Winter is here! I feel like it turned from beach weather to winter very quickly this year, and as the temperature changes our food preferences will also change. Salads and light dinners don’t cut it anymore. Most will feel hungrier as our body looks for dense foods to warm us up.
Winter also makes it easier to cook in bulk. Casseroles, stews, soups all freeze well and can make for an easy week night meal if you are prepared and have made plenty leftover to freeze. Eating healthy can be time consuming and so I encourage you to make life easier by cooking in batches. All it takes is a little inspiration! This week’s newsletter is full of warming dinner ideas to get you and your family through winter.
A few of my favourite soup recipes are at the end.
• Chicken and vegetable soup
• Barley and lamb soup
• Lentil and vegetable soup
• Lentil and spinach soup
• Broccoli soup
• Chicken and corn soup
• Cauliflower and bacon soup
• Curried pumpkin and chickpea soup
• 4 bean and barley soup
• Chicken and mushroom soup
• Pumpkin and chickpea soup
• Beef and mushroom casserole
• Lamb and lentil casserole
• Chickpea and vegetable tomato casserole
• Chicken and vegetable casserole
• Chicken and pumpkin casserole
• Fish, saffron and tomato stew
• Greek bean and spinach stew
• Chicken cacciatore
• Moroccan lamb stew
• Morrocan tagine
• Lentil dhal
• Fish curry (use a firm fish such as ling)
• Red/green chicken curry with lots of veggies
• Mexican chilli con carne (serve with some rice, guacamole and salad)
• Tofu curry
• Organic mince bolognaise (use beef, chicken or turkey mince) with LOTS of grated and finely chopped vegetables
• Turkey meatballs in tomato based sauce with lots of veggies- serve with wholemeal pasta, brown rice or quinoa
• San Choy bau- turkey or chicken mince with garlic, ginger, soy and grated veggies and bean shoot spouts. Add some brown rice and serve in lettuce leaf cups
• Lamb rissoles/kofta- serve on wholemeal wraps with minted yoghurt and salad. The pattys can be frozen raw individually for easy leftovers
• Chicken/turkey mince rissoles- use lots of fresh herbs like sage and tarragon with some minced garlic and finely diced onion
• Shepard’s pie- organic mince with lots of grated veggies, onion, garlic and tinned tomatoes with mashed sweet potato. Can be made in individual ramekins and frozen, or frozen in a casserole dish
This is a favourite for all, but the trick to making the best pumpkin soup is baking the pumpkin with lots of whole garlic until caramelized before blending. Its delicious!
1.5kg pumpkin- diced into small cubes
4 whole garlic cloves
1 diced brown onion
1L of chicken or vegetable stock
Roast the pumpkin, garlic and brown onion until the pumpkin is soft and staring to caramelize. Squeeze the garlic out of its casing and put the roasted pumpkin and onion into a saucepan. Warm your stock in a separate saucepan on the stove, and add 1 cup into the pumpkin. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Put the soup saucepan back onto the stove and slowly add the rest of the stock until smooth and blended. You may find you don’t need all the stock, so if the soup gets too watery no need to add any more stock. Warm and serve with lots of pepper.
Traditional chicken & vegetable soup
1.2kg whole chicken or 800g chicken breast- preferably organic
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic clove, chopped
1 leek, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 parsnip, chopped
1 swede, chopped
2 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme, sage, chilli, ginger
2 litres water
Salt and pepper or herbamere
Remove the skin and any fat from the chicken, wash thoroughly and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic, leek, celery, carrot, parsnip and swede. Cook until a light golden brown.
Add the chicken, parsley, thyme, water, salt and pepper/herbamere. Bring to the boil.
Turn down the heat and cook for 1½ hours.
If using a whole chicken- take out the chicken and remove the meat from the bones. Break into small chunks and return to saucepan, discarding the bones.
Can add brown rice or barley if you prefer a thicker consistency
Serves 6 generously.
Asian vegetable broth
5 dried shitake mushrooms
1 1/2 cups homemade vegetable stock OR water
2 tsps tamari
2cm piece of ginger, grated
½ tsp peanut oil
½ small carrot, sliced thinly
30g snow peas, trimmed, chopped
1 green onion, sliced thinly
½ cup shredded cabbage
Place mushrooms in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water.
Stand for 20 minutes. Drain, discard stems and halve caps.
Combine stock, tamari, ginger, oil in a medium saucepan.
Bring to the boil. Add mushrooms and carrots, reduce heat.
Simmer, uncovered until carrots are tender. Add peas, onion, and cabbage.
Simmer for 2 minutes.