Since we're nearing Christmas and a time of giving and receiving I thought I would share this seasonal guest post today. At this time of year my slow cooker is used at least two or three times a week. After battling through the rain and the wind on the way home it's a small pleasure to walk through the door and smell a tasty meal slowly cooking away. I like to have soup for lunch so make up a batch of carrot and coriander soup to see me through the week. If you're looking for something more hearty and to feed all the family then try out my version of ale braised beef with dumplings. Anyone who fancies something a bit more spicy then have a look at the suggestions below. For those with a sweet tooth there's also a great way of using up leftover Christmas pudding. I'll leave now for the scene to be set and recipes shared.
"There's something totally charming about winter. The weather might be cold but instead of complaining about nature, far better to accept it, embrace it, and make the most of the season.
Winter means frosty mornings, a chill in the air; wrapping up with thick scarves, gloves and hats; snuggling up at home in the warm, perhaps with a log fire burning. It also means hearty comfort food. That's one of the real pluses of winter – nothing beats a satisfyingly thick stew.
Best of all, many of these recipes are simple and take little effort – some can be cooked all day on appliances such as a slow cooker, so the delicious food is ready whenever you need. If you’re looking for some inspiration, here are a few simple recipes to try this winter:
Beef rendang curry
There are many variations on beef stews and casseroles, and it's a simple task to create a tasty curry. This recipe from BBC Good Food uses beef shin, or skirt, and a wonderfully flavoursome sauce which combines coconut milk, lemongrass, tamarind paste, ginger, chillies and kaffir lime leaves. The heat and spice of the dish can be managed by the use of chillies and the cooking time – cook over a gentle heat for several hours and the meat should fall apart.
Pork, chorizo and cannellini bean stew
A delicious recipe for this winter warmer can be found here. It needs just a handful of ingredients – pork shoulder steaks or pork shoulder, a tin of cannellini beans, a few chunks of chorizo sausage, two tins of chopped tomatoes, a couple of red onions, and four (or fewer if you prefer) garlic cloves. Teaspoons of smoked paprika and dried chilli flakes can be added, to taste. The end result is a smoky belly filler. Chicken can be used as an alternative meat.
Roast carrot and fennel soup
Is there anything more comforting than a huge bowl of homemade soup when the weather is a little nippy? It's like being swaddled in a duvet. The Jamie Oliver website has loads of recipe suggestions and one of the easiest is this carrot and fennel soup. Not only is it straightforward to make, and healthy, its vibrant orange colour makes it a visually appealing dish, too. Serve with chunky bread, or attempt the flatbreads included with the recipe.
Christmas pudding sundae
We can't exclude puddings from this list, and this effort, from Jamie Oliver, is a total doddle. It’s essentially a means of making the best use of Christmas pudding leftover from Christmas dinner. Check out other Christmas recipes from AO here.
This dish is a lovely combination – a generous chicken breast, flavoured with a cider-based sauce – and accompanied by orzo, which is a very small, almost rice grains-sized, type of pasta. The orzo provides the filler, so simply increase the amount of it per serving if you and your guests are feeling particularly hungry!"
What are your favourite winter warmer meals? Do you prefer a soup or a stew or something different?
This a collaborative post.