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Cosy winter recipes to warm your soul

As the temperature drops and evenings draw in, there is nothing like sitting down to a hearty winter lunch or dinner to heat you from the inside. Soups, stews, root vegetables, tart berries and warming spices are the perfect way to stave off winter blues – not to mention winter bugs! Here are three simple winter recipes that are certain to keep your whole family cosy and healthy this winter.

Scottish Lentil Soup

This classic recipe is both warming and filling, the sort of classic soup your granny would have had burbling on the stove at all times. Serve with a doorstop of crusty bread.

340g red split lentils

1 tbs oil

4 slices back bacon, finely diced, or a ham bone (optional) I use Ramsay’s of Carluke

2 medium onions, finely diced

3 carrots, grated

3 sticks celery, finely chopped

3 sprigs parsley finely chopped

1 clove of garlic finely chopped

1 bay leaf

1.5 litres vegetable stock boiling

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Soften the onions, carrot, garlic, bayleaf and celery in a heavy based pot over a medium heat
  2. Then add the lentils and bacon/ham if you are using them, pour over the hot stock
  3. Simmer gently for 30 mins skimming off the top as you go
  4. If you are using a bone remove this and the bay leaf now
  5. Blend in a liquidiser or push through a sieve for a slightly more rustic texture.

Chicken, sweet potato and coconut milk curry

A lightly spiced curry from BBC Good Food that will keep away the chill, and the peas and sweet potatoes are both sources of vitamin C which will help to protect against winter sniffles.

  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 tsp mild curry paste
  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
  • , peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 tbsp red split lentils
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 400ml can coconut milk
  • 175g frozen peas
  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or wok, stir in the curry paste and fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken, sweet potatoes and lentils and stir to coat in the paste, then pour in the stock and coconut milk. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. Tip in the peas, bring back to the boil and simmer for a further 4-5 minutes. Season to taste before serving.

Triple berry oat crumble

Using frozen berries, this warming dessert can be whipped up in minutes – perfect for a gloomy afternoon treat!

Berry Filling

  • 4 cups frozen mixed berries*, NOT thawed (about 24 ounces frozen fruit)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • pinch of salt

Oat Crumble Topping

  • 1 cup porridge oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  1. Preheat oven to 350/180 degrees.
  2. In a medium size bowl, make the berry filling by combining all ingredients and tossing to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a separate medium size bowl, make the oat crumble by combining all ingredients, then use your fingers to pinch the butter and incorporate with the dry ingredients. Keep pinching and tossing together with your hands until evenly combined. You will be left with many pea sized pieces of butter mixed in with the oat mixture. Set aside.
  4. Pour the berry filing into a baking dish.. Top with the oat crumble topping, and spread to an even layer.
  5. Bake uncovered until the berry filling is bubbling, and the oat crumble is golden brown, about 1 hour. Serve with ice cream for a truly decadent treat!