Posts Tagged ‘winter food’

Cauliflower au Gratin

Cauliflower au Gratin (aka Cauliflower Cheese) is always popular on a winter table. With cauliflower in season (and now affordable), it would be a shame not to make this at least once or twice while the weather is chilly. My version uses Gruyère cheese to make it extra special, but a mature cheddar would also be a good choice. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, try a smoked cheddar or even a flavoured cheese! Serve this as a side to any roast or winter dish like Braised Lamb Shanks or Osso Buco. You can vary the recipe by substituting some of all of the cauliflower with blanched broccoli or fennel (also both in season).

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Dutch Pea & Ham Soup (Erwtensoep)

Many years ago before I made food my career, I worked in the corporate world and my job took me to The Netherlands for a three year assignment. Yes, I survived three long winters (not to mention three pitiful summers). In fact, two of the three winters I spent there were so cold the canals of Amsterdam froze, and it was possible to ice skate from my front door!

To stay warm in these freezing temperatures, it was necessary to nourish oneself with plenty of hearty comfort food. This traditional Dutch winter soup certainly fulfils the brief: made with split peas, ham and packed full of vegetables, this soup is more like a stew. The Dutch claim that Erwtensoep should be so thick that you can stand a spoon upright in it!

All the vegetables used in this soup are in season and readily available at this time of the year, as are ham hocks. This is really a main-meal soup, as you are well and truly satisfied after a bowl of it. However, if you prefer to serve it as an entree, just serve small portions. Erwtensoep is traditionally served with addition of smoked sausage but this is optional.

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Braised Lamb Shanks

This is one of my favourite winter recipes when the temperatures get really chilly, as they did last weekend. Tender lamb, falling off the bone in a rich and tasty sauce of vegetables, wine and seasonings. Who can resist?

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Osso Buco with Gremolata

This morning the temperature fell to a single digit in Noosa (a chilly 9 Celcius) – a reminder that winter is not far away. At this time of the year at my place, salads and simple barbecue meals begin to get replaced by comfort foods such as casseroles, curries and braises. Osso Buco literally means “bone with a hole” and the bone barrow is an appealing part of this classic Italian dish. Like many braised dishes, this tastes better the day after it is made. Osso Buco is traditionally served with Gremolata (lemon, parsley and garlic mixture) and often on a bed of polenta, but potato mash is a worthy accompaniment. Serve with a glass of Pinot Noir or Merlot.

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Recipe: Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup

Winter has officially started, and even in Noosa it gets chilly at this time of the year. As much as I love the fresh clean tastes of summer food, right now I am craving more complex dishes like Beef Bourguignon, Braised Lamb Shanks and Osso Buco.  During the colder months I also love a bowl of homemade steaming soup for lunch, like this Broccoli and Blue Cheese Soup.

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