Friday, 9 July 2010

Mid-Winter Warmers

Posted by Bel
from Spiral Garden

Here in the southern hemisphere we're in the midst of winter. Depending on location - this could mean quite mild weather, or "real" winter with snow and ice and cold toes!

What I love about winter is the warm, nourishing foods. Here are a few of my favourite winter meals...

Baked Lima Beans

500g dry lima beans
800g tin diced tomatoes
2 medium onions, chopped finely
1/3 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups hot water
2 tblspn fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp dried herbs
salt and pepper to taste

Soak the lima beans overnight. Rinse and simmer in fresh water for 50 minutes. Heat a little oil and saute onion. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes. Mix with rinsed beans and place in lightly greased baking dish. Bake uncovered at 170 degrees C for 30 minutes.

This recipe makes a lot and freezes well. Serve with crusty bread and salad or steamed vegetables. Very hearty!

Italian Lentils

This makes a lot - so it's great to feed a crowd, or to freeze half for another meal. This would be great with pasta, as a pie filling, as a topping for jacket potatoes or served with mashed potato and steamed vegies.
3 cloves of giant Russian garlic, chopped finely
brown onions, diced
2 cups red lentils, rinsed
3 cups water with 1 tbspn Vegetable stock powder (Massel)
2 heaped tbsn tomato paste
3 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
400g mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp dried Tuscan herbs
fresh ground black pepper
olive oil

Saute onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Put all ingredients into slow cooker. Stir. Cook on high for a couple of hours, checking that the lentils are softening. When lentils are the right texture, turn to low.

Vegetable & Chickpea Stew

2 x 400g tins diced tomatoes
1 tblsp olive oil
2 large brown onions, diced
4 celery sticks, finely sliced
*I use leaves too, fresh from the garden
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 tsp sweet paprika
1kg pumpkin, peeled & cut into 2cm cubes
3 medium zucchini, cut into 1cm thick slices
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, drained & rinsed
500ml water with 3 tblspn Massel stock powder

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and celery, and saute for a few minutes. Add garlic, ginger and paprika and cook, stirring, for a further minute.

Place tomatoes, pumpkin, zucchini, chickpeas and stock/water mix into slow cooker. Add sauted ingredients. Stir well and cover. Cook on high for a couple of hours or until vegetables are tender and sauce has thickened. Turn to “Keep Warm” or “Low” until it’s time to serve.

Serve with rice and steamed greens on the side, this makes enough for the eight of us and two containers for the freezer, so it's another recipe for many!

And for dessert...


2 eggs
1 tbspn cornflour
3 cups milk
3 tbspn sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix and whisk first 3 ingredients in a saucepan. Place onto heat and keep whisking until it becomes thick and creamy. Take off the heat and add sugar and vanilla and whisk through. Don’t add sugar whilst on the heat or custard will stick to the pan.

You can add cocoa to make chocolate custard or add cinnamon or other spices for a different flavour.

I used to think that homemade custard would be lumpy or eggy-tasting or otherwise unacceptable. No idea why I thought that, but this is smooth, creamy and delish!