The bottle is half full rather than half empty, when it becomes the key ingredient for your next mealDan Foy

The concept of ‘leftover wine’ may seem paradoxical or even implausible to some of us, given how deeply ingrained the regular consumption of alcohol seems in the university experience. However, you may find yourself facing a dire dilemma; having hosted a sizeable party and/or attended several yourself, you may then be left with numerous half-drunk bottles which you simply cannot bring yourself to discard, nor to plough through before the booze reaches the end of its short life.

The good news is that you can easily use the excess alcohol to cook up delicious and foolproof dishes. Alcohol not only adds moisture to your food; its volatile nature helps to convey the richness and intensity of the underlying aromas to the olfactory senses, which in turn enhances and adds depth to the overall flavour profile of the dish. If you, like me, are blessed with a gyp with a fridge, a microwave, an electric hob, but no oven – true Cambridge style – here are a couple of recipes (and tips) which any ovenless student with a surplus of alcohol in their hands should definitely take a whack at.

Appetizer: Margarita guacamole

Who doesn’t like guac? This effortless recipe requires no baking, cooking or even microwaving. Simply chop up all the constituent parts and pulverize the ingredients until it takes on the form of your preferred consistency. If you are feeling extra fancy, go ahead and ‘rim the edge’ of your bowl with agave nectar and salt; it goes without saying that the lime can be swapped in with lemon, and the chips with crackers or any other kind of crisps.

Main course option #1: Penne alla vodka

Let’s face it: every time we dump that entire bottle of ready-made pasta sauce in the saucepan, don’t we feel just a little bit sad? Being able to enjoy pasta with fresh, homemade sauce is so much tastier and so much more satisfying, and requires a surprisingly short amount of time, money and skill.

Tried and tested, this dish is oh-so-good every time I cook it. Luxuriously creamy, intense and bursting with the perfect blend of sweetness, acidity and saltiness, this is the best comfort food to treat yourself with during a cozy night in.

The traditional recipe recommends rigatoni, but of course penne will make a suitable substitute.

Main course option #2: Beer-braised chicken

Have you made the regretful decision of investing in a 12 pack of beer which you now have no way of finishing? Fear not – this scrumptious pot of beer-braised chicken is to die for, and you will definitely not regret purchasing that multi-pack of ale after concocting this hearty stew!

From experience, I would suggest opting for dried herbs instead of a packet of, say, fresh thyme, since an entire packet of fresh herbs takes much longer to finish up and expires a lot sooner.

Dessert: Chocolate rum truffles

Curb that sweet tooth craving with an irresistible confection: decadent truffles infused with full-bodied rum. For the truffles, only four ingredients are needed, which can all be very easily obtained on a quick trip to Sainsbury’s. As a final touch, drizzle silky smooth white chocolate on top once the truffles have cooled down.

Beverage: Boozy orange hot chocolate

Whether you are winding down from a long day, or simply looking forward to a bit of me-time, this is the most splendid cup of velvety, toasty hot chocolate to indulge in. The recipe provided is for a Nutella hot chocolate which you could make as the base of the drink – this, to me at least, sounds just as incredible as the rum hot chocolate itself. Remember to add marshmallows, whipped cream or any other topping of your choice!

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