Winter warmers

  • I'm rapt to share this recipe from Wholefood Alchemist Jules McKie. As she says, "I love sweet potato and this is one of my favourite go-to-recipes. It’s quick, easy and an absolute crowd-pleaser.
  • I love barley, especially in winter, when those nutty, wholesome grains call to me with a song of nourishment, fortification and cosiness. Orzo is Italian for 'barley' and when you make a risotto with it, it’s called orzotto. It's a specialty of the north-eastern part of Italy close to Venice. Orzotto is as versatile as risotto so think of this as a base recipe that you can adapt, just as you would risotto. It’s a great ‘bottom of the fridge’ meal.
  • In Japan, mochi are soft, round snack-sized pucks, usually made from pounded glutinous rice, sometimes stuffed with bean paste or jellied fruit. Mochi are usually sweet but savoury ones are great too. Award-winning chef Michael Ryan's delicious version achieves the distinctive pillowy mochi texture by using whipped potatoes and a little potato starch.
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    In its most simple form, this is a yoghurt soup that’s thickened with rice. In the traditional version, chickpeas are incorporated into the soup - I’ve turned them into a golden topping instead, brightened with kale and chilli. I get really excited about reworking simple ingredients for new pleasures. The components of this dish are humble and modest but each finds new potential in this recipe, and thus new opportunity for diner pleasure.
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    A slow-cooked, succulent stew with central European flavours. It’s hearty and honest, simple and sustaining and I always think of my Hungarian grandmother when I eat it.
  • My version of this curry classic pays homage to the original 1950s Delhi version but it's super easy and quick. The flavour of the curry powder is key to this dish - its worth making my vadouvan curry powder but any good blend will do the trick.
  • Everybody needs a simple chicken soup in their repertoire: this one is warming, sustaining, nurturing and nourishing. Steaming a whole chicken in the Varoma is brilliant for all kinds of reasons. Firstly, the chicken juices drip over the vegetables and into the mixing bowl, flavouring everything and forming a healthy broth at the same time. Steamed chicken also remains incredibly juicy. It’s a really clean way to cook too, with very little mess to deal with at the end – love you, Thermomix!
  • Do you ever have those "OMG I forgot to make dinner!" moments? Wouldn’t it be good to have a healthy pantry meal always on hand that you could get on the table in 20 minutes? This is that dish. It's also gluten-free, grain-free, vegan and super tasty!
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    Harissa is a delicious north African roasted pepper and spice paste. It's the flavoursome dollop that can also be served as a dip, a condiment for grilled meats or baked eggs, or a delicious drizzle for roast potatoes.  Thin your harissa with olive oil and you’ve got a wonderful salad dressing or marinade too.