When it’s cold and wet outside, I like to cook warming and wholesome foods.
I love recipes that I can bake in the oven, filling my kitchen with wonderful aromas, whilst also freeing up my hands to get on with other things.
Here are two of my absolute favourite winter-warmer recipes:
Salty Baked Potatoes with Yogurt and Fresh Herbs.
These baked potatoes are great on their own or with a citrus-dressed salad.
6 medium-sized floury potatoes
Flaked sea salt
Plain Greek yogurt, butter, and fresh herbs (chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oven to 200ᵒC (180ᵒC for fan assisted), gas mark 6.
Scrub the potatoes, and prick them all over with a fork.
While they are still damp, sprinkle them with the sea salt; this will give them a nice crispy skin.
Put the potatoes carefully onto a baking sheet, and make sure that they are not touching each other.
Bake for 60-90 minutes.
After an hour or so, test to see if the potatoes are ready. To do this, simply press them: they should give a little and feel soft.
Make a cross on the top of each potato with a sharp knife—and then, holding the potato in clean tea towel, firmly squeeze the potato so that it open at all four points.
Season with salt and pepper.
Place a knob of butter in each potato and a dollop of Greek yogurt.
Sprinkle with freshly chopped herbs.
This is a great winter supper dish on its own, but also works well accompanied by salad or with a selection of buttered seasonal vegetables.
2 large butternut squashes, halved lengthwise and deseeded
1 Tbsp olive oil
200g long-grain rice
50g salted butter
1 medium red onion, finely diced
50g unsalted cashew nuts, roughly chopped
½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
½ tsp fresh rosemary
50g Gorgonzola cheese, cubed
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Juice of 1 fresh lemon
Heat the oven to 200ᵒC ( 180ᵒC fan oven) gas mark 6.
Place the squash in a roasting tin, and drizzle with the olive oil and seasoning.
Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until tender.
Place the rice in a pan with 400mL water.
Bring to the boil, then cover the pan with a lid, and cook gently for 10 minutes.
Drain, and set aside to allow the steam to escape.
Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan, and fry the onion until softened. Add the rice, herbs, and nuts.
Scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash, being careful to leave enough flesh to hold the shape of the shell.
Return the scooped out squashes to their roasting tin.
Chop the scooped out flesh, and stir into the rice mixture—then, add the lemon juice.
Carefully spoon the mixture into the shells, and top with Gorgonzola.
Return to the oven for 10 minutes; and then, serve immediately.
Both of these dishes are simple to prepare and are good on cold winter nights. They work well as stand-alone dishes, served together, or as accompaniments to other dishes.