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Nothing like chilly rainy weather to make you long for some warming spicy food. Chilli flakes are an essential cupboard supply. I have a jar that should see out the decade. For a simple weekday supper spaghetti con aglio, olio e peprencino (garlic, olive oil and chilli Spaghetti). Fry slivers of garlic, a generous pinch of chilli flakes in plenty of olive oil and coat al dente spaghetti (cooked in salted water) in this mixture. Serve with grated parmesan and chopped flat leafed parsley and a glass of delicious Saumur Blanc 2012 from the Vignerons de Saumur at Saint Cyr-en-Bourg.

A small pinch of chilli flakes combined with fennel seeds and dried oregano adds a subtle warmth to a chicken stew. Try combining the chilli with other milder warming spices such as cinnamon and cumin to compliment rather than overwhelm stews. These mildly spiced warming dishes suit medium weight reds such as the Coteaux de l'Ardèche: Cabernet Sauvignon 2012.

As local fruit is pretty thin on the ground at this time of year it’s the perfect excuse to indulge in some exotic fruits. Bowls of fresh lychees and physalis look pretty and taste delicate and delicious. Try with a small glass of Clairette de Die.

By: Pippa Goldfinger.