15 Delicious Winter Recipes

The cold months are here and it’s time get cosy in the evenings near the fire and enjoy those warming, tasty Winter dishes or sample some delicious, healthier dishes after the festive excesses.

We thought we’d share with you some Winter dishes we’ve seen on our social feeds (and some of our posts) to hopefully inspire you to give some of them a go.

Meat

Persian Lamb Tagine – BBC Good Food – Justin Pattison – as we’ve said previously on our blog, we love the sound of these Middle Eastern style dishes and would like to experiment more with them.  This recipe sounds fantastic, but will take a little more effort and is not a quick dish.

Homemade Lasagne – Sophisticated Homes – this is always a favourite with us as warming comfort food, so great to have in your repertoire at this time of year.  It may take a little while to prepare, but well worth it.

Chicken, Leek, Bacon And Thyme Pie – Delicious Magazine – this is another classic that would be great at this time of year.  The lemon thyme and grainy mustard sounds like it will give it extra little twist and lift.

Complete Menus

 

5 Winter Dishes To Warm Your Cockles – Gordon Ramsey – 5 in one here!

  • Roasted Tomato Soup with Welsh Rarebit – When we first saw this and the first recipe started, we thought: would you really put that much effort in to make tomato soup?  But as he started making it and added the sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, cayenne pepper for a little heat and Parmesan, it sounded so delicious, we had to share it. The Welsh Rstebit looks like a delicious adult version of the classic with a rich mature cheese, beer and worchester sauce as ingredients.
  • Simple Beef Brisket – slow cooked, tender beef………what’s not to like.
  • Spiced Rice Pudding – once again an adult version on a classic dish that has a few spiced twists (vanilla, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom) to add more depth to the recipe.
  • Shepherd’s Pie –  a nice version of the classic that focuses on getting the best out of the lamb mince in the dish.  The addition of thyme, rosemary, worchester sauce, red wine and chicken stock to the mince, make its sounds fantastic.
  • Apple Crumble – making the caramel/ Apple purée and adding cranberries with a bit of lemon juice to the dish gives this a lovely twist.  Also, the addition of muesli to the crumble sounds interesting.

Healthier Options

German Potato Salad – All Recipes – this sounds great and slightly different to the usual recipe of smothering the potatoes in loads of mayonnaise (uses stock, oil and vinegar instead), so fits into being a little bit healthier around this time.

Porridge With Dried Fruit And Honey – this a really simple breakfast we are enjoying at the moment in the cold weather.  It’s healthy, warming and has a low GI, so keeps you full for longer.  It’s extremely simple with basically just adding milk to porridge oats and heating until thick and creamy.  We’ve been adding raisins with the honey, but you could use any dried fruit you fancied.

 

Healthy Black Bean Soup – Jamie Oliver – healthy does not have to mean dull and flavourless dishes.  This sounds super tasty with a kick to warm you in the Winter months.

Winter Salad Recipes – The Telegraph Food And Drink – this is a selection of great salads that sound so tasty and are so far away from what you would call a “boring” salad.

  • Pheasant, radicchio, pomegranate and chestnut salad – this is best served warm and just love the sound of the game flavours with the chestnuts and pomegranate.
  •  Fennel, orange, anchovy and olive salad – this sounds so simple, tasty and interesting.  We do not have a lot of anchovies, but would like to try them in this to add the salty kick.
  • Stilton, pear, walnut and Treviso salad – another simple, but tasty salad that will be salty from the Stilton with a juicy pear finish.
  • Celery and bottarga salad – to be honest, we didn’t know what bottarga was (salted cured fish roe).  Sounds very interesting and different although I’m not sure how easy it is to get hold of the bottarga.

Hope you’ve enjoyed our recipes and the ones we’ve found for this post.  Please share with friends and give some of the recipes a try.

Australian Style Breakfast

Bacon & Eggs On Toast With Mashed Avacado

Our Australian Sister-In-Law showed us a tasty breakfast that we are really enjoying at the moment, so thought we’d share.  It’s a pretty straight forward breakfast dish, but uses avacado instead of buttering the slices of bread to add a wonderful creamy texture and flavour, as well as being a good fat and superfood. It’s extremely simple to make, delicious and relatively healthy. 

Our Sister-In-Law referes to it as smashed avo with bacon and eggs.

Ingredients (serves 2)

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 ripe avacado
  • 2 eggs (fried or poached)
  • 4 rashers of streaky bacon
  • Pepper (no salt required)

Method

  • De-stone the ripe avacado and scrape out the flesh into a bowl and mash/ “smash” into a paste like texture.

  • Heat a pan of water until ther is a rolling boil. Add a splash of white wine vinegar to set the eggs nicely.
  • Grill your streaky bacon till crispy and golden.
  • Crack your eggs into a ramakin and place into the simmering water that you have stirred to create the swirling effect.

  • Toast your bread
  • Paste the avacado onto the slices of bread.
  • Remove the poached eggs from the water and drain on kitchen paper.
  • Add the bacon and poached eggs.
  • Season with pepper.

Twists

  • Instead of the eggs, you could use feta cheese.
  • You can spice up the dish with a little chilli.

This is a very simple and well known breakfast/ brunch dish that has the little twist of the “smashed” avacado that gives it an extra creamy texture.

Please share this with your friends and any staple go-to breakfast dishes that you enjoy.

Green Lasagne

Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne With Butternut Squash Sheets

We love this time of year experimenting and tweaking recipes/ dishes to add more vegetables and less meat into them to try and be a little bit healthier after last month’s excesses.

This recipes is one of those dishes.  It’s so tasty and is a low carb/ meat free option for your repertoire.  As it contains a fair bit of ricotta and loads of vegetables, it is a rich, filling dish, so we find a smaller portion will satisfy or even use it as a side dish.

Ingredients (serves 6)

  • Fresh butternut squash sheets (Sainsbury’s).  Alternatively, we’ve seen courgette sheets that could be used.
  • 250g of ricotta cheese
  • 10 balls of frozen chopped spinach
  • Mature cheese (grated)
  • 50g of Butter
  • 500ml of Milk
  • 50g of Plain flour
  • Salt and pepper 

Method

  • First you need to make a bechamel sauce.

Making a bechamel sauce

  • Melt the butter in a saucepan.
  • Add the plain flour to the saucepan and stir till combined. Once complete continue to heat for approx. 2 mins.
  • Add the milk gradually and continue stirring for another 5-10mins until the sauce thickens.

  • Then you need to make the spinach, ricotta mix. Just simply defrost or warm through the spinach until it has completely separated (or wilt if using fresh, drain and chop).  Place in a bowl and then slowly fold in the ricotta cheese unitl it has a paste like texture. Season with salt and pepper. 

  • Place the butternut squash sheets in an oven proof dish and cover the  bottom. Alternatively chop up a butternut squash and slice it into sheet-like sizes that will fit your dish.  You can chop extra peices to fill the spaces as it will probably not fit exactly.
  • Start layering the lasagne.  Butternut squash first and then bechamel sauce.

  • Then add a layer of the spinach and ricotta mix.

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  • Then another layer of butternut squash…etc etc…

  • Keep layering until you have filled your dish and then add a layer of grated mature cheese.

  • Place in the oven for approx 30-40 mins at 200 degrees and until sizzling and golden brown on top.

This is a simple, tasty, vegetarian recipe which can be made relative quickly.

Side dish Ideas

  • We’ve also used it as a side dish with some prawns cooked with chorizo scattered over a smaller portion of the lasagne, which was delicious and you are looking for a meat/protein element.

If you liked this recipe, please share with others and let us know of any dishes you enjoy at this time of year.

Interior Trends For 2017

It’s that time to start thinking about what plans and jobs we have for the house and garden this year.  It’s a time to start getting creative, taking stock and  getting the home and garden as we want it. 

It’s also a time to see what trends are popular this year get a little inspiration, so we thought we’d share what we found.

Colours

  • Darker more confident shades will be popular, such as blues and shades of green.
  • Earthy colours will be popular this year with dusty pinks, terracottas and olive green.
  • Various shades of grey will still be a prominent colour for interiors in 2017.
  • Dulux have announced their colour of the year, Denim Blue –  a subtle grey-blue.

Colour Ideas For Our House

We are liking the way our house is progressing and the pallette that we have chosen, but we think this year we will be adding a few different colours into the the mix than the neutral tones with purple accent colours. Not sure necessarily the above in trend colours would be what we go with, but certainly has given us thought to start experimenting a little.

We’ve bought this wallpaper from Laura Ashley to brighten up our downstairs cloakroom.  It has the grey tones that are using downstairs, but does have splashes of subtle pink in it as well.

Materials

  • Texture will play a big part this year with your interior designs.
  • The comeback of cork! We’ve seen this in a number of articles/ blog posts stating that it is on the way back.
  • Brass in 2017 will start be used more than copper materials and you see it move away from the brushed effect to polished.
  • Getting back to nature will be big with lots of wood material being used in various forms within your room’s design.

Patterns

  • Mixed patterns are said to be coming in this year and although sometimes they can seem too busy, softer more subtle versions can really lift a room.

Pattern Ideas For Our House

We are trying to ‘jazz up’ some of our rooms this year with more patterned feature walls to get away from the plain painted walls and accenting with pictures, trinkets or furniture.

We found this and the other roll featured above at Laura Ashley in the Winter sale, so got it at a great price.

(Aff link)



Furniture

  • It is said that the trend will be for consumers to start to move towards more well-built, hand crafted furniture this year that will add more character and warmth to your rooms.

Furniture Ideas For Our House

This year, we are thinking of renovating some old bits of furniture we have as they good quality, but need a face lift to bring them in line with our new colour theme.

Design

  • This year, interiors will take inspiration from explorers such us vintage globes, suitcases and bell jars

  • Cosy reading areas may become more popular next year in your room designs.
  • Having more a mix of artisan/ classic peices and modern furniture in your design.

Design Ideas For Our House

We have already created a cosy corner which we use from time to time, but would like to start using it more. 

We are not sure entirely how our design ideas will evolve and change over the year and will always be dependant on time and budget, but we just want our house to feel more warm, fresh and cosy as we work towards getting it as we want it.

For further reads on trends for this year, please click on the links below.

10 Home Trends That Will Shape Your Room – Elledecor,

Interior Bloggers Predict 2017 trends – The Pink House

Interior Design Trends 2017 – Luxpad

10 Home decor Trends 2017 – Vogue

Interior Design Trends 2017 – Wayfair

Top 20 Trends For This Winter – The Telegraph

How To Make Perfect Gravy

Now, we know all the festivities have passed and the big celebratory meals are making way for more healthy, lighter meals, but we had to share the this recipe as we felt it really lifted this year’s Christmas dinner.  Also, even though the festive excesses are going to be toned down in the coming months, there’s still plenty more great roast dinners to be made and enjoyed which would benefit from this recipe.

And although it is quite time consuming, it can be done prior to any big roast.

It’s based on the Jamie Oliver recipe: Get-ahead gravy

Ingredients

  • 2 Onions
  • 2 Celery sticks
  • 2 carrots
  • Chicken wings
  • Port or cherry
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Plain flour
  • Streaky bacon
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • Garlic cloves if desired

Method

  • Roughly chop the onions, celery, carrots, streaky bacon and place in a baking tray.
  • Crack chicken wings with a knife to release more flavour then place them in the baking tray.
  • Add Rosmary and garlic cloves if desired.


  • Roast for approx 45 mins at 200 degrees Celsius until golden.
  • Once cooked, put the tray on the hob, and mash all the ingredients.
  • Add roughly 1-2tablespoons of plain flour and mix.
  • Add the Cranberry sauce, port/sherry.
  • Add roughly 1.5 litres of water and simmer for a further 30 mins on the hob.

  • Strain the thickened glossy gravy from the ingredients.
  • Serve imediately, alternatively, leave to cool and refrigerate/freeze.

This may take a little longer than your average gravy to prepare, but you can make it before to help out and it really does lift and enhance the flavours of a roast and would thoroughly recommend giving it a go.

If you enjoyed this post, please share with friends and also take a look at our other posts relating to great roast dinners.

How To Make Perfect Yorkshire Puddings

How To Choose The Right Cut Of Beef

The Best Roast Potatoes

Broccoli And Cauliflower Cheese With Bacon

Simple Christmas Touches

One of our favourite times of the year is nearly here, filled with family get togethers, lovely food, games and beautiful decorations.

We thought we’d share a few simple touches that we like to do at Christmas to make this time feel extra cosy and special.

Lights

We love Christmas lights and having lots scattered around the house.  We feel they add the warm, subtle glow in your rooms that our lamps and lampshade also give, but with as there are more at this time, it’s even cosier than usual.

  • Framing features with fairy lights makes for a great focal point and gives the whole house a warm Christmas touch.

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  • We also like to add a few decorations in our daughters bedroom.  She always has and her pink tree, which she likes to decorate herself.

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Candles

We do have candles throughout the year, but the special Christmas ones come out in force at this time and get used far more often, giving even more of that soft, cosy lighting with the addition of beautifully seasonal spiced scents.

  • We always look to for decorative and beautifully scented candles. One of the ones we’ve bought this year, we are not sure if we want to burn it!

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Fun Decorations

  • We try to add a few slightly different decorations around the house other than your usual glittery baubles or tinsel to add  more interest and variety.

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  • Saying that, we still like mixing up the slightly different decorations with the old favourites.  Rodney (the Reindeer) always has an airing this time of year.

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Homemade Special Treats

We always try to have homemade treats at Christmas that we do not usually have to create more of an occassion.

  • This year we are having biscotti biscuits in a (Aff link) Kilner Universal Storage Jar, Clear, 0.85 Litre sitting in the kitchen and on the dinner table to dip into when you fancy or with coffee after the big meal.
  • Every year at this time we always make pickled onions (Homemade Garlic Pickled Onions), pickled cabbage or sloe gin.  They’re not the hardest things to make,  but as they were made by us for Christmas it always adds a little talking point and special moment when family and friends try them.

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  • We feel homemade mince pies always taste better than shop bought.  We always make them (now with the help of our daughter) in the week leading up to Christmas.
  • We are also this making a homemade cranberry and apple sauce from a Gordon Ramsey recipe to go with the big meal.

We believe with just a few simple touches here and there can add so much more to the whole feel of your Christmas holiday.

Please share any simple touches you use to make this season feel extra special. Hope you have a great Christmas.

Top Recipes For Christmas

Slightly different this month as we are going to share the great Christmas recipes we’ve seen on our social media channels this month. We’ve also posted it a little earlier to give you opportunity to try any of the recipes below for the festive period.

Sweetco0kiepe – these look so cool and tasty.  Something we can bake and make a mess with our daughter leading up to Christmas.

 

Herbed Baked Brie – Bon Appetit Magazine – seems quite a simple recipe, but a nice little twist and very tasty.  Nice party food idea.

Nigel Slater – Sitlton Puffs – we love Nigel Slater’s great home cooking dishes.  This looks like a very simple, tasty party nibble.

Joe Trivelli’s Italian Christmas Recipes – The Guardian Fodd & Drink  – this is five recipes in one and they sound amazing and something different for this time of year.  We especially like the antipasto brussel sprouts in oil with the mild horseradish, chillis and the slow roasted stuffed duck, but the winner though has to be the Sorbetto al caffè corretto – a double espresso, milt leaves, icing sugar, water and grappa.

Jamie Oliver – Fail-Safe Gravy For Christmas Dinner – we’ve seen this a couple of times now and think we’re going to try it this year.  A bit of work, but for the special day meal, well worth it.  Sounds great.  We think tasty gravy can really lift a meal.

 

How To Make Perfect Yorkshire Puddings – Sophisticated Homes – we thought we’d add our Yorkshire Pudding recipe as we think they are really tasty and a great accompaniment to the big meal.

The Best Roast Potatoes – Sophisticated Homes – again, these will be a great addition to the big meal at Christmas.  We’ve also recently found that beef dripping can be used instead of goose fat in the recipe and still get great result and is much cheaper to buy.

Gordon Ramsey – Cranberry and Apple Sauce – this sounds delicious and relative simple to do to add flavour to the turkey.  As Gordon says: a good sauce can really lift a meal.

Delicious Magazine – Christmas Pancakes – this one sounds different, if not a little bonkers, but would like to give it a try for Boxing Day breakfast.

Hope you like these recipes and get to try or share them with friends and family this Christmas.

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to try our other top recipes we’ve found through the year.

Top 10 Recipes in May

Top 10 Recipes In June

Top Recipes In July

Top Recipes in August

Top Recipes In September

Top Recipes In October

Top Recipes In November

 

How To Make Perfect Rice Every Time

Another quick tip and it’s a simple one, but sometimes quite difficult to pull off:  How to make perfect rice every time.  We got this tip from a Maylaysian friend of ours many years ago and it never fails to produce great rice.

Note

Personally we always use Basmati rice, never long grain as we feel Basmati, although still fluffy and light at the end, has a slightly firmer texture which we like.

Method

  • We use about half a mug of rice per person.
  • Pour into a saucepan and wash the rice.  We change the water around 5 times in this process to see when the water becomes clear (or there abouts) then you know the starch has been washed out.

  • Fill the saucepan with water again until it’s 1cm above the level of the rice.

  • Heat the rice until the water seems to have disappeared and “holes” appear in the rice.

  • Once the water been adsorbed, turn the heat off and put the lid on for 11-13 mins.  This will give the rice time to steam and swell to make perfect, fluffy rice.

  • Serve immediately or leave until ready. If the lid is kept on, it will not affect the rice.

    Please share this tip and let us know of any of your fail-safe methods that you use in your kithcen on everyday recipes.

    Top Recipes In November

    The month has flown by and again it’s time to share the best recipes we’ve found on our social media channels.  Hope you like and try some of these delicious recipes.

    Lebanese Lamb Flatbread – James Martin – Delicious Magazine – we are getting into our Middle Eastern flavours recently and this looks very tasty to us (even though the reviews aren’t brilliant on the site).  Would love to try this one.

    Roast Pork With Apples And Mustard – Jenny White – BBC Food – this looks really simple and really tasty.  It states to use tangy apples and hot mustard to ramp up the flavours.

     
    Homemade Lasagne – Sophisticated Homes – I know it’s biased once more, but we really like our version in this recipe, so thought we’d include it this month.

    Recipes That Make The Most Of Novembers Ingredients – The Independent – Food And Drink – there are 3 dishes in this link and they all sound great.

    • First is Michel Roux Jr’s Roast Woodcock With Grapes And Marc (Pomace Brandy) – this is definitely a complicated, decadent dish, but it sounds great and I’ve never had roasted woodcock before
    • Next is chicken chasseur by the Hairy Bikers and is a easy to make classic that can be served with some celeriac puree.  Sounds great.
    • Lastly is cauliflower cheese with squash and smoked garlic, by The Garlic Farm restaraunt.  We love garlic, so this sounds like a brilliant meat free and hearty dish.

     

    – Jamie Oliver – FoodTube – we came across this as we were looking through the FoodTube channel.  It looks like a great, tasty, one tray recipe, full of flavour.

    Chips With Blue Cheese Fondue – Michael Symon – Cooking Channel – this like a really good snack/ fun food party recipe.  The chips are thinly sliced potatoes with rosemary. Sounds great.

    Holiday Ham With Riesling And Mustard – Bon Appetit Magazine – first recipe for the festive season.  It’s a traditional one we usually have around Christmas, but with the little Riesling twist in it, that really makes us want to give it a try.

    Quick Salted Cod With Potatoes, Garlic And Comte Cheese – Nuno Mendes – Guardian Food And Drink – this sounds really interesting and different so just stood out for us.  Love to give this one a try.

    Beef Shin Ragu Pie – Delicious Magazine –  second one from this source this month, but once we saw this pie, it had to go in.  A rich, warming, hearty pie at this time of year is definitely what the doctor ordered!

    Spatchcock Pheasant Tandoori With Instant Flatbreads – Rose Prince – The Telegraph Food And Drink – we’ve not had pheasant that much, hardly at all really, but when we have, we’ve loved it and the sound of it with tandoori flavours makes us definitely want to have it again.

    If you liked these dishes, please take a look at our previous month’s top recipes.

    Top Recipes In October

    Top Recipes In September

    Top Recipes in August

    Top Recipes In July

    Top 10 Recipes In June

    Top 10 Recipes in May

    Homemade Garlic Pickled Onions

    Every year we like to make pickled onions for Christmas.  They can obviously be made at anytime of the year, but it has just become one of our little traditions around the festive season.  We think they taste better and we do like to experiment with different flavours.  Some have worked, some have not worked so well.

    The recipe we did last year was a success, so we think we’ll try it again:  Homemade garlic pickled onions.

    Note:

    The garlic and the onions all react together in the vinegar and can turn turquoise in colour.  It’s believed to just be the reaction of the enzymes in the garlic cloves with the vinegar and it is completely harmless and not change the flavour in any way.

    Ingredients

    • Onions
    • 1 large garlic bulb.
    • Rock salt……possibly.
    • Pickling Vinegar – for ease, we buy pre-spiced Sarson’s pickling vinegar.  It also has a slightly higher acidity, so even when the pickles leach water into the mixture and dilutes it, the flavour will still be great.
    • You can create your own customised pickling vinegar by adding them to the malt vinegar and bringing to the boil.  Leave to cool overnight, if possible, but for at least a couple of hours and then strain the mixture.

    Typical spices found in pickling vinegar are:

    • 1 tbs Coriander seeds
    • 1 tbs mustard seeds
    • 1 broken cinnamon stick
    • 1 bay leaf.
    • 1 tbs cloves
    • 1 tbs black peppercorns
    • 1 tbs ground ginger
    • 1 tbs red chilli flakes
    • 1tbs whole allspice

    You can experiment with the spices to get it how you like it or even add additional spices if you wanted to.

    Method

    • Sterilise your (aff link) Kilner jars by washing them out with soapy water and then after drying, place them in an oven on a baking tray for 15 mins at 120 – 140 degrees Celsius.  We sterilise the rubber seal by putting it in a bowl of water with a Milton (sterilising) tablet as dry heat can damage the rubber. 

    • Peel the onions.  We top and tail them and then take off the skin plus a few of the first layers of the onion to leave an unblemished, firm onion to pickle.

    • You now can salt the onions with either a dry salt or brine technique. We have in the past put them in a colander over a saucepan and poured over the salt and left them for the night (dry salting).  It draws out the additional moisture in them to make them extra firm, but we’ve found that this can actually make them less firm as they all leach into each other overnight.  Maybe it’s just the way we’ve been doing this process, but this year, we are just going to put them straight into the mixture as it’s given us good results.  Make sure you rinse the onions thoroughly  after either salting method.

      • Put the dried off onions in the cooled sterilised jar.
      • Separate the cloves from the bulb, top and tail them, peel and then add to the jar.
      • Add the pickling vinegar into the jar until full to the brim.
      • Seal the (aff link) jar and place in cool, dark place for 4-6 weeks.
      • We tend to check them every week or so to see if the jar does need topping up with malt vinegar or spiced vinegar.  We want all the onions to be covered with the vinegar all the way through the pickling process to avoid going off and in turn, ruining the whole jar.

      Please share this recipe and give it a try. Also, let us know if you have any favourite pickling recipes you use.