It’s turned cold and the heat of the sun that we moan about every year seems a long way off! Still, compared to England our winters are shorter and nowhere near as cold, but it does come as a shock when I have to get some logs in for the fire and find some newspaper! The oven seems to be on a lot while we eat comfort food, but it does help to warm the house. Below are some of my favourite recipes to warm the cockles of your heart and keep the cold out. Try my special Chicken Cacciatora which is a hearty chicken casserole and refers to food prepared ‘bounty style’. The Tomato and Pesto Potatoes are ideal for vegetarians and my Chicken Soup with dumplings is a just good old fashioned winter warmer and a favourite in our house!
Roughly chop the carrots, onions and celery. Heat olive oil in a pan and fry the chicken for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and fry onions in the same oil for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the carrots and celery and fry for a further 3 minutes. Stir in the white wine and tomatoes and juice. Season to taste and return the chicken to the pan and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes and add rosemary and olives. Simmer for a further 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
Sausage and Sultana Casserole
Chop up and fry onions, then fry sausage in the same pan. Pour into casserole dish and cover with stock. Add sultanas, apple, herbs and salt and cook slowly in oven for 35 – 40 minutes.
Tomato and Pesto Potatoes
Butter a suitable dish and peel and thinly slice the potatoes, tomatoes and onions. Peel and crush the garlic. Layer the potatoes, tomatoes and onions and season. Top with cheese. Mix the pesto and cream together and then pour over the potatoes. Bake in an oven 180º for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender.
Chicken Soup with Dumplings
Peel and chop onion and carrots, slice chicken and put all three into a saucepan with the stock and pearl barley and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Make the dumplings by melting the butter, whisk the eggs and add to butter. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg. Gradually whisk in the semolina to form a thick paste. Allow to stand for 5 minutes to thicken. Shape the dumplings and drop into soups along with the diced celery. Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.
Chop and fry onions, carrots and garlic in olive oil. Add mince and fry until brown. Stir in flour, stock, bay leaf and tomato puree. Add seasoning and Worcester sauce. Simmer for 20 minutes and then remove bay leaf. For the scones, mix flour with the herbs and seasoning. Rub in butter and add milk to make soft dough. Roll out on a floured surface and cut into rounds 1cm thick. Put mince into a shallow over proof dish. Arrange scones around the top and glaze scones with egg to help brown. Bake for 15 -20 minutes.