This is a guest post by Laura very apt for the cold spell we’re currently having…
When the cold, dark nights start to creep in and stepping out of your door into the blistering winds and soaking wet rain just isn’t worth it anymore, it’s clear the only way to survive the season is to stay in and cook up some delicious winter recipes.
To get you started with warming your cockles, here are some of my top delicious winter dinners and of course, a cheeky dessert:
Hearty chicken casserole with a splash of red wine (serves around 6)
- As always preheat your oven (fan 180C/ gas 6)
- Take 6 chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Then heat a little oil in a casserole dish and dip your seasoned chicken into the dish until each breast is brown on each side. Put the chicken aside for now.
- Tip in 3 peeled onions that have been cut into segments and cook until soft, then add 3 garlic cloves that have been peeled and sliced and cook for around a minute.
- This is where it gets delicious! You now need to pour in 300ml of your favourite red wine, 300ml of chicken (or vegetable) stock, 300g of sliced mushrooms and peeled orange zest to taste.
- Turn up the heat and return those seasoned chicken breasts back to the casserole dish. Make sure your dish is well covered and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
- As a less healthy addition, serve with homemade dumplings and a glass of rich wine.
Classic Winter veggie soup (serves 4)
- Peel and finely slice 2 onions and gently fry them with a little oil in a pan until soft. Whilst they’re cooking, peel and chop 2 carrots, 2 parsnips, 1 medium sized Swede and 3 potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
- Add your chopped carrots, parsnips and Swede to the soft onions in the pan and fry all together for about 8 minutes.
- Add your chopped potatoes and 1.5 litres of cold water and bring everything to the boil and simmer until the veggies are tender.
- Add a pinch of salt and pepper and a little cream and take off the heat. Then blend everything together until you have a creamy soup consistency.
King prawn and coconut curry (serves 4)
- Heat 2tbp of your choice of oil in a pan. Fry 1 chopped onion, 2 sliced garlic cloves and half of a green chilli for a few minutes until everything has softened.
- Add to the pan 3 tbsp of curry paste (again your choice) and cook for a couple more minutes.
- Tip in 200ml of coconut cream, 200ml of vegetable (or chicken) stock and 1tbsp of tomato puree.
- Simmer everything for around 10 minutes and then add in around 500g of raw prawns, depending on their size.
- Cook for a few minutes and serve hot on top of fluffly white rice.
Cheese and bacon Lasagne (includes a few cheats for those who don’t have time)
- Preheat the oven at 190C/gas 5
- Fry 3 large sliced onions until soft and golden and add 1 tsp of oregano and 300g of chopped bacon to then fry for around 5 minutes. Then tip in 2 400g of chopped tomatoes and fry for another 5 minutes.
- Cheat alert! Whilst your mixture is bubbling away, start on your white sauce. At this point you can choose to purchase a jar of white sauce or find a recipe to create your own. Whichever you choose spoon in some nutmeg and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Spoon a third of the tomato and bacon mixture onto the base of a lasagne dish. Top with a handful of lasagne sheets and then top with some white sauce.
- Repeat until the mixture is all used and finally pour over the last of your white sauce and scatter with some cheese. A pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon makes a delicious topping.
Delicious beef and beer pie
- Preheat oven to 160c/gas 3.
- Using a casserole dish add in 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped celery stick and cook until softened. At the last minute pop in 2 tbsp of flour and stir until it is gone.
- Stir in 700g worth of beef stewing steak chunks and 1tbsp of Worcester sauce, then crumble in 2 beef stock cubes between your fingers and 2 sprigs of thyme.
- Here’s the naughty bit – Pour in 540ml of your favourite beer and cook everything in your covered dish for 3 hours (2 ½ covered and 30 mins uncovered).
- Line your pie dish with short crust pastry (homemade or pre-bought) and spoon your meat into the middle. Then pour some of the sauce over the meat and cover with some more pastry.
- Brush the top of your pastry with egg and bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown.
Sweet cranberry apples in a mulled wine sauce
- Pre-heat oven to 350c
- Line a casserole dish with a thin layer of butter or margarine and set aside
- Peel and core 4 large apples and fill each centre with cranberry sauce.
- Stand the apples in your lined dish and pour 1 cup of mulled wine evenly over the apples. Then tip 2 tablespoons of butter chunks, 1 cinnamon stick and 4 whole cloves into the dish.
- Sprinkle over 1tbs of sugar and bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes until the apples are tender.
- Serve hot with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream.
Laura writes on behalf of Wild Grapes, who design custom wine cellars and bespoke wine racks. They also supply a wide range of metal wine racks to purchase online.