Winter Warmers
Winter Warmers

Try These Classic Winter Warmers

There's nothing better for beating the winter chill than hearty comfort food. Turn up the heat with these favourite winter warmers and modern twists on classic recipes.

1. Easy pumpkin soup
Delicious and nutritious, the mighty pumpkin is king of the winter vegetables, even if you don't serve it fresh. You can cut down on preparation time for pumpkin soup by using canned condensed soup as a base.

Ingredients
750g frozen pumpkin
1 can potato and leek soup
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup water
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tbsp sour cream
2 teaspoons cumin
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Chives for topping

Directions
Coat the pumpkin pieces on all sides with maple syrup and cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a preheated oven at 220°C for 20 minutes or until golden, turning once.

Heat the soup, stock and water until boiling, then add the roasted pumpkin and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and blend until smooth, then simmer again for 5 minutes and serve.


2. Chorizo pasta bake
Swap tuna and vegetables for spicy chorizo in this easy pasta bake.

Ingredients
400g penne
250g sliced chorizo
100g baby rocket leaves
1 jar pasta sauce
2/3 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil

Directions
Cook the pasta while frying the chorizo on high heat for 3 minutes or until brown. Add the chorizo and sauce to the drained pasta and mix until coated, then transfer to a deep baking tray and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and grated cheese.

Grill for 5 minutes or until the surface is golden. Add rocket leaves and olive oil and serve.

3. Garden vegetable pies
These bite-sized pies are packed with vitamins and ideal for kids.

Ingredients
5 sheets frozen pastry
8 carrots
1 cob corn
1 egg
600g potatoes
150g Brussels sprouts
150ml thick cream
2 cloves garlic
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup frozen peas

Directions
Cut 6 pie bases from 3 pastry sheets, fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice and bake for 10 minutes in a preheated oven at 180°C. Remove the weights or rice and continue baking for another 8 minutes or until the pie bases are golden.

Remove the corn kernels, peel and chop the potatoes and strip 2 carrots, setting 6 carrots aside for later. Simmer all the vegetables until tender while heating a mixture of cream and garlic, then combine and mash the vegetable mixture until smooth. Add cheese and seasoning, then transfer the mixture to the pie bases.

Cut 6 pie tops from the remaining pastry sheets, coat with beaten egg and seal the pies, making a small hole in the top of each for the heat to escape. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden, then push one boiled, whole carrot into each pie before serving.

4. Mulled wine
Winter warmers aren't limited to food, and mulled wine is the perfect fit for winter evenings.

Ingredients
750ml red wine
4 cloves
4 strips orange rind
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean
1 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp orange liqueur

Directions
Combine the water, cinnamon, cloves, orange rind, sugar and vanilla in a saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil, then let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes before pouring in the wine and bringing to the boil again.

Add optional liqueur for extra flavour and serve in heatproof glasses.