A well-qualified, full time freelance writer in food & lifestyle, I believe in living life to the full. I combine a long food history (including owning an award-winning restaurant) with a passion for inspiring, powerful writing. Feel free to contact.
Published July 2nd 2012
Are you hungry for grits that stick to your ribs? Or simply some wholesome winter warmers to soothe tummies, tastebuds and moods? Look no further. Here are three super-simple winter warming recipes.
1) Wholesome Oats Get My Vote: I'm calling them 'oats', not 'porridge' with good reason. According to my daughter, 'porridge' sounds a bit old-fashioned and (please forgive me, porridge lovers) sludgy. 'Oats', however, are more in, especially amongst the gym junkies. So be it. If we need to tailor our vocab to help them eat the good stuff, who's arguing.
For those in need of wheatfree or gluten free oats, Wheatfree is where you need to be.
Here's a quick, simple oats recipe, Julia style (no measurements; gut instinct switched on).
1) Oats are filling. Around half a cup (dry) is sufficient per adult serve. Mix a few serves with milk or water, making it quite a bit wetter than your desired consistency, as it'll absorb a lot of liquid. Of course, milk will make it creamier - and yummier.
2) Refrigerate until you need them, but for no longer than a couple of days. This gives the oats a chance to soften, making them quicker to cook and smoother and creamier to eat.
3) To cook, place in a saucepan on medium heat. Slowly bring to a light boil and simmer for a few minutes. Add more liquid if need be. (Sue at Toxin Free Future will explain why we shouldn't use microwaves. She'll also share her nutritious and delicious oats recipe using raw oat groats).
Oats with Kiwi Fruit & Tamarillo
4) Flavour with whatever takes your fancy: sugar, honey, cream (naughty!), cinnamon, fresh fruit, dried fruit, stewed fruit, or whatever's in your fridge or pantry that grabs your attention. Go nuts if you like. Oh, yes, of course, you can add nuts too.
Oats, of course, are also an ideal, low GI food. Here's what Dr Jo has to say about the best way to start your day.
2) A Big Whoop for Chicken Soup: A huge pot of chicken broth (or brodo) bubbling away on the stove is a winter essential. It promises endless delights, from a simple, heart-warming, giant mug of broth to a nutritious, delicious soup or meal in a bowl. (Simply add a handful of rice or noodles, desired vegies, and, if you like, thin slices of chicken or meat and a sprinkling of fresh herbs at the end. Of course, it can also be used as a stock for risottos, sauces and other dishes. Melissa's Mushroom & Rosemary Risotto recipe at Frugal Living will hit a nice warm winter spot - and help keep the budget in check.
This super-satisfying chicken broth recipe requires that you simply:
1) Fill a large pot three-quarters full with cold water.
2) Add chicken carcasses, or a whole chicken (so you get to eat all the yummy chicken too), or chicken pieces or wings. Please use free-range chook, such as Bannockburn Free Range. Bring to the boil and scoop out any scum that rises to the top.
3) Add a good lot of root vegies (excluding spuds), so think onions, carrots, celery, leek, swede, turnips, parsnips, fennel, etc. Rough chopped is fine as they'll be strained out later - and who has time for unnecessary chopping.
4) A good chicken soup recipe demands fresh herbs. Please don't reach for the dried stuff, most of which spoil food's natural flavour rather than enhance it. Use maybe parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves. A few peppercorns are fine. Salt is optional (though a must in my mind), but remember to adjust accordingly if using the broth as a base for another dish later.
NB: Fresh Herbs are so ridiculously easy to grow, even in the smallest of places, especially with a handy Herb Garden Kit. When it's as easy, cost-saving and fun as this, I'm not sure why people buy dried herbs, herb pastes in tubes or fresh herbs, use a sprig or two and then toss the rest out. If you'd like further help with herb growing, Herb Gardening Essentials offer a free, short online course.
5) Back to the broth. Bring to the boil, drop to a simmer with the lid on, while allowing a bit of a gap. Too big a gap and too high a heat will evaporate all your yummy broth. Skim the top as need be. I cook it out for two or three hours - or until the whole house is filled with such a delicious smell that the neighbours are jealous and sniffing around the outskirts of the property.
6) Strain, sip, suck the bones, share with friends, break into a healthy sweat, add stuff to make chicken soup, separate into containers if there's any left and freeze in the unlikely event that there's a surplus.
(Refrigerating or or freezing the broth makes any saturated fat rise to the top and coagulate for easy removal.)
Check out the Chicken Channel for excellent recipes, including a sensational Chicken Pho Vietnamese Broth.
3) Blissful Blancmange, pronounced 'blermonge', with a nice soft, sensual French accent and gentle 'g', not 'blankmange' Aussie slang style with mouth wide open and unattractive long 'a's' please.
Blancmange is a creamy custard that's usually poured into a mold, refrigerated and served cold. It can also be served hot straight from the pot or poured over biscuits or cake moistened with liqueur and/or coffee - perfect for winter.
While my earlier two recipes are easy enough to put together by simply using a bit of common sense regarding measurements, blancmange needs precise measurements. Otherwise, you might end up with something resembling the sludginess of porridge or the consistency of soup.
Need a little justification to indulge? I don't, but for those who do, chocolate is a warming or "yang" food. Given Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long, successful history spanning more than 5,000 years, who am I to argue?
Please don't post links to pseudoscience without research. If you look at the source material for the blog you will find it is from a Joe (Joseph) Mercola who has been continually discredited numerous times.
The below link is just one of many.