Recipes to warm your cockles

The days are growing colder, the leaves have fallen from the trees and its well and truly time to get the log burner roaring. It’s time to get the slow cooker out or bake warming puddings served with lashings of custard.

We’ve pulled together our favourite recipes to warm your cockles after a brisk walk in the cool winter air or to share with family on a weekend.

The classic rice pudding dessert is combined with seasonal, roasted plums – a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

Bay roasted plums:

  • Plums
  • 3 tbsp raw caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsweetened apple juice
  • 3 fresh bay leaves

Rice pudding:

  • 25g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 4 tbsp raw caster sugar
  • 90g risotto or pudding rice
  • 650ml whole milk
  • 250ml double cream
  • 1 whole nutmeg, for grating

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Halve and destone plums, toss them in a bowl with the sugar until coated, then arrange skin-side down in an ovenproof tray.
  3. Drizzle with the apple juice, tuck in the bay leaves and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the fruit is very tender. Set aside to cool.
  4. Grease a 1-litre ovenproof dish with butter, then add all the pudding ingredients, except the nutmeg, and stir well. Grate over about a quarter of the nutmeg. 
  5. Place the pudding into the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 150ºC.
  6. Bake the pudding for 10 minutes, give it a gentle stir, then bake for 1 hour 45 minutes or until golden. Leave to stand for 10 minutes, then serve with the cooled plums and their syrup.

What is more comforting than a beautifully slow-cooked beef stew with the hearty taste of stout, served with buttery, creamy mash? This recipe can be batch cooked and frozen for easy mid-week meals.

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 ½kg braising beef, cut into 3.5cm pieces
  • 4 large onions, thickly sliced
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 500ml stout
  • 800ml beef stock
  • 6 thyme sprigs
  • 450g chestnut mushrooms, halved
  • handful parsley, to serve

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Put a large non-stick, flameproof casserole dish on a high heat and add 1 tbsp oil. Season the beef and brown in batches until well coloured on both sides, making sure you don’t overcrowd the dish. Remove each batch and set aside on a plate.
  2. Add the remaining oil to the pan and lower the heat to medium. Toss in the onions and cook for about 10 mins until softened and golden brown. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for 1-2 mins.
  3. Add the stout and stir well to deglaze the pan, scraping up any sticky bits. Return the beef to the pan, pour in the stock and add the thyme. Bring to the boil, then put the lid on and cook for 1½ hrs.
  4. Add the mushrooms to the casserole, stir well and return to the oven for a further 1½ hrs.
  5. Season to taste and stir in half the chopped parsley. Scatter over the remaining parsley to finish and serve with mash, if you like.

Something happens to vegetables when they are slow-cooked. They release the most intense flavour and fill your kitchen with a beautiful aroma. This soup is perfect for using up veg from the fridge and served as a light dinner or hearty lunch.

  • 8 oz (225 g) peeled carrots, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) lengths
  • 8 oz (225 g) peeled celeriac, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) pieces
  • 8 oz (225 g) trimmed and washed leeks, halved and cut into 2 inch (5 cm) lengths
  • 8 oz (225 g) peeled swede, cut into 2 inch (5 cm) pieces
  • 1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2½ pints (1.5 litres) stock made with Marigold Swiss Bouillon vegetable powder
  • 3 bay leaves
  • salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • Chopped chives and a dollop of Greek yoghurt to serve

Method:

There’s not much to do here once everything is peeled and chopped.

All you do is place everything in the casserole and bring it up to a gentle simmer, then put the lid on, place it in the lowest part of the oven and leave it there for 3 hours, by which time the vegetables will be meltingly tender.

Next, remove the bay leaves and process or liquidise the soup in several batches to a purée, then gently re-heat, and serve the soup in bowls with a teaspoon of Greek yoghurt swirled into each and garnished with the fresh chives.

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Happy cooking!

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