port to pan sauce after cooking duck or pigeon or even lamb.

3.   Stir into Cranberry Sauce.

4.   Add to caramelised red onions or whole glazed onions for the final few minutes of cooking.

5.   Make a marinade for Lamb or Game - equal parts of red wine, port and olive oil flavoured as you will with garlic, black pepper and fresh herbs.

6.   Strawberries are happy with a spoonful of port stirred in (plus maybe a sprinkling of black pepper!)

7.   Add port syrup to poaching fruit - pears, figs and dried prunes spring to mind.

8.   Port Syrup

~   Put equal quantities of port and sugar into a small deep pan and stir over medium low heat till the sugar has dissolved.  "They do say" to brush any sugar grains from the  sides of the pan with damp brush but I never bother. 
~   When the liquid is clear turn up the heat till it boils and then turn it down again and simmer till thick which takes about 5 minutes.  During this stage of the proceedings, don’t stir it but do pay attention.  
~   The syrup is ready when it forms a thread if you drip a little off the spoon.  If you have a sugar thermometer you are aiming for 223˚- 235˚F which is 106˚ - 112˚ C.  I usually stop cooking at the lower temperature so that the syrup is still a bit runny when chilled.

This is great on strawberries, brushed over fruit tarts to glaze, drizzled over blue cheese or, even better, drizzled over my Blue Cheese Ice Cream 

The recipe for this is in my ebook "100+ Lush Ice Creams without a Machine ... or much time or effort or having to mash the stuff as it freezes", see here for more details or just order from the sidebar! 
Add a little to appropriate sorbet recipes such as strawberry, blackberry and cranberry or make ...

9.   Port & Chocolate Sorbet!

Stir together 2 parts room temperature port syrup and 1 part room temperature melted dark chocolate.  Churn in an ice cream machine or freeze in a shallow container, mashing from time to time for a smooth finish (if you fail in this department call it Port and Chocolate Granita).

For more sorbet recipes see my ebooklet which is appropriately named "Sorbets & Granitas".




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3 comments:

Sue said...

'Unwanted Port', my first reaction on reading that was "there is NEVER an unwanted bottle of Port in this house".

My man loves the stuff, it would take a wrestle of unspeakable magnitude to wrench the bottle from his hands to use any in one of your recipes. I may have to resort to buying a 'secret' bottle of Port for experimental purposes :-)

He sulks, because as he's Scottish everyone buys him Whiskey for special occasions and he HATES the stuff, maybe he should get his forehead tattooed with 'I LOVE PORT'. He sold the last bottle of (very expensive) whiskey he was bought at one of our car boot sales and used the proceeds to buy a cheaper bottle of port, the guy buying the whiskey couldn't believe his good fortune!!

Paula said...

I only drink Port at Christmas but I always have a bottle in the cupboard as I use it to marinate meat.

Suzy said...

My real man loves it too but being a wimpy Geordie lad of only 6'2" he doesn't drink much and save it for special occasions like Paula. I don't - I just have a bit now and then but pretty well always if I eat blue cheese!