In the Face of a Deluge of Red Wine…

8 May

Leftover cooking wine, poached pears, recipe

It happens to the best of us. You drink too much red wine and then are left with the problem of what to do with the remnants that have gone past their best after a week exposed to air. There are a few options to consider:

A) Buy a starter culture and make your own vinegar

B) Dig up a recipe to make some poached pears in red wine

C) Pour them down the sink

D) Serve the remaining wine to your housemate who may not even detect the difference…

OK…I may have done option D once (I am so sorry, Lauren), but I will more often than not opt for option B. Here is what I do.


recipe, red wine, leftover, icecream, dessert

2 cups red wine

2 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 clove

2 x 5cm pieces orange rind

6 beurre Bosc pears, peeled, stalks intact

Place the wine, water, sugar, cinnamon, clove and orange rind in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes then add the pears. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, turning the pears occasionally. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and allow the pears to cool in the pan. For an intense red colour, refrigerate the pears for a few hours or overnight in the red wine syrup. To serve, place the pears on plates with a little of the syrup and a side of vanilla bean ice-cream drizzled with a splash of Pedro Ximenez sherry. Seat yourself comfortably and eat. It will serve 6.

Recipe courtesy of Donna Hay.

12 Responses to “In the Face of a Deluge of Red Wine…”

  1. matt paul May 8, 2012 at 9:54 AM #

    I’m allergic to anything Donna Hay, cant even touch one of her books!

    • La Donna del Vino May 8, 2012 at 10:08 AM #

      Matteo, you will eat anything I put in front of you, regardless of whether I mention the origins of the recipe.

  2. whineandcheersforwine May 9, 2012 at 7:39 AM #

    Freeze leftover wine as ice cubes and use them for cooking when needed! Wish I could take credit for this idea but I read it somewhere recently and do not recall the source. Also suggested was adding spices [rosemary, basil etc.] to the wine. Can’t wait to try it!
    Thank you for the pear recipe.

    • La Donna del Vino May 9, 2012 at 7:46 AM #

      Great idea, Ernest. Thank you!
      Let me know how the recipe goes for you. :)

  3. Marisa Raniolo Wilkins May 9, 2012 at 11:59 AM #

    I used to make wine vinegar – it is really easy and I did not buy a special culture.
    The best vinegar I ever made was when a friend who had been to a wine tasting bought all these partly filled bottles to my house. I used as much as I could in cooking and with the rest (there was far too much of it) I made vinegar. I used a clean crock-pot (the old fashion type where one stored flour) and in it emptied all of the left over wine. To this I added a dash of good wine vinegar and a piece of good bread (yeast) – the sourdough variety. I covered it with a lid and basically left it in a cool place. It then formed ‘the mother’- a thick gelatinous mass of jelly-fish consistency that completely covered the top. I once did some reading on ‘the mother’ and I think that it is called that because it gives birth to the vinegar – it is in fact what I imagine the consistency and function of a placenta…I say this tongue and cheek.
    I left it for a couple of months undisturbed and then removed the vinegar very carefully by pushing the mother to one side (I used a ladle). I always left about 3 cups of vinegar in the crock- pot and then added left over wine and the mother did the rest.
    I have not made vinegar for a long time. I should get back to it.
    Saluti caldi,

    • La Donna del Vino May 9, 2012 at 12:04 PM #

      Thanks to you I might give that a go as well! Wonderful of you to have explained it for me.
      Do you think room temperature is OK for the pot? I have an old clay pot used for brewing herbs, so it has a spout as well as a lid, but perhaps that could work as well?

  4. Marisa Raniolo Wilkins May 9, 2012 at 12:15 PM #

    I do not know about a spout – that would introduce air into it. I kept it in my pantry it seemed to look after itself. I do not think that I would place it near a heater – a “cool” place perhaps.

  5. Chris Cross May 9, 2012 at 8:48 PM #

    Wow Marisa that sounds great! I want to try it too. I think Ive accidently made some sort of vinegar by mistake when I made olives one year. The brine not wine did that jellyfish thing you mentioned so I tossed the lot in the dumpmaster hahah. It scared me. Thought of the BLOB! I used to have a big bendigo pottery pot or bread crock. But it cracked. Such a shame.I ll ask around for you Krys everyone had one in the 70’s.It will be in a garage somewhere hiding. They were all the rage.

    • Marisa Raniolo Wilkins May 13, 2012 at 11:09 AM #

      Yes crock is a Bennets pot – South Australian potter. I had two of these pots and I used one for olives at various times. Yes, the ‘mother’ is amazing. Since I wrote to Krystyna I have tried google to see if bread was mentioned as a starter for making vinegar….I have not found much evidence of this, but I have read that the vinegar should be exposed to the air for 30 mins per day. Maybe my crock did not seal properly, but I never did this. GOOD luck everybody!

  6. Marisa Raniolo Wilkins May 17, 2012 at 8:10 AM #

    From The Old Foodie- her post today, 17 May:



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