Top 10 Winter Recipes

1. Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup with Lemon & Garlic Toast

sweet potato and butternut squash soup with lemon and garlic toast

Ingredients required for the Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup with Lemon & Garlic Toast

• 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (for the soup)

• 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced (for the soup)

• 1tbsp clear honey (for the soup)

• 1tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle (for the soup)

• 2 onions, roughly chopped (for the soup)

• 3 garlic cloves, crushed (for the soup)

• 1l vegetable or chicken stock (for the soup)

• 1tsp cinnamon (for the soup)

• 1tsp grated nutmeg (for the soup)

• 100ml double cream (for the soup)

• 1 tbsp olive oil (for the lemon & garlic toast)

• 3 garlic gloves, crushed (for the lemon & garlic toast)

• 100g butter, at room temperature (for the lemon & garlic toast)

• zest 1 lemon (for the lemon & garlic toast)

• 2 tbsp snipped chives (for the lemon & garlic toast)

• 1tbsp chopped thyme (for the lemon & garlic toast)

• 2 ciabatta loaves cut into slices (for the lemon & garlic toast)

How to Make Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Soup with Lemon & Garlic Toast

• Heat oven to 200C/200C fan/gas. Place the sweet potato and butternut squash on a baking tray and add the honey and a drizzle of olive oil. Then roast for 40-45 minutes until soft and starting to caramelise at the edges, stirring occasionally.

• Meanwhile, fry the onions in 1 tbsp olive oil until soft, and then add the garlic, chicken stock, cinnamon and nutmeg. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 5 minutes.

• Remove the sweet potatoes and butternut squash from the oven and add to the pan with the stock. Blend everything until smooth using a stick blender. Stir in most of the cream and bring back to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper to taste.

• To make lemon and garlic toasts, gently warm the olive oil and garlic in a pan over a low heat for a few minutes; the garlic should be softened but not browned. Remove from the heat and mix in the butter and lemon zest until smooth. Leave it to cool, and then stir in the chives and thyme.

• Toast the ciabatta slices, and top each with a spoonful of garlic butter. Serve with the soup, drizzling with the remaining cream, and some black pepper.


2. Beef & Vegetable Casserole

beef and vegetable casserole

Ingredients required for Beef & Vegetable Casserole

• 2 celery sticks, thickly sliced

• 1 onion, chopped

• 2 really big carrots, halved lengthways then very chunkily sliced

• 5 bay leaves

• 2 thyme sprigs, 1 whole and 1 leaves picked

• 1tbsp vegetable oil

• 1tbsp butter

• 2tbsp plain flour

• 2tbsp tomato purée

• 2tbsp Worcestershire sauce

• 2 beef stock cubes, crumbled

• 850g stewing beef (featherblade or brisket works nicely), cut into nice large chunks

How to Make Beef & Vegetable Casserole

1. Heat an oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Put the kettle on.

2. Put the celery, onion, carrots, bay and whole thyme sprig in a flameproof casserole dish with 1tbsp oil and the butter.

3. Soften for 10 mins, then stir it in the flour until it doesn’t look dusty anymore, followed by the tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock cubes.

4. Gradually stir in 600ml hot water, then tip in the beef and bring to a gentle simmer.

5. Cover and put in the oven for 2 hours 30 minutes, then uncover and cook for 30 minutes 1 hour more until the meat is really tender and the sauce is thickened.

6. Garnish the remaining thyme leaves.

3. Persian Lamb Tagine

persian lamb tagine

Ingredients required for Persian Lamb Tagine

• 2kg lamb neck fillets

• 5tbsp mild olive oil or sunflower oil

• 3 medium onions cut into thin wedges

• 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

• 4tsp ground cumin

• 4tsp ground coriander

• 1tsp hot chilli powder

• 1tsp ground turmeric

• large pinch of saffron

• 2 cinnamon sticks

• 2 preserved lemons (from a jar), drained and cut into thin wedges

• 300g ready to eat dried apricot

• 250g ready to eat dried pitted dates

• 100g shelled pistachios

• 2tsp rosewater

• 25g cornflour

• small bunch coriander, leaves roughly chopped

• cooked couscous or basmati rice, to serve

How to Make Persian Lamb Tagine

• Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Trim the lamb of any hard fat, cut into chunks and season all over. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the lamb in 3-4 batches over a high heat for 1-2 mins until lightly coloured. Add 1 tbsp more oil between each batch and transfer to a bowl each time a batch is browned.

• Heat the remaining oil in the same dish over a medium heat and fry the onions for 5 mins or until softened and lightly coloured. Stir in the garlic, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, 1 tsp ground black pepper and 1 tsp flaked sea salt. Cook for 1 min, stirring. Return the lamb to the dish and add 1.5 litres of water, the saffron, cinnamon and lemons. Bring to a simmer, stirring a few times. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

• Carefully remove the dish from the oven and stir in the apricots, dates and half the pistachios, then cover once more and return to the oven. Cook for a further 30 mins or until the lamb is very tender.

• Transfer the dish to the hob and adjust the seasoning to taste. Mix the cornflour with the rosewater and 3 tbsp cold water, then stir into the tagine. Cook over a medium heat for 1-2 mins or until the sauce thickens. (Thickening the sauce with cornflour isn’t traditional but helps the tagine to freeze more successfully.) When ready to serve, roughly chop the remaining nuts and sprinkle over the top. Garnish with coriander and serve with couscous or rice.


4. Winter Fruit Salad

winter fruit salad

Ingredients required for Winter Fruit Salad

• 600g good quality ready to eat dried fruits such as prunes, pears, peaches, apricots, figs, cranberries etc.

• 3tbsp clear honey

• 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways

• 1 Earl Grey tea bag

• 1tbsp fresh lemon juice

• mascarpone or Greek yoghurt to serve

How to Make Winter Fruit Salad

• Tip the fruits and 770ml/11/4 pints cold water into a large saucepan. Add the honey and vanilla, scraping the seeds from the pod into the pan. Bring it to boil. Stir well, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly syrupy.

• Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tea bag. Leave it to infuse for 10 minutes.

• Discard the tea bag and vanilla pod, tip the fruits and the liquid into a non-metallic bowl and pour over the lemon juice. Stir, and then leave to cool. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

5. Squidgy Chocolate Pear Pudding

squidgy chocolate pear pudding

Ingredients required for Squidgy Chocolate Pear Pudding

• 200g butter, plus extra for greasing

• 300g golden caster sugar

• 4 large eggs

• 75g plain flour

• 50g cocoa powder

• 410g can pear halves in juice, drained

• 100g plain dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

• 25g flaked almonds (optional)

• cream or ice cream to serve

How to Make Squidgy Chocolate Pear Pudding

• Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Lightly grease a roughly 20 x 30cm shallow ovenproof dish. Put the butter in a large saucepan and place over a low heat until just melted. Remove the butter from the heat and stir in the sugar until well combined.

• Whisk the eggs together in a large bowl. Gradually add the eggs to the butter and sugar, beating well with a wooden spoon in between each addition. Sift the flour and cocoa powder on top of the egg mixture, and then beat hard with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined.

• Pour into the prepared tin or dish and nestle the pears into the chocolate batter. Put the chocolate on a board and cut into chunky pieces roughly 1.5cm with a large knife. Scatter the chocolate pieces over the batter and sprinkle with almonds, if you like. This can be frozen at this stage.

• Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 mins or until the mixture is crusty on the surface and lightly cooked inside. Do not allow to overcook, as the cake will become spongy rather than gooey in the centre. Serve warm with cream or ice cream.


6. Classic Winter Fruitcake

classic winter fruitcake

Ingredients required for Classic Winter Fruitcake

• 1 egg white (for decoration)

• 50g caster sugar (for decoration)

• small bunch black grapes (for decoration)

• holly or bay leaves (for decoration)

• 20cm/8 inch round fruitcake (for decoration)

• 1-2 clementines (for decoration)

• 1-2 just ripe figs (for decoration)

• a few kumquat (for decoration)

• a few physalis (Cape gooseberries) for decoration

• approx 65cm red or gold ribbon (for decoration)

• 2 egg whites (for the frosting)

• 175g icing sugar (for the frosting)

How to Make Classic Winter Fruitcake

• Lightly beat the egg white in a shallow bowl and spread out the caster sugar on a baking sheet or tray. Dip the grapes and the holly or bay leaves into the egg white, or use a paintbrush. Shake off the excess, then coat in the sugar. Set aside to dry for at least 10 mins, ideally about 30 mins.

• When you’re ready to decorate, make the frosting. Put a large bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Put the egg whites and icing sugar into the bowl and whisk for 5-7 mins until you have a thick, very glossy frosting. Use a spatula to clean around the edges of the bowl every so often as you whisk. Scoop the frosting onto the top of the cake and spread it around with a flat-edged knife, swirling as you go to create a snowy effect.

• Halve the clementines, figs and kumquats, then arrange on top of the frosted cake with the physalis, frosted grapes and leaves. Fix a ribbon around the base and leave the cake somewhere cool – but not the fridge – until your guests arrive.

7. Leek & Potato Soup

leek and potato soup

Ingredients required for Leek & Potato Soup

• 50g butter

• 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces

• 1 small onion cut the same size as the potatoes

• 450g white parts of leeks, sliced

• 850ml- 1.2 litres/1 ½-2 pts light chicken or vegetable stock

• 142ml carton whipping cream

• 125ml full fat milk

• the white part of 1 leek (to finish)

• a small knob of butter (to finish)

• finely chopped chives (to finish)

How to Make Leek & Potato Soup

• Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When it foams, add the potatoes, onion and leeks and toss them in the butter until they are well coated. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and toss again. Put a disc of greaseproof paper (called a cartouche by chefs) on top of the vegetables to keep in the steam), then cover the pan with its lid. Cook over a gentle heat for 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft but not coloured.

• Uncover the pan and discard the paper. Pour in 850ml/11⁄2 pints of the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the vegetables are just cooked – about 5 minutes. Do not overcook or the soup will lose its fresh flavour.

• Purée in a blender until silky smooth, in batches if necessary, then taste and adjust the seasoning. Return the soup to a clean pan and stir in three quarters of the cream and all of the milk.

• To finish the soup, finely shred the white leek and gently cook it in the hot butter for a few minutes until it is softened but not coloured. Reheat the soup to a gentle simmer (add some extra stock at this point if the soup is too thick for your liking), then pour into warmed bowls. Drizzle the remaining cream over each serving, top with a little pile of buttered leeks and a scattering of chives and black pepper and serve at once.

8. Honeyed Winter Salad

honeyed winter salad

Ingredients required for Honeyed Winter Salad

• 1 butternut squash, cut into thin wedges

• 2 red onions, halved and cut into wedges

• 4 parsnips, cut into wedges

• 3tbsp olive oil (try garlic or basil infused)

• 1-2tbsp clear honey

• 1 small ciabatta, roughly torn into pieces (tomato and olive ciabatta also works well)

• 1tbsp sunflower seeds optional

• 225g bag leaf spinach

• 2tbsp white wine vinegar

• 1tsp Dijon mustard

How to Make Honeyed Winter Salad

• Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Put the vegetables into a large roasting tin, drizzle with half the oil and season to taste. Roast for 20 mins, turning once in a while until softened. Drizzle with the honey. Scatter the torn ciabatta and sunflower seeds over the top and return to the oven for a further 5 mins or until toasted.

• Put the spinach into a large bowl and tip in the vegetables and ciabatta. Whisk the vinegar, mustard and remaining oil together, season to taste and toss into the salad until the spinach wilts slightly. Serve immediately.

9. Chicken Roasted with Winter Root Vegetables

chicken roasted with winter root vegetables

Ingredients required for Chicken Roasted with Winter Root Vegetables

• 1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 2 ½ cm/1in chunks

• 400g swede, peeled and cut into 2 ½ cm/1in chunks

• 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 2 ½ cm/1in chunks

• 2 medium parsnips, scrubbed and quartered lengthways

• 2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced

• 2tbsp olive oil

• ½ tsp cumin seeds

• a few sprigs of sage

• 4 skinless boneless chicken breast fillets, weighing about 140g/5oz each

• 4 slices of prosciutto

How to Make Chicken Roasted with Winter Root Vegetables

• Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Put the celeriac, swede, sweet potato, parsnips and garlic in a large roasting tin. Sprinkle with the olive oil and cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Toss the vegetables together so they are lightly coated in oil. Put in the oven towards the top and roast for 30 minutes.

• Meanwhile, lay a couple of sage leaves on each chicken breast, then wrap each with a slice of prosciutto to enclose.

• Take the roasting pan from the oven and turn the vegetables over. Now lay the chicken on top. Roast for 30- 35 minutes more, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is done. Serve with steamed broccoli or lightly cooked Savoy cabbage.

10. Muffin Topped Winter Beef Stew

muffin topped winter beef stew

Ingredients required for Muffin Topped Winter Beef Stew

• 500g braising steak, cut into bite-sized chunks (for the stew)

• 2tbsp plain flour, seasoned with pepper and a little salt (for the stew)

• 2tbsp olive oil (for the stew)

• 1 large onion, finely chopped (for the stew)

• 450g carrot, cut into chunks (for the stew)

• 2 large parsnips, cut into chunks (for the stew)

• 1 bay leaf (for the stew)

• 2tbsp sundried or regular tomato paste (for the stew)

• 300ml red wine or extra stock (for the stew)

• 450ml vegetable stock (for the stew)

• 225g plain flour (for the topping)

• 3tsp baking powder (for the topping)

• 140g cheddar, coarsely grated (for the topping)

• 2tbsp olive oil (for the topping)

• 150ml milk (for the topping)

How to Make Muffin Topped Winter Beef Stew

• Heat oven to 150C/fan 130C/gas 2. Toss the beef in seasoned flour. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole. Fry the beef over a high heat until browned all over – it’s easiest to do this in batches. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

• Add 2 tbsp water and the onion to the pan, stir well over a medium heat, scraping up the crusty bits from the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and fry gently for 10 mins, stirring occasionally until the onions have softened.

• Tip in the carrots, parsnips and bay leaf, then fry for 2 mins more. Return the beef to the pan, stir in the tomato paste, wine if using, and stock, then bring to the boil. Cover and cook in the oven for 1¾-2 hrs until the meat is tender. Can be made up to 2 days ahead or frozen for up to 1 month. Defrost thoroughly in the fridge before topping and baking. Take out of the oven and increase the temperature to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

• To make the topping, sieve the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add half the cheese. Mix olive oil and milk, then stir into the flour to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. Add more milk, if necessary. Spoon the dough over the meat and vegetables, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for about 15 mins until golden, risen and cooked through.