When the darkness settles in for much of the cold weather months, food can be a soothing and revitalising source of comfort. It can also be an excellent way to keep the body in tip top shape to fend off the winter bugs that make us all miserable with colds and flus. Below are a few of our favourite recipes to see us through the winter months. We’ve chosen a mixture of recipes that are known for their warming qualities but are also great for nutrition and diet. If you try out any of the recipes, do let us know in the comments section below.
1. Heart warming lentil and sweet potato soup
There is nothing quite like a warming soup to have on a cold, winter’s evening. The sweet potato and lentil pairing makes for a filling meal while the spices and chilli will definitely bring the heat into your mid winter’s night.
- 1 cup sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into small pieces
- 1/2 cup carrots, chopped
- 1 cup onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup celery, chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 ½ cups green or brown lentils, rinsed
- 1 ½ teaspoon coriander
- 1 tbsp cumin powder
- 2 tsps curry powder
- 1 tsp chilli flakes (leave out if preferred)
- ½ teaspoon paprika,
- 1 tsp tumeric turmeric
- 6 cups vegetable stock
- 2 ½ cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
Add the sweet potatoes, onions, celery, carrots, bell pepper, garlic, lentils, spices, and 6 cups of broth into a large pot. Bring the pot to a boil then put on the lid and cook for 1 1/2 hours on a low heat setting. Ensure the lentils are thoroughly cooked. To thicken the soup, spoon out half the contents and place in a blender. Allow to cool and then blend till smooth. Add the pureed contents back into the pot and stir until well combined and thoroughly heated. Add the chopped spinach and serve piping hot for a soup that feels real good for the soul! You can add a dollop of greek yoghurt to cut some of the spices and serve with a piece of chunky bread.
2. Beef and Guiness Stew with Dumplings
The ultimate in comfort food, this stew brings all the elements of the countryside to your home. The dumplings are soft and delicious and complement the beef perfectly.
- 1kg beef, cut into 1.5 inch chunks
- 200g onions chopped
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 3 celery sticks, chopped into 1 inch chunks
- 3 tbsp plain flour
- 500ml beef stock
- 500ml Guinness
- 1 tbsp dried thyme
- 125gm self-raising flour
- 60g beef suet
- 1 egg yolk
- 100 gm cheddar cheese grated
- 1/4 cup parsley roughly chopped
To make the dumplings, mix together the flour, cheese and suet making sure they are well combined. Create a well in the middle of your mixture, adding the egg yolk, parsley, and a pinch of pepper. Add in 2 tbsp of water, and mix all ingredients together gently into a dough. The dough needs to be firm yet can still be moulded easily into eight dumplings. Add a little more water if needed. When you have your dumplings, cover and place in the fridge to cool.
Heat your oven to 160C. Pour some oil into a pan and lightly brown the meat. Add the onions, carrots and celery and stir well. Stir flour and seasoning into the mixture then follow with adding the stock and Guinness. When the liquid has started to gently bubble, pour everything into a casserole dish, cover and place in the oven for 2 and 1/2 hrs or until the meat is tender. The dumplings should be placed on top of your stew about 25 minutes before the casserole should come out. Leave the lid off for the last 10 minutes so the dumplings brown nicely. Serve this dish piping hot!
3. Lamb Tagine
Succulent lamb paired with the sweetness of apricots and dates will leave your mouth watering for more.
- 2½lb lamb shoulder, in 2 inch cubes
- 2 large onions, diced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 100gm dried apricots roughly chopped
- 50gm raisins
- 50gm dates roughly chopped
- 85gm of chopped almonds
- 3 cups lamb stock
- 2 tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
- black pepper to taste
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp tumeric
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Heat some oil in a casserole dish and brown the lamb cubes well then set aside. In a frying pan, lightly sauté garlic, onion and carrots until golden brown. Stir in the spices and tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Pour these ingredients back into the casserole dish together with the lamb adding the dates, apricots and raisins. Pour over the stock, stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Place a lid over the dish and cook in the oven for 1 hr or until the lamb falls apart with a fork. Serve with a sprinkling of parsley and almonds on top. If desired, this dish goes well with a serving of couscous.
A delicious, sweet and aromatic drink which will warm your insides and bring peace and comfort as the aroma of spices wafts through your house.
- 1 sweet orange
- 1 bottle red wine
- 200g sugar
- 17 cardamom pods
- 5 cloves
- 5 star aniseed
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 slices peeled ginger
- 150ml vodka
- 50g sultanas & 50g flaked almonds for garnish
In a large pot, pour in your bottle of red wine and add the zest of an orange along with the sugar, ginger and spices. Allow to simmer on a low heat, being careful to not let the liquid come to the boil. After 10 minutes, stir in the vodka and juice of the orange. Serve warm in a mug with flakes almonds and sultanas as garnish if desired.