For many of use the it is bitterly cold right now with northerly winds increasing the chill factor. Meanwhile, Carol Taylor is experiencing much warmer temperatures in her home in Thailand, and not just because of the weather, but because she is toiling away in her kitchen to bring us something to warm the cockles of our hearts… I will hand you over to Carol to do just that…
I know many of you are in the throes of some seriously cold weather and what you need is something which keeps you warm…
There is nothing better before you go out to brave the cold than a lovely bowl of hot porridge…This is where the slow cooker comes in handy I used to put my porridge on before I went to bed and it was ready in the morning…Hubby was first up so he had his bowl and as the kids appeared they had theirs. The beauty of making the porridge in the slow cooker is that it doesn’t burn and it means you have no pans to scrub clean and it doesn’t matter what time the family get up it is ready and waiting for them… Hot and delicious…
I used to love mine with some fruit compote…I just used to cook some frozen mixed berries with a little honey until it had reduced nicely and it kept in the fridge for about a week…I would then have a couple of spoonfuls with my porridge.
This kept me going until lunch time.
Lunch…Would either be a jacket potato or a bowl of soup…
To cook a jacket potato:
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminium foil.
Scrub the potato clean under water, dry it with a towel, and then poke a few holes through to the centre of it with a fork.
Bake the potato for one hour or until tender.
Slice into it, fluff it up inside with a fork, and then add butter, salt, and pepper and filling of your choice.
Toppings for Jacket Potatoes:
If you have made a pan of chili and have some left over freeze in portions just enough to top a jacket potato… Or add some grated cheese and Beans or caramalise some onions and mushrooms. These are toppings which can go into a container and are quick and easy for you to heat up at work and add to your potato…
My favourite one when we were kids was a corned beef jacket potato my mum used to remove the flesh from the potato mash it with some butter and corn beef return it to the potato skin and cook it in the oven until the top was lightly browned we used to love them.
Soup can be made in advance and again can be taken to work and reheated or if you are at home it doesn’t take long to heat up…There is nothing better on a cold day than a nice mug or bowl of hot soup.
This soup is quick and easy to make either using lentils or I used to buy a soup pack of mixed lentils and add to soup this soup has a little kick to it to warm you up and can be served with some nice fresh crusty bread for a more substantial lunch. It is also lovely with some cooked bacon hock my kids used to love it and still remind me of how they remember me making it.
Spiced lentil soup.
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 large red onion, diced
• 4 stalks celery, diced
• 1 large carrot or two medium size carrots, diced
• 5 cloves garlic, minced
• 26 ounces/737g fresh tomatoes, chopped – you can also use a 28oz can diced tomatoes and drain the liquid
• 1 cup dried brown lentils, picked over, rinsed and dried
• 1 tbsp garam masala or curry powder
• salt & pepper to taste
• 6 cups vegetable broth
• 2-3 sprigs thyme, to be removed at the end
• 1 cup kale, roughly chopped
• Juice of two limes, about 2 tablespoons, squeezed over.
- Heat half the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat add the onions, celery, carrot and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes until the onions are softened.
- Add the tomatoes, lentils, garam masala stir together and season with salt and pepper. Pour in the vegetable stock, add the thyme bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer cook for about 30 minutes or until the lentils are cooked.
- Remove the thyme and remove about two cups of the soup mix and blend then return to the soup mix, add the kale and lime juice and stir to combine.
- This soup will keep in the fridge for about 4-5 days and is ideal to take to work in a container as it can be heated up quickly.
For the evening this meat free soup makes a tasty meal if you prefer some meat maybe add some chicken thighs for a lighter, healthier casserole just fry them off when you cook the onions. Myself I used to enjoy a tasty vegetable stew on a cold winters evening.
Beer Casserole with mustard dumplings.
• 125 gm pearl barley
• 2 tbsp oil
• 500 gm baby onions
• 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
• 3 tbsp of flour
• 250 ml of homemade vegetable stock
• 500 ml bottle pale ale
• 1 small Swede ( about 450 gm) cut into cubes
• 3 carrots chopped
• 4 sticks of celery chopped
• 350 gm potatoes halved if small or cut into 4
• 1 bouquet garni…
• 250 gm self raising flour
• 100 gm shredded vegetable suet
• 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
• 3 tbsp chopped parsley.
- Rinse and drain the pearly barley, put in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and cook for 30 minutes, adding more water if required.
- Meanwhile heat the oven 180 C fan, 160C and Gas 4
- Heat the oil in a flame proof casserole and add the onions cook for 3-4 mins…stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min.
- Sprinkle the flour and cook for 1 min. gradually stir in the stock and ale and bring to the boil.
- Rinse and drain the pearl barley then stir into the casserole also add the Swede, carrots, celery, potatoes and bouquet garni.
- Season and then bring to the boil reduce the heat and cook for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile make the dumplings, sift the flour into a bowl then stir in the suet, mustard and parley, season and add 100 ml of water mix…It should form a soft dough.
- Remove the casserole from the oven and remove the bouquet garni, place 12 spoonfuls of the dumpling mix in the casserole return to the oven and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes.
- Serve with wedges of steamed Savoy cabbage.
Or if you prefer fish this lovely fish pie is nice and warming it can be made in one dish or in individual ramekins.
For the mashed potato topping.
• 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
• 2 tablespoons butter, zest of 1 lemon
• Salt & Pepper to taste.
For the fish pie filling.
• 500ml (2 cups) milk
• 1 bay leaf
• 200g frozen hake fillets.
• 200g frozen smoked haddock fillets.
• 300g fresh uncooked prawns ( peeled)
• 2 onions sm or one large finely chopped.
• 1 carrot, finely chopped.
• 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
• 3 tbsp flour.
• 1 heaped tsp English mustard.
• 40g (1/2 cup) mature cheddar, grated.
• Juice of half lemon.
• Salt & pepper to taste.
- Place potatoes in a large pot of boiling water or in a steamer and cook until soft. Mash the potatoes then mix in the butter and the lemon zest. Season to taste.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
- To make the fish pie, poach the fish (not the prawns) in the milk with the bay leaf. When the fish is cooked, remove the fish and flake into large chunks. Reserve the milk.
- In a large, oven-proof frying pan fry the onion and carrot in a splash of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
- Add the flour and stir then add the milk the fish was poached to create a creamy sauce.
- Add the English mustard and fish including prawns and stir well then add the cheese and lemon juice and stir.
- Season to taste.
- Top the fish filling with the mashed potato and create indents with a spoon which will become nice and crispy in the oven.
- Place the pie in the oven and allow to bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.
- Remove from the oven and allow cooling for 10 minutes then serving.
Note: I don’t cook the prawns with the fish but add prawns right at the end when adding cooked fish to sauce this way the prawns will be lovely and succulent.
My thanks to Carol for these winter warmers and it has certainly given me some ideas for this week.
About Carol Taylor
Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.
I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.
Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.
Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!
Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology: https://www.amazon.com/Phuket-Island-Writers-Anthology-Stories-ebook/dp/B00RU5IYNS
Connect to Carol
You can find all of the previous posts in the directory – Carol Taylor Food Column
We would love to hear from you… perhaps you can share your favourite winter warmer? Thanks Sally