Thursday, 5 December 2013

Food...Winter Warmers with Family



So, it's that time of year again - freezing cold winds, de-icing the car in the morning, everyone
winding down looking forward to Christmas holidays. Personally, Christmas is my favourite holiday. I just love spending time with my family and enjoying each other. As I have said before I always think that spending time is better than spending money - time is so precious - we can always earn more money but can never gain back time. One of the ways we enjoy spending time with our family is through food. As you know, I am a big fan of having all our family sat around the table for the evening meal, and at this time of the year - warming winter food is a clear winner for us...


What follow are some simple food ideas for over the Christmas holidays, to see you through the winter and beyond. Gone are cold salads and light snacks - this article is all about winter comfort food. I hope that this article inspires you to get close to your loved ones this Christmas - sit together, eat together and have a special and lovely holiday.

* Soups

I LOVE home-made soups. At this time of year, I particularly like thick hot soups filled with left over veg, stock. My favourite smooth winter warming soup is leek and potato. It is lovely with crusty bread, and really simple to make. I also enjoy really chunky soups, like big thick broths made with any odds and end of vegetables - I just throw it all in a pan with a bit of stock. It really is surprising what you can make if you get creative - remember to taste as you go along!
If it is one-pot meals you like, do check out my one-pot chicken and chorizo dish - this is really easy to make and really lovely to eat.

* Roast Dinners

I am not shy to say that I make a mean roast dinner. Most Sundays we do sit down to eat a roast dinner together. Emily, Alice and Rosie absolutely love mashed potato, so I always end up doing mash as well as roasties. Our favourite is roast pork - I tend to slow-roast it for hours until it falls apart - I serve it with carrots and swede mashed mixed with a knob of butter and black pepper, broccoli or cabbage and lots of stuffing. Not forgetting the potatoes! I always make my own gravy and I think that the quality of the gravy really can make a roast. I am so glad that my family love my roast dinners!

* Scouse

Have you heard of Scouse? Do you call it stew? Well this is also one of my favourite winter warming dishes. Basically, it is diced stewing beef with onions, potatoes and carrots in gravy. Here in Liverpool this is known as Scouse, and some people make it very differently - some add other root vegetables or serve it in a different way. We tend to eat it with crusty bread. Again, my kids love this one, and because it is a one-pot dish it is simple to make.

* Desserts

We are not massive dessert fans, but sometimes in the winter, a good hot dessert can warm you right up. Our favourite is apple crumble and custard. Or cream, if you don't like custard. Me and the girls love custard, although I must confess to buying custard in as I have never made it from scratch - maybe that would be one to try in the future.

* Sheppard's/Cottage Pie

Shepherd's pie is made with minced lamb, and cottage pie is made with minced beef. I tend to use minced beef, and confusingly I call it Shepherd's pie, but never mind my mistakes! We LOVE this in winter. I make the minced beef with onion and a stock cube, add carrots and then pile it with lots of mashed potato on top. I think add fork pricks all over the mash and grill it until it has a lovely crusty top. I serve this with pickled cabbage - always a winner in our house!


So what are your dish ideas for winter? Do you go for winter warming comfort food or do you try something else? Whatever you do, I hope that you and your family get time to sit together and enjoy good food, and good quality time this Christmas.

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