With the cold weather now here, it is important to not only wrap up warm but also to eat foods that will keep you warm inside too. I try to make a lot in advance and freeze so that when this horrible weather approaches, I can simply get a lovely warming meal out of the freezer and reheat it without having to stand cooking for hours on end. I love cooking from fresh as you can see from posts I have written in the past like Cooking for Children and many more I have done.
Stews are so simple to make. It is basically just throwing everything you want included into the oven dish and cooking on a low heat, slowly. We usually have a beef stew or corned beef hash (both of which can be froze afterwards) and chuck in peas, carrots, potatoes and then different variants of veg depending on what's in season but usually go for the ones that hold together well under intense cooking. So easy to make and lovely and warming on a cold day.
Dishes such as lasagne or spaghetti bolognaise are also great for these winter months too. Bolognaise is easy to make, frying the mince, adding the sauce (I usually use pasata and then add a few herbs or chunky veg) and then dolloping on cooked spaghetti afterwards.
Lasagne is harder though and is my favourite dish. Lasagne is all about layers and being in the correct order. Like the bolognaise, you fry the mince and add the red sauce (pasata with herbs as above) but then you also need to make a white or bechemel sauce.
I hate making bechamel sauce as it's all a case of mixing, mixing, mixing and not letting it go lumpy. The basic recipe though is to melt 50g of butter in a pan, mix in 50g of flour until it's a paste and then slowly add 1 litre of milk a bit at a time and make sure it mixes in well. Never stop whisking though as it will go lumpy. Once all the milk is added and mixed in, take off the heat and season to taste.
Then layer up, mince first then a pasta sheet and then the bechamel sauce. Do then until your oven dish is full and then top with cheese and cook for about 50 minutes (or until brown and bubbling) in the oven.
No, I don't mean chips and such but different dishes you can make with potatoes. In these cold months I like to make Dauphinoise potatoes a lot as they are yummy but are also warming and filling too. It is super easy to make too.
Thinly slice potatoes and then we start layering (I do like a bit of layering) I grate garlic into double cream and then layer some of the potatoes into an oven dish then pour over some cream (remember to season as yo go too) and keep doing this till the dish is full with potatoes being the last layer and then cook in the oven for about an hour. Note: I sometimes add a little cheese to the top too to make it extra yummy!
Then there are other versions such as Savoyarde Tartiflette which is similar to dauphinoise potatoes apart from you would be adding bacon and white wine to the mix too so make it extra sumptuous.
What ever you decide to make this winter time, make sure you keep wrapped up warm, enjoy the time making your own meals and never be afraid to try adding those little extra ingredients to make it extra special.
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