Cold frosty mornings and dark evenings may typify winter, but there’s an abundance of pleasant quirks that the changing seasons allow us to enjoy. Of course, one of the best things about winter nights is that they provide the perfect excuse for us to pig out on hearty, rich and comforting foods before we get snug in the warmth of our homes. Winter offers up a plethora of culinary options to indulge in, from rich meat pies and the comfort of mashed potatoes to the warm decadence of a sticky toffee pudding.
So, dim the lights, spark some candles and cosy up with these hearty dishes to warm you right to your core!
Moussaka: Comfort comes in many forms, one of which is most certainly the luxurious and creamy deliciousness of a moussaka. Your three key elements comprise richly fragrant lamb mince, the subtle charred flavour of grilled aubergine and a sumptuous white sauce. The sauce can be tricky – melt butter in a pan, add flour and stir until mixture forms a smooth paste. Stir in milk gradually, bring to the boil, stirring, and then simmer for 10 minutes before adding nutmeg and, egg yolk and parmesan. If you’re entertaining guests it’s the perfect centrepiece!
Beef and Guinness pie: Hearty, boozy, rich – a good beef and Guinness pie has all the hallmarks of a satisfying winter delight to warm your cockles! Use some good quality brisket and the dark richness of the stout will bring out heaps of smooth, full-flavoured goodness.
Winter vegetable cottage pie: Cottage pie can be just as delicious without the meat – lentils are a great protein-packed alternative and work delightfully with mushroom, celery and carrots, all stewed in a rich red wine stock. As with any cottage pie, make sure you perfect the potatoes and you’re in for a real winter’s treat. For the mash, be sure to use a floury potato and add butter, milk and grated cheddar cheese.
Sausage, mash and onion gravy: An all-time British classic! Choose a good quality Cumberland or pork and apple sausage from your local butcher’s to get this dish up and running. Then put some loving into a perfectly creamy portion of mashed potato, maybe adding some buttery leaks or a dash of wholegrain mustard to elevate your flavours!
Sticky toffee pudding: Luxurious, decadent, indulgent desserts don’t get much better than sticky toffee pudding – sticky sweetness best served with a scoop of delicious real vanilla ice cream.