It’s that time of the year for cosy fires, warm blankets and comfort food. Here are two entrée, main and dessert ideas to keep your family warm this winter.
Pumpkin Soup with Caramelised Onion and Fried Chickpeas
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1kg butternut pumpkin, peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped
500g potatoes, peeled, coarsely chopped
4 cups (1L) chicken stock
1/3 cup (80ml) cream
2 brown onion, thinly sliced
400g can chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Torn Baguette, to serve
Heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 3 mins or until onion is tender. Add the pumpkin and potato and cook, stirring, for 2-3 mins or until well combined. Add the stock and 2 cups (500ml) water. Increase heat to high. Bring to the boil. Cook, covered, for 15 mins or until vegetables are tender.
Remove from heat. Use a stick blender to carefully blend until smooth. Return to medium heat. Stir in the cream. Season.
Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and chickpeas and cook, stirring, for 10 mins or until onion is golden brown. Add the brown sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring, for 2 mins or until onion and chickpeas are caramelised.
Divide the pumpkin soup among serving bowls. Top with the onion mixture. Season and serve with the bread.
Creamy Broccoli Soup with Parmesan Wafers
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 1/2 broccoli heads, cut into florets, stems chopped
1 Red Royale potato, peeled, chopped
4 cups (1L) salt-reduced chicken or vegetable stock
1 cup (120g) frozen peas
1/2 cup (125ml) thickened cream
1 1/2 cups (120g) finely grated parmesan
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 5 mins or until onion softens. Add the garlic and cook for 30 secs or until aromatic. Add the broccoli stems, potato and stock and bring to the boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 mins or until broccoli and potato are very tender.
Add the broccoli florets and peas to the pan. Bring to a simmer. Cook for 3-5 mins or until the vegetables are bright green and just tender. Remove from heat.
Use a stick blender to carefully blend until smooth. Add the cream and blend to combine. Season.
Meanwhile, to make the parmesan wafers, preheat oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine the parmesan and paprika in a large bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the lined tray. Season with pepper. Bake for 2 mins or until the parmesan melts and is golden. Set aside to cool. Break into pieces.
Ladle the soup evenly among serving bowls. Serve immediately with parmesan wafers.
Sausage and Potato Casserole with Garlic Bread
500g brushed potatoes, peeled, cut into 2cm pieces
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 brown onion, coarsely chopped
1 long red chilli, seeded, finely chopped (optional)
400g can Diced Tomatoes
1 cup (120g) frozen Peas
Garlic Bread Twin Pack
Cook the potato in a saucepan of boiling water for 10 mins or until tender. Drain well. Return to the pan.
Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add sausages and cook, turning, for 4-5 mins or until browned. Transfer to a plate. Set aside to cool. Cut into 3cm pieces.
Heat the remaining oil in the frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 mins or until onion begins to change colour. Add chilli, if using, and cook for 1 min or until aromatic. Add the tomato, potato and sausage. Fill the empty tomato can with water and add to the pan. Stir to combine. Bring to the boil.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 6-8 mins or until the sausage is cooked through. Add the peas and cook for 1 min or until heated through.
While the casserole is cooking, heat the garlic bread following packet directions. Serve with the casserole.
Cauliflower Mac and Cheese
1 small cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 cups (500ml) Full Cream Long Life Milk
2 tablespoons Dairy Soft Spread
1/4 cup (35g) plain flour
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (120g) shredded Tasty Cheese
1 cup (100g) shredded Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup chives, chopped
150g ciabatta or Turkish bread, torn into small pieces
60g Dairy Soft Spread, extra, melted
1 garlic clove, crushed
Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a 10-cup (2.5L) ovenproof dish. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling water for 3 mins. Add the cauliflower and cook for a further 8-10 mins or until pasta is al dente and cauliflower is tender. Drain. Return to pan.
Meanwhile, combine the milk, spread, flour and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, for 4-5 mins or until the mixture boils and thickens. Season. Combine the tasty cheese and mozzarella in a large bowl.
Add the sauce, half the chives and half the cheese mixture to the pasta mixture. Stir gently to combine. Pour into prepared dish. Toss the bread, extra spread, garlic, and remaining chives and cheese mixture in a medium bowl. Sprinkle over the pasta. Bake for 15-20 mins or until golden.
Golden Syrup Banana Bread Dumplings
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2/3 cup golden syrup
80g butter, chopped
2 cups water
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/3 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup golden syrup, extra
1/4 cup milk
1 medium banana, mashed
2 bananas, extra, sliced diagonally
Canola oil cooking spray
Vanilla ice-cream, to serve
Place 3/4 cup brown sugar, golden syrup, the water, cinnamon and half of the butter in a large saucepan. Stir over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 2 minutes.
Meanwhile, place flour in a bowl. Using fingertips, rub in butter. Stir in extra golden syrup, milk and mashed banana.
Drop level tablespoons of banana mixture into golden syrup mixture. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes or until dumplings are puffed and cooked through.
Meanwhile, spray a large frying pan with oil. Heat over medium heat. Sprinkle sliced banana with remaining brown sugar. Cook for 2 minutes each side or until golden.
Serve dumplings and sauce with caramelised banana and ice-cream.
1 3/4 cups (260g) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
185g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
1 tablespoon chilled water
1 tablespoon milk
Demerara sugar or caster sugar, to sprinkle
Ice-cream or cream, to serve
45g unsalted butter
1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
8 large Granny Smith apples
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sift flours and a pinch of salt into a large mixing bowl. Add butter and rub lightly into flour with your fingertips. Lift mixture high above the bowl as you rub, to incorporate air into the pastry and make it lighter. Continue until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir through sugar. Lightly beat 1 egg with 1 tablespoon chilled water, then drizzle over flour mixture. Start to bring the dough together by cutting the liquid into the dough with a blunt knife, then form into a smooth ball with your hands, adding a little more water if necessary. Divide dough into two pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 30 minutes.
To make the filling, peel and core the apples, and cut each into 8 pieces. Toss immediately with lemon juice in a large bowl, to prevent apples from discolouring. Place the butter and sugar in a large frypan over medium-low heat. When butter has melted, add apples and spices, then stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until apples have softened. Set aside to cool.
Roll out the larger pastry ball on a floured workbench to a 30cm circle (about 2mm thick). Roll pastry around rolling pin, then unroll over a 22cm metal pie dish. Gently press into corners and allow excess to overhang. Place filling in base with a slotted spoon. Roll the small pastry piece to a 25cm circle. Beat remaining egg with milk, brushing some on rim of the base. Top with small pastry.
Lift the pie dish and cut excess pastry from edges with a sharp knife. Crimp edges of pastry together the tail of a spoon. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 180C, place pie dish on a baking tray and cut air vents in the centre of the pie. Brush top of pie with more beaten egg, sprinkle with demerara or caster sugar and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
Serve warm or cold with ice-cream.