Delicious winter fare

Compiled: Sarah Kobal

Oh so yummy! Whether it's for a quiet family meal or a special occasion, these winter recipes are sure to get everyone coming back for seconds.

Starter: Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

Serves: 4
Prep: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

• 25 g dried porcini mushrooms
• 50 g butter
• 1 onion, finely chopped
• 1 garlic clove, sliced
• Thyme sprigs
• 400 g mixed wild mushrooms
• 850 ml vegetable stock
• 200 ml tub crème fraîche
• 4 slices white bread, about 100 g, cubed
• Chives and truffle oil, to serve

1. Bring a kettle to the boil, then pour the water over the dried porcini just to cover.
2. Heat half the butter in a saucepan, then gently sizzle the onion, garlic and thyme for 5 minutes until softened and starting to brown.
3. Drain the porcini, reserving the juice, then add to the onion with the mixed wild mushrooms. Leave to cook for 5 minutes until they go limp. Pour over the stock and reserved juices, bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Stir in crème fraîche and simmer for a few minutes more.
5. Blitz the soup with a hand blender or liquidizer, pass through a fine sieve, and then set aside.
6. Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and fry the bread cubes until golden, then drain on kitchen paper.
7. To serve, heat the soup and froth up with a hand blender, if you like. Ladle the soup into bowls, scatter over the croutons and chives and drizzle with truffle oil.


Main: Hungarian Beef Goulash

Serves: 8
Prep: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 4, 5 hours

• 2 pounds beef stew meat (such as chuck), trimmed and cubed
• 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
• 1½-2 tablespoons sweet or hot paprika (or a mixture of the two), preferably Hungarian
• ¼ teaspoon salt
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
• 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
• 1¼ ounce can diced tomatoes
• 1¼ ounce can reduced-sodium beef broth
• 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water
• 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped

1. Place beef in a 4-quart or larger slow cooker.
2. Crush caraway seeds with the bottom of a saucepan. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in paprika, salt and pepper.
3. Sprinkle the beef with the spice mixture and toss to coat well. Top with onion and bell pepper.
4. Combine tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce and garlic in a medium saucepan, then bring to a simmer. Pour over the beef and vegetables. Place bay leaves on top.
5. Cover and cook until the beef is very tender, 4 to 4½ hours on high (or 7 to 7½ hours on low).
6. Discard the bay leaves and skim or blot any visible fat from the surface of the stew.
7. Add the cornstarch mixture to the stew and cook on high, stirring 2 or 3 times, until slightly thickened, for 10 to 15 minutes.
8. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 4 months. To prepare ahead, trim the beef and coat with spice mixture. Prepare vegetables. Combine tomatoes, broth, Worcestershire sauce and garlic. Refrigerate in separate covered containers for up to 1 day.


Dessert: Apple and Cinnamon Choux Fritters

Serves: 18
Prep: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes

• 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, grated
• ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• Vegetable oil, for shallow frying
• Custard, to serve
• Basic choux pastry
• 60 g butter, chopped
• ⅔ cup plain flour
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• Cinnamon sugar
• ½ cup caster sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. To make the cinnamon sugar, combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
2. To make the choux pastry, combine butter and ⅔ cup cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until butter has melted and mixture just starts to boil.
3. Reduce heat to low. Add flour. Cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes or until mixture comes away from side of pan and forms a ball. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
4. Using a wooden spoon, gradually beat in eggs until well combined and dough is glossy. Stir in apple and cinnamon.
5. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Drop 1 level tablespoon mixture into pan. Repeat, making 6 fritters. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes each side or until golden and cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer fritters to cinnamon sugar. Toss to coat. Transfer to a plate.
6. Repeat with remaining dough.
7. Serve fritters warm with custard.