Winter Warmer Recipes

winter warmers

Butternut Squash and Sage Arancini Balls with a Gooey Cream Cheese Centre

Ingredients: 40g unsalted butter Half an onion, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, diced 125g risotto rice 50ml white wine 250ml vegetable stock 200g butternut squash/ pumpkin peeled and cut into pieces 5g fresh chopped sage 100g bread crumbs 60g Boursin Black Pepper Portions Vegetable oil for frying
For the egg wash:  2 eggs  50ml milk

Serves: 8 -10 people  Preparation time: 30 minutes  Cooking Time: 30 minutes 

arancini ballsMethod:

1. Place a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the butter, diced onion and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until the onion softens

2. Add the dry risotto rice to the pan and stir for 1 minute, allowing the melted butter, onion & garlic to coat the rice

3. Add the wine to the risotto and stir until absorbed. Pour the stock into a separate pan and bring to boil, before simmering gently

4. Add a ladle of stock to the risotto and again, stir until completely absorbed and the rice starts to swell. Continue to add a ladle of stock at a time, stirring until completely absorbed before adding the next. Repeat until all of the stock has been used

5. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the butternut squash or pumpkin. Cook until tender and then drain

6. Remove the risotto from the pan and place into a mixing bowl. Add the drained butternut squash or pumpkin and use a fork to mash together

7. Add sage to the mixture and season with salt and pepper to taste. Shape the Boursin Pepper Portions into 5g balls and shape the risotto mix around each. This will make approximately 12 arancini balls

8. To make the egg wash, add the eggs and milk together with a little salt and gently whisk

9. Dip the arancini balls into the egg wash to coat, before gently rolling into the bread crumbs until completely covered and then set aside 12. Pour approximately 3cm of oil into a deep pan and carefully bring to a temperature of 170°C (use a thermometer for guidance). Gently cook the arancini balls in the hot oil for approximately 1-2 minutes each, until golden in colour

10. Remove from the oil and drain on kitchen towel to remove excess oil

Serve warm with your choice of dip

Tom Aikens’ braised venison stew – the Michelin-starred chef’s exclusive Winter Warmer recipe using Stella Artois beer

Ingredients: 1kg ready diced venison haunch 5g salt 2g crushed black pepper 150ml vegetable oil  40g butter 100g flour 4 carrots peeled and diced to 0.5cm 200g peeled button onions  150g halved button mushrooms 150g diced celery 0.5cm 2 bay leaves 120g frozen cranberries 50g red currant jelly 4g thyme leaf 200ml cranberry juice  20g tomato paste 300ml Stella Artois Beer 500ml chicken stock 20g flour

Serves:  6         Preparation time: 20 minutes     Cooking time: 3 hours 30 minutes     

Braised VenisonMethod: 
1. Preheat oven  to 170C, season the meat with 3g salt, pepper and then rub in the flour (regard any excess flour)

2. Place a large flat casserole pan on to a medium high heat with the oil, when it is hot slowly add the meat but not all at once as it could splash

3. Cook the meat till golden brown for about 5-8 minutes, turning the meat around the pan occasionally it browns all over

4. Turn the heat off then remove the meat from the pan by using a spider or a large slotted spoon and place on to a clean tray

5. Turn the casserole pan on to a medium heat, then add the butter – when, melted add the carrots, celery, thyme, bay leaf,  salt and cook for 8-10 minutes until golden, stirring now and again

6. Add the onions, mushrooms and cook for a further 6-8 minutes.

7. Place the venison back into the pan along with the beer, reduce this by half then add the stock, red currant jelly, cranberries, tomato paste and turn the heat up to bring to a simmer

8. Skim off any build-up on the surface and cover with a sheet of parchment paper and lid, then place into the oven and cook for 1 hour 45 minutes, until the meat is tender. Check every 30 minutes to give a stir and add more stock if needed.

9. Serve with mashed potato and some roast parsnips

You can watch the recipe video at
Roasted squash soup with tortillas

Ingredients:  1 x squash (approx 900g), peeled and deseeded  3 tbsp olive oil  1 ½ tbsp fresh chopped rosemary  2 tsp fresh thyme leaves  2 cloves garlic, chopped  1 Lt vegetable or chicken stock  150g cream cheese,  tortilla chips and Gruyere cheese, to serve
Serves:  4  Prep: 30 mins plus rising  Cook: 30 mins  
Method :

Squash soup1. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan190C/Gas 6. Cut the squash into even sized chunks and place in a large roasting tin with the olive oil, rosemary, thyme and garlic. Stir to coat and roast for 35 minutes, stirring once during cooking.

2. Remove the squash from the oven and place in a saucepan with any pan juices and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Using a food processor or blender blend the squash in batches, if necessary, until smooth. Add the cream cheese and blend until smooth.

3. Return the soup to a saucepan and reheat. Spoon into bowls and scatter over tortilla chips and grated cheese.

Calories per portion: 410 Cost per portion: £1.37 !

Risotto_2Pumpkin, tomato and chive risotto

Ingredients:  525g squash  5 tbsp olive oil  1/2 bunch sage leaves, shredded  1 Lt chicken or vegetable stock  1 onion, chopped  2 cloves garlic, chopped  350g Arborio rice  300ml dry white wine  1x 150g packet Boursin  1 x 50g packet wild rocket leaves, handful finely chopped tomatoes and chives
Serves: 4  Prep: 15 mins  Cook: 30 mins  

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/fan190C/Gas 6. Cut the pumpkin into even sized small chunks and place in a large roasting tin with 3 tbsp of the olive oil and sage. Stir to coat and roast for 25 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally during cooking, until squash is tender.

2. Meanwhile bring the stock to the boil in a pan. Reduce heat, cover and simmer. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion and garlic for 5 minutes, until softened. Add the rice and stir until coated. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil, stirring until absorbed. Stir in a ladle spoon of the simmering stock, cooking and stirring over a low heat until absorbed. Continue adding the stock in ladlefuls, stirring, until all liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.

3. Stir the Boursin tomato, onion & chive into the risotto until smooth and creamy and simmer for a further 3 minutes. Divide between warm serving plates. Remove the squash from the oven and divide between the risotto , spooning over the top with pan juices. Top with rocket leaves and serve.
Calories per portion: 721 Cost per portion: £1.93     

Garlic & Herb Gratin Dauphinois This creamy potato dish pairs perfectly with roast lamb
Ingredients:  25g butter 2 leeks, shredded 1.4 kg large King Edward or Maris Piper potatoes, peeled 3 cloves garlic, chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper 150g Garlic & Herb Cream Cheese 250ml single cream 200ml milk 50g Gruyere cheese, grated
Serves: 4 – 6  Prep: 20mins  Cook: 2hrs 5mins     

Garlic & herb gratin dauphiniose_31. Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C Fan/ Gas 4. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the leeks for five minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.

2. Meanwhile thinly slice the potatoes. Layer the potatoes, leeks and garlic in a two litre oven proof dish finishing with potatoes and seasoning well between the layers.

3. In a bowl mix together the cream cheese and half the cream until smooth, then blend in the remaining cream and milk. Pour over the potatoes evenly and scatter over the Gruyere cheese.

4. Cover with foil and bake for 1 ½ hours. Uncover and bake for a further 30 minutes, until golden and  the potatoes are tender.

Calories per portion, serving 6: 468 Cost per portion, serving 6: £1.20  
Beef & Ale Casserole With Black Pepper Dumplings  A winter-warming dish the whole family will enjoy
Ingredients: 2 tbsp plain flour, Salt and freshly ground black pepper, 950g braising beef – cubed, 4 tbsp olive oil 250g shallots 2 cloves chopped garlic, 200g trimmed Chantenay carrots, 2 parsnips – cut into chunks, 250g swede – cut into chunks, 2 tbsp tomato puree 500ml ale,  200ml good beef stock, 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly, 1 bay leaf, 2 tbsp fresh chopped thyme, 50g butter 200g self-raising flour, 100g Black Pepper Cream Cheese, 2 tbsp fresh chopped mixed herbs, e.g. parsley, sage and thyme Sprigs of fresh thyme, to garnish
Serves: 4             Prep: 25 mins           Cook: 2 hrs 50mins   


Black Pepper beef & ale casserole1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ 140C Fan/ Gas 3. Mix together the plain flour and seasoning in a large plastic bag or bowl. Add the beef and toss to coat evenly. Heat half the oil in an ovenproof casserole dish and sauté the beef, in batches, over a high heat for about five minutes, stirring occasionally until golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

2. Add the remaining oil and sauté the shallots for five minutes, until golden. Add the garlic and carrots and sauté for two minutes. Stir in the parsnips, swede, tomato puree, ale, stock, redcurrant jelly, bay leaf, thyme and reserved beef and juices. Season and bring to the boil. Cover and bake for two hours.

3. Using your fingertips, rub together the butter and self-raising flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in small pieces of Boursin Black Pepper and rub in together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the mixed herbs, seasoning and enough cold water to form a soft dough. Divide into eight pieces and roll into balls.

4. Remove the casserole from the oven, uncover and arrange the dumplings on top. Cover and bake for a further 20-30 minutes, until the dumplings are cooked. Garnish with sprigs of fresh thyme and serve.
Calories per portion: 749  Cost per portion: £4.00  
Ham & leek pie_4Ham, Leek, Garlic & Herb Pies Delicious deep-filled pies, packed full of flavour
Ingredients:  For the pastry: 200g plain flour Pinch of salt 100g butter 1 egg yolk
For the filling: 50g butter 3 medium leeks, thickly sliced 1 tsp English mustard powder 2 tbsp plain flour 300ml good quality chicken stock Salt and freshly ground black pepper 150g Boursin Garlic & Herb 2 tbsp fresh chopped mixed herbs 350g cooked ham, cut into bite size pieces 1 egg, beaten
Serves: 4  Prep: 30 mins plus cooling & chilling  Cook: 1 hr  

1. To make the pastry, sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Rub in the butter using your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the egg yolk and four tablespoon s of cold water until the mixture forms a firm dough. Knead lightly on a lightly floured work surface. Cover with cling film and chill  for 30 minutes.

2. For the filling, melt the butter in a large pan and cook the leeks for five to ten minutes, until softened. Using a slotted spoon transfer the leeks to a plate and set aside.

3. Stir in the mustard and flour into the pan juices and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually blend in the stock and Boursin Garlic & Herb. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring until thickened. Remove from the heat and season to taste. Stir in the herbs and leeks, cover with cling film and allow to cool. Stir in the ham, before spooning into 4 x 300ml  individual pie dishes.

4. Divide the pastry into four and roll each out on a lightly floured work surface 2cm larger than each pie. Brush the edges of the pie dishes with water. Cut a strip of pastry from each pastry circle and lay on the edge of the dish. Brush with water and top each dish with a circle of pastry pressing the pastry together to seal and trim. Flute the edges and using a sharp knife cut a steam hole in the centre of the pies. Cover and chill for one hour.

5. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 190C/ 170C Fan/ Gas 5. Brush the pastry with beaten egg and bake for 35 – 40 minutes, until well risen and golden.

Calories per portion: 756  Cost per portion: £2.04 

Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!


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