January is a perfect month to embrace Winter and get stuck into warming and comforting food. We are meant to slow down around this time and feel the hibernation vibes.
Soup is always an amazing, nutritious meal that should be on everyone’s menu. Packed full of goodness, vitamins and a chance to beat the nasty viruses, this food can be made and used up throughout the week.
I spoke to a few friends who are foodies and they gave a Winter recipe that they love this time of year. We have a few soup recipes and a fab baking one at the end from Morello’s Cakery.
Carrot And Parsnip Soup Darragh’s Favourite
Darragh Gray is a regular writer for Southsea Folk. He loves food, wine and theatre as well as travelling and exploring the South Coast.
This simple recipe provides a great base to work from and I like the mix of carrot and parsnip, but it also works perfectly well with parsnips only.
I don’t bother with the celery, and thyme is optional – so don’t worry if you don’t have these to hand.
To make a flavourful stock, I use one ham and one chicken stock cube – and I also like to add a little cream (around 150ml is perfect) and reduce the volume of stock accordingly.
(For a vegan soup, just use vegan cream and stick with vegetable stock).
To add some spice, I use one chopped medium chilli, along with pinches of curry powder and turmeric, but you can use whatever you prefer and have to hand.
Homemade Minestrone Soup by Mary Berry Lou’s Favourite
Lou is the editor of Southsea Folk and loves food, culture and art.
What I love about making minestrone is you can add as much veg as you like or take away what you don’t like.
I don’t like the celery in it so I don’t add that and I sometimes mix up what cabbage I want in it. I always add cannellini beans and sometimes others too to bulk it out. Although it takes a good 30 mins to make, this will feed a whole family and can be kept in the fridge for days. You can make it gluten-free by adding GF stock and adding your own pasta.
I always add an extra bit of garlic as that is virus-busting during this time of the year when so many bugs are about. I also like to swap out the tinned tomatoes for passata as it makes the liquid go further.
Serve with crusty French bread, a dollop of grated parmesan on top and a sprinkle of black pepper.
Oven Baked Risotto Lou’s Love
This is Lou the editor of SF and one of her favourite recipes.
This recipe has been my absolute go-to for the whole of 2023. It is comforting and just delicious.
I swap out the tomatoes and bacon and add chicken and mushrooms instead. You can add the chicken just after cooking your onions. I then add the mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes before adding the white wine. I like to add Hendersons relish to my onions for a real depth of flavour.
You can add whatever you want to adapt it to your taste. You can make it all vegetarian or vegan. I like to use lots of different mushrooms which brings a huge amount of flavour. I like to add parmesan into the liquid and then add at the end.
I usually use 250g of rice to around 590g of liquid. I like to use an old French pot with a lid and it always cooks lovely. I usually cook mine with the above liquid amount for around 35 minutes and stir it halfway through cooking.
This usually takes around 10 mins on the hob before transferring to the oven so perfect for a weeknight meal when you are tired and have been busy.
Tomato and Red Pepper Soup – Drunken Chef Favourite
The Drunken Chef has stormed the local Portsmouth food scene with her brilliant videos. Betty loves food and attends so many local foodie cooking classes.
It’s easy and simple to make…
First fry up the onion to soften and sweeten them, add garlic and cook for a further minute.
Add in the tomatoes, potatoes, peppers
chop and put everything into a big pot with water, boil it up to a good simmer for 25mins to soften the peppers, stir
Add in boiled hot water to speed up the cooking time and gently simmer for 20-25 mins.
Blitz with a hand blender till smooth and serve with some warm crusty bread.
2 tins of whole plum tomatoes
1 tin of baby potatoes
1 medium onion diced
2-3 Finely chopped garlic cloves
3-4 roughly chopped Red peppers
Optional: 1 large scoop Pea protein to thicken it up
1-2 Chicken stock cubes
Tbsp of my homemade chilli sauce for heat
Tips: you can pour a small pot of single cream in to richen up the soup
If you feel it tastes a bit too sweet, add a splash of white vinegar or Worcestershire sauce for acidity.
I put some chopped chives and fresh cracked black pepper over everything to finish it off!
Sticky Toffee Cake – Morello’s Cakery Favourite
Morello’s Cakery is a local bakery that offers sweet treats including vegan, and vegetarian. Nicola regularly has market stands selling cakes and provides bakery delights to local independent businesses dotted around Portsmouth.
400g chopped dates
480ml hot tea
250g light brown sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
200g melted butter
2 tsp mixed spice (chai spice)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
350g self-raising flour
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
100g light brown sugar
50g dark brown sugar
2 tblsp golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
125g double cream or condensed milk
250g butter (I use salted but either will work)
500g sieved icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Fudge or toffee pieces to decorate
For the cake:
- Grease and line 2 x 9″ cake tins
- Set the oven for 160 degrees fan or 175 degrees non-fan
- Pour just boiled tea over dates in heat safe bowl, and cover with clingfilm while preparing other ingredients
- Whisk together eggs, syrup and sugar in an electric mixer until pale and fluffy
- Remove tea bag from dates mix then blitz until smooth in a food processor
- Whisk melted butter and vanilla into egg mix
- Sieve together dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, salt & spices)
- Gradually fold dry ingredients and dates into the egg mixture gently, alternating between each one until everything is mixed well
- Place mixture into cake tins and bake for around 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean
For the sauce:
- Put all ingredients except the cream in a pan on a medium heat
- Stir until sugar has dissolved
- Turn up the heat until the sauce starts to boil
- Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the cream
- Drizzle one-third of the sauce over warm sponges, saving the rest for buttercream and decoration
For the buttercream & decoration:
- Beat together softened butter, vanilla and icing sugar in an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy
- Fold in around one-third of the cooled caramel sauce
- Remove one layer of the cake from the tin and place onto a plate
- Scoop around half the buttercream onto the cake and smooth out with a palette knife, then drizzle with a little sauce
- Place the second sponge on top and repeat the process with the buttercream and the rest of the sauce
- Decorate with fudge or toffee pieces and enjoy!
Tip: A tin or jar of caramel sauce works just as well if you don’t want to make the sauce ????