As the temperature outside is getting chillier, and the need for snuggly blankets and crackling fireplaces begins to rise, what better way to get yourself warmed up than with some delicious winter foods?
If you are a foodie like myself and are always on the lookout for some new recipes to try out, I have, with the help of some dear friends and family recipes, found some of the most delectable dishes for you to try.
But be advised, they are sure to warm not just your tummies but your souls too. So here we go!
1. Sweet Potato, Coconut & Chilli Soup
This first recipe was made for me by my good friend Sophie while I was suffering a particularly nasty cold. It’s safe to say my sinuses got a new lease of life after I guzzled down this masterpiece. This delicious sweet potato,coconut and chilli soup is both creamy and flavourful, and perfect to put the pep back in your step! (Add the second chilli, I dare you!) Sophie also recommends serving with roasted almonds and a creamy drizzle on top. Enjoy!
This recipe was created by Michael at The Bearded Bakery. Check out even more glorious recipes of his.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
– 1 red onion, chopped
– 1 tbsp vegetable oil
– 1 red chilli, deseeded & chopped (if you want to make it hotter, add a 2nd) – 2 cloves garlic, crushed
– 400ml can coconut milk
– 600ml vegetable stock
– 700g sweet potatoes, peeled & sliced
– Salt & Pepper for seasoning
– Fresh Coriander leaves (optional to garnish)
Over a medium heat, fry the onions until translucent. Add the chilli and garlic, frying for a few seconds before adding the sweet potato.
Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Drop to a low heat and simmer until the sweet potato is cooked (this took 20 minutes for me as I did largish cubes of sweet potato).
Stir in the coconut milk, and simmer for a few minutes.
With a blender (a hand blender is best but I use a stand blender and do it in stages) blend until you’ve got a nice creamy mixture. If it’s too thick then add more liquid.
Season well and serve garnished with fresh coriander and serve with a hunk of bread.
2. Italian Meatballs with Mozzarella Cheese
One of my favourite meals to make to warm my heart is bizarrely these low carb meatballs! This recipe was recommended to me by my mum who was on a bit of a low carb kick at the time. This dish is surprisingly filling and utterly delicious, especially if you’re looking for something to satisfy your tummy between Sunday dinners! This recipe originated on the Diet Doctor website. But trust me when I say as much as I hate diets, I love these meatballs.
This recipe along with many more sugar free recipes can be found here.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
– 450g ground beef or ground turkey
– 180ml (60g) shredded Parmesan cheese
– 1 egg
– 1 tsp salt
– 1⁄2 tbsp dried basil
– 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
– 3 tbsp olive oil
– 425ml (425g) canned whole tomatoes
– 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
– 200g (1.6 litres) fresh spinach
– 55g butter
– 140g (300ml) fresh mozzarella cheese
– Salt and pepper
Place ground beef, parmesan cheese, egg, salt and spices in a bowl and blend thoroughly. Form the mixture into meatballs, about 1 oz (30 grams) each. It helps to keep your hands wet while forming the balls.
Heat up the olive oil in a large skillet and sauté the meatballs until they’re golden brown on all sides.
Lower the heat and add the canned tomatoes. Let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring every couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add parsley and stir. You can prepare the dish up to this point for freezing.
Melt the butter in a separate frying pan and fry the spinach for 1-2 minutes, stirring continuously. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the spinach to the meatballs, and stir to combine.
Serve with mozzarella cheese on top, torn into bite-sized pieces.
3. Chorizo & Chickpea Stew
This fun little dish was suggested to me by my friend Charlie who is an absolute genius when it comes to food recommendations. She never gets it wrong, and honestly this delicious stew is an absolute triumph! Super easy and quick to make, this Spanish-inspired dish is best served with a delicious loaf of crusty sourdough bread to share. A wonderful dish for sharing with friends!
This fabulous recipe can be found on the BBC Good Food website.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
– 4 cooking chorizo sausages, cut into thick slices
– 1 red onion, sliced
– 2 garlic cloves, sliced
– 1 tsp smoked paprika
– 1 tsp cumin seeds
– 400g can cherry tomato Juice
– 1 lemon
– 400g can chickpea, drained
– 1 handful flat-leaf, parsley, chopped
– Toasted sourdough bread, to serve
In a frying pan, fry the chorizo, onion and garlic for 5 mins or until the chorizo is browning on the outside. Drain the excess oil, then stir in the spices.
Pour in the tomatoes, lemon juice, chickpeas and seasoning. Bubble for 5 mins more to thicken slightly, then sprinkle over the parsley. Serve with toasted sourdough.
4. Traditional Welsh Cawl
One of the first meals I ever remember eating is Cawl. What on earth is cawl I hear you cry? Well, cawl is a truly magical type of soup, a traditional Welsh dish passed down over generations. Cawl is a food that brings joy and comfort. It unites families over the dinner table and brings well earned sustenance after a hard day’s work. It is a dish that represents all the great qualities of Wales, which is why I believe it is the perfect winter warmer. I am very proud to share with you a recipe from one of Wales’s acting giants Michael Sheen. I recommend pairing this with some bread and butter and a healthy amount of your favourite cheese. Enjoy!
This recipe can be found on Jamie Oliver’s Website
Ingredients (Serves 8)
– 1 onion
– 1 kg lamb neck, bone in, cut into 5 cm chunks (ask your butcher)
– 1 kg swede
– 2 carrots
– 2 parsnips
– 500g Maris Piper potatoes
– 3 large leeks
– Cheese to serve
Pour 2 litres of water into a large pan with 2 teaspoons of sea salt, then bring to the boil over a high heat. Peel and add the whole onion, along with the lamb.
Bring back to the boil, skimming away any scum from the surface. Simmer on a medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the lamb is cooked through.
Using a slotted spoon, remove the lamb to a plate and leave until cool enough to handle.
While it’s cooling, peel the swede, chop into 1cm chunks, and add to the pan to get a head start. Peel the carrots and parsnips, slice at a slight angle 1cm thick, and drop them into the pan. Now peel the potatoes and cut into 4 cm chunks.
Strip all the lamb meat from the bone, and return the meat to the pan with the potatoes. Bring back to the boil, then simmer it all for 15 to 20 minutes, or until almost tender, while you wash the leeks and cut them into 1cm-thick slices.
Now you can eat this straight away if you want to – simply stir the leeks into the pan, bring to the boil again, then simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on, or until tender. Taste and season to perfection.
For even tastier results, let it chill overnight. In which case, simply stir in the raw leeks, cover, and pop into the fridge, where it will keep for up to 3 days. When you’re ready to serve, gently simmer the cawl until warm through, then season.
Either way, ladle into serving bowls and serve with lots of black pepper, a wedge of mature Caerphilly cheese and a slice of good bread and butter for dunking.
One of the best things my mother has ever made was a warm plumb clafoutis (kla-foo-TEE). The great thing about clafoutis is that it can be served warm or cold, but I find the warmer the better with this delicious French dessert. Super easy to make, this sweet treat is the perfect serve at any winter party, or just to eat in your pyjamas with a spoon on the sofa… not that I’ve done that… twice. Here is my mother’s recipe, and it is honestly scrumptious soI know you’ll love it! So get those pj’s on and enjoy!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
– 4 1⁄2 fl oz milk
– 4 1⁄2 fl oz double cream
– 2-3 drops vanilla essence
– 4 eggs
– 6oz caster sugar
– 1 tbsp plain flour
– 1 oz butter
– 2 tbsp brown sugar
– Fruit of choice (plumbs, raspberries cherries etc)
Preheat your oven to 180.
Pour milk, cream and vanilla into a small saucepan and boil for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and cool.
Beat your eggs and sugar in a bowl, then fold in the flour, a little at a time.
Pour your milk mixture into the dry ingredients in your bowl and whisk lightly. Set aside.
Place a little butter into a dish ( a generic pie dish will do) and heat until foaming. Add your fruit of choice and the brown sugar and bake for 5 minutes.
After 5 minutes is up, pour your batter into the dish covering the fruit. 7. Cook for around 30 minutes until the dish is set.
Leave to cool, and enjoy.
6. Creamy Cauliflower & Halloumi Curry
So many of my close friends have turned veggie over the last few years, and I recently sampled one of the most delicious veggie curries made from scratch by one of them. It was so scrumptious I had to know the secrets behind the masterpiece, and was directed to this incredible recipe created by Beth Sachs at Effortless Foodie. Creamy, crunchy and easy. This twist on a classic Indian curry will have you asking for seconds, thirds and maybe even fourths!
Find the full recipe, plus helpful tips here
Ingredients (Serves 4)
– 450g halloumi, cubed
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 1 onion, sliced
– 2 garlic cloves, chopped
– 3cm fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
– 2 cloves
– 1 cardamom pod
– 2 tsp ground coriander
– 2 tsp turmeric
– 1⁄2 tsp chilli powder
– 2 tsp garam masala
– 2 tsp medium curry powder
– 1 small cauliflower, broken into florets
– 300ml passata
– 2 tbsp tomato puree
– 1 tsp sugar 200ml natural yoghurt
– 2 tbsp mango chutney
– 1 tbsp coriander chopped
In a large shallow casserole or frying pan, fry the halloumi until golden. Spoon onto a plate and set aside
Heat the oil in the same pan and gently fry the onions, garlic, and ginger until soft.
Add the spices and fry for a minute or two.
Place the cauliflower florets in the pan and fry for 5 minutes.
Add the passata, tomato puree and sugar and give it a stir. Simmer until the cauliflower is cooked. (This usually takes about 10 minutes but you can test if it’s ready with a sharp knife.)
Stir in the yoghurt and mango chutney, before adding the halloumi back into the pan to warm through. Scatter over fresh coriander before serving.
7. Macaroni Cheese
If, like me, you are in the middle of an intense and passionate love affair with cheese, this is the dish for you. I first discovered mac and cheese while at drama school in London. I was 21 and life was never the same *drools slowly in the memories of cheese*. This recipe created by the incredible Sew White is creamy, crunchy and super easy! She calls it the ‘best mac and cheese’ recipe, and she’s not wrong. Have a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
You can find this recipe and more of Sew’s delicious foods on her website;
Ingredients (Serves 6)
– 50g flour
– 50g butter
– 475ml milk (1 pint)
– 300g mature cheddar cheese (chopped plus 50g grated)
– 1 slice brown bread
– 2 large tomatoes
– 500g macaroni
– 1 tsp dijon mustard
Mix the 50g Flour, 50g Butter and 475ml Milk in a large pan on low heat, stirring regularly until simmering.
Add the 300g chopped cheese and gently stir until it has melted in the sauce.
Stir in 1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook 500g of the Macaroni according to the packet instructions.
While the macaroni is cooking. put the 1 slice of bread in the blender to make bread crumbs and grate 50g of cheese.
Strain the Macaroni and mix with the sauce. Make sure it’s all coated.
Add the mixture to a large casserole dish.
Top with half of the bread crumbs and grated cheese.
Chop the tomato and add the slices on top.
Add the remaining bread crumbs and grated cheese to the top of the mac and cheese.
Place under the grill (broiler) for 3-5 minutes until golden brown then let it cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
8. Sticky Toffee Pudding
One of the most delicious winter desserts of all time has to be a classic sticky toffee pudding. It’s a make or break dessert at any winter gathering, and when done well it can be the highlight of the night! Lucky for you I have the best recipe to waw even the most stubborn toffee snobs. This Nigella Lawson recipe was recommended to me by a friend who has brought this bad boy out on many a game night. I recommend adding a cheeky dollop of vanilla ice cream or custard to serve. Enjoy!
This recipe along with more delicious treats from Nigella can be found here.
Ingredients (Serves 9)
For the Pudding
– 200g / 7oz soft dried pitted dates, roughly chopped
– 200ml / 7fl oz water from a freshly boiled kettle
– 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
– 75g / 2 1⁄2 oz unsalted butter, softened, plus more for greasing
– 2 tbsp black treacle
– 50g / 1 3⁄4 oz dark moscovado sugar
– 2 large free range eggs, at room temperature
– 150g / 5 1⁄2 oz plain flour
– 2 tsp baking powder
For the sauce
– 150g / 5 1⁄2 oz unsalted butter, softened
– 300g / 10 1⁄2 oz dark moscovado sugar
– 1 tbsp black treacle
– 200ml / 7fl oz double cream, plus more to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas 4 and lightly grease your dish.
Put the chopped dates, boiling water and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl, stir and then leave for 10 minutes.
Cream the butter and black treacle together in a stand mixer until well mixed, then add the sugar and mix again, beating out any lumps. Beat in an egg and keep beating – scraping down as necessary – until completely incorporated, then do the same with the other egg. Beating more gently, add the flour and baking powder until you have a smooth, thick batter.
Using a fork, stir the soaked dates, squishing them a bit, then pour the dates and their liquid into the batter and beat gently to mix in.
Pour and scrape into your prepared dish or cake tin and bake for 30–35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
Meanwhile, to make the sauce, melt the butter, muscovado sugar and treacle over a very low heat in a heavy-based saucepan. Once the butter’s melted, stir gently until everything else is melted too. Now stir in the cream, then turn up the heat and when it’s bubbling and hot, take it off the heat.
As soon as it’s out of the oven, prick the cooked sponge pudding all over with a cocktail stick and pour about a quarter of the warm sauce over, easing it to the edges with a spatula so that the sponge is entirely topped with a thick sticky glaze. Put a lid on the remaining sauce in the pan to keep it warm.
Leave the pudding to stand for 20–30 minutes, then take to the table, with the rest of the sauce in a jug, and cream to serve.
9. Chicken Pie
During my time at drama school I became obsessed with chicken pie. I’m not sure why it was chicken pie that grabbed my eye but you can’t deny there’s something about a really great pie that makes you feel warm, safe and full. (Did I accidentally rap there?) This chicken and tarragon pie recipe by James Martin is all of those things. Rich, creamy, bursting with flavour and super easy to make! You don’t need to be a bake off champion to create this little treat, but maybe you secretly are and this is your chance to find out. So, get ready, get set, and get baking!
This delicious recipe among so many more by James can be found here;
Ingredients (Serves 6)
– 1 whole chicken, spatchcocked
– 2 carrots, halved
– 1 leek, halved
– 1 onion, peeled and halved
– 1 bay leaf
– 6 black peppercorns
For The Sauce
– 50g butter
– 50g plain flour
– 750ml stock from above
– 200ml double cream
– 100g water chestnuts
– 1 small bunch of tarragon, chopped
– 400g plain flour
– 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
– 150g butter, cubed
– 200ml water
– 1 egg yolk
Put the chicken, carrots, leek, onion, bay leaf and peppercorns into a large saucepan. Cover in water, bring to the boil, then simmer for 1 hr. Leave to cool then drain off the stock and shred the meat off the chicken.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/390°F/Gas 6.
To make the pastry, tip all the ingredients into a large bowl, mix together with your hands until it all comes together (you may need a splash more water).
Tip onto a floured surface and roll out into a large rectangle, fold into a book, turn, then roll into a rectangle, then do another book and repeat once more, brushing off any excess flour as you go. Roll out to 3 mm thick.
In a large pan, melt the butter, whisk in the flour followed by the stock to make the sauce, and finish with the cream. Add the chicken, water chestnuts and tarragon to the base of a pie dish, pour over the sauce and cool.
Brush the edge of the pie dish with egg wash, then place the pastry over the chicken mixture. Crimp the edges, brush with egg wash, then pop onto a baking tray and bake for 45 mins until golden brown.
10. Christmas Chocolate Fruit Cake
It’s that time of year once again where Christmas glee is everywhere, and here is a wild card recipe to bring some quirk and fun to your Christmas feast! My mother made this cake last year and it honestly was one of the most delicious things I’ve tasted. Well done mum. Unlike a traditional fruit cake, which I detest, this masterpiece combines it with chocolate in a surprisingly gooey and scrumptious twist. I would absolutely recommend this as something a bit different to amuse your relatives! It’s another Nigella creation, and like always she never fails to please!
This glorious recipe and more are available here.
Ingredients (Serves 10 slices)
– 300g prunes
– 250g raisins
– 125g currants
– 50g piece candied orange peel
– 175g grams soft unsalted butter
– 175g dark brown moscovado sugar
– 175ml tia Maria or any other coffee liqueur
– 2-3 oranges (juice and zest)
– 1 teaspoon mixed spice
– 4 tablespoons cocoa
– 3 large eggs (beaten)
– 150g plain flour
– 75g ground almonds
– 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1⁄2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to gas mark 2/150°C/130°C Fan/300°F. Line the sides and bottom of a 20cm / 8-inch round, 9cm / 31⁄2 inch deep, loose-bottomed cake tin with a double layer of baking parchment.
Before proceeding any further, read the following which explains how to do it if you need the encouragement. The paper should come up higher than the sides of the tin; think of a lining that’s twice as deep as the tin. Cut out two circles of paper, and two very long rectangles that will fit along the sides of the tin coming up from it like a top hat.
Before you put the rectangular cut-out paper in, fold one long side in of both pieces, as if turning up a hem of about 2cm / 1 inch, and then take some scissors and snip into this hem, at intervals of about 2cm / 1 inch – as if you were making a rough frill.
Grease the tin, lay one circle on the bottom and get one of your long pieces, then fit with the frilly edge along the bottom, which you press down to sit flat on the circle to hold it in place. Press the paper well into the sides, and repeat with the second piece. Now place the second circle of paper on the bottom of the tin, but on top of the two pressed-down frilly edges, which will also help to hold the pieces around the edge in place. Finally, wrap the tin with brown parcel paper, again making it higher than the sides, and tie it in place with kitchen twine.
Put the fruit, butter, sugar, runny honey, Tia Maria, orange juice and zests, spice and cocoa into a large wide saucepan and bring to the boil gently, stirring as the butter melts. Simmer for 10 minutes, and then take off the heat and leave to stand for 30 minutes.
After the 30 minutes are up, it will have cooled a little (though you could leave it for longer if you wanted). Add the beaten eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda, and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula, however you like, to combine.
Pour the fruit cake mixture into the prepared cake tin. Place in the oven and bake for 13⁄4–2 hours, by which time the top of the cake should be firm but will have a shiny and sticky look. If you insert a cake tester into the centre of the cake it will still be a little gooey in the middle.
Put the cake on a cooling rack. It will hold its heat and take a while to cool, but once it has, unmould it from the tin and, if you don’t want to eat it immediately (and like any fruit cake it has a very long life), wrap it in baking parchment and then in foil and place in a tin.
The cake can be made 2 weeks ahead and stored, wrapped in a double layer of greaseproof paper (parchment paper) and a layer of foil, in an airtight container in a cool place.
The cake can be frozen, wrapped in a double layer of cling film (plastic wrap) and a double layer of foil, for up to 3 months. To thaw the cake, unwrap it and put it on a plate in a cool place overnight, then wrap and store as above.
Slices of leftover cake can also be wrapped individually and put in a resealable container and frozen for up to 1 month. Unwrap and thaw at room temperature for about 1 hour.
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