Blog post on
07 December, 2015
Winter Warmers: The Best Comfort Food for Cold Months
By London Designer Outlet
Winter Warmers: The Best Comfort Food for Cold Months
Ah… Winter. The season which sees us scurry indoors as a respite from the harsh winds and unrelenting wetness that many throughout the UK have to endure. This is the season when we need comforting most, and there’s one sure-fire way of doing so for most people: with lots of good food. Here are some of the things we look forward to gorging on over this most festive of periods…
What is it about things encrusted with pastry that makes them so fulfilling? The fact that you can put any number of ingredients in pies, make them as sweet or as savoury as you like, put them in the oven, and … voila! You have a dish that was made for pairing with gravy and mashed potatoes, or custard and ice cream. Pies with all sorts of fillings can be found at the LDO Festive Food Market - why not come down, try them for yourself, and maybe even get some inspiration for your own homemade pie creation?
Whether cheddar or brie, eaten with crackers at the end of a big meal or melted onto toast as a midnight snack, cheese has long been a winter favourite amongst the British. This is in no small part thanks to the amazing variety of flavourful cheeses produced in Britain. Of course, there are equally awesome cheeses from other countries as well, but let’s face it - they have their work cut out for them when it comes to beating the best of Britain’s cheese farmers! We heartily recommend you come to the LDO Festive Food Market to see and taste the best of British (and French, German, Italian … lots, of countries, really!) cheeses.
3. Curries and Dhals
Indian food has become a staple of the UK’s diet, and other than Southall and Brick Lane, Wembley has become synonymous with the dish. Though curries and dhals are popular year-round, herbs and spices like chilli, turmeric, garlic, and ginger lend themselves well to winter. There’s nothing quite like a chilli-induced endorphin rush on a cold winter’s night. Plus, both curries and dhals are cheap, easy to make, nutritious, and there are a huge number of recipes for vegetarians and vegans.
4. The Classic Roast Dinner
The thing about the roast dinner is that it is really rather simple to make (putting some well-seasoned, marinated meat in the oven to slowly cook for a few hours is not a huge amount of work, after all), but transforms into one of the most satisfying meals around. The roast potatoes, carrots, swede, sprouts, broccoli, parsnips, Yorkshire pudding, gravy … All add up to one of the most exciting ensembles of all food time. Plus, roast dinners are versatile! Leftovers can be made into shepherd’s pies, bubble and squeak, used as sandwich fillings, and lots more besides.
5. Stews and Casseroles
The best stews and casseroles are often dishes that bring together all the best things about a Sunday roast, into a single pot. Indeed, roast dinner leftovers are great for casseroles. Plus, they’re filling and both energy- and economically- efficient to boot!
Soft, gooey tortillas filled with slow-cooked beans, vegetables, and/or meat, and topped with melted cheese and a tomato sauce … It’s no wonder that Mexicans treat this dish as a comfort food over the winter. Pair it with some spicy rice and a warm winter salad to make this meal complete.
As with curries, soups are often eaten year-round. However, the cold season calls for heavier, often creamier soups made from ingredients like mushrooms, black beans, butternut squash, chicken, potato and leek, seafood chowders, and so on. Soups are nice during spring and summer, but even better over autumn and winter.
Like chilli, chocolate provides us with a huge endorphin rush. Plus, if you don’t eat too much of it and keep to the high-quality dark stuff from chocolatiers like Lindt, can actually help boost the immune system! Chocolate ought to be an essential item in your cupboard for the winter months.
Pasta dishes are usually reserved for warmer months in Britain. Lasagnes, however, are a different breed entirely. Layers of lasagne lined with a creamy ragu, topped with cheese, and then put in an oven … How can this not be winter food? Add some freshly-baked, crusty bread (to mop up the sauce with, naturally) and a green salad, and you have one of the finest, most comforting meals around. Moussaka - a lasagne-like dish with the pasta replaced by aubergine - is just as satisfying.
Well, it just wouldn’t be winter without cake. Victoria sponge, chocolate fudge, a simple madeira … It doesn’t really matter what type. We want rich, luxurious, buttery indulgence over the winter, and cakes are a great way to gratify that craving.
11. Mulled Wine and Cider
Alcohol’s already rather warming. Adding heat and spices like cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and so on (basically like a chai tea), basically make mulled wine and cider the ultimate wintery drink - one that suits this time of year more than any other.
Cookies are super-easy to make, and there probably isn’t much out there that beats a freshly-baked pair of cookies sandwiching some quality vanilla ice cream. Plus, cookies can be made with all manner of sweet things. Our favourites include dark chocolate and cashew nuts, maltesers and malted milk powder, oat & raisin, and the classic chocolate chip, although I’m sure we can think of lots of other favourites if we put our mind to it. No wonder Santa loves it when you leave out milk and cookies for him!
For some of the best ingredients around to make these dishes at home, come to the Wembley Park Festive Food Market between Thursdays and Sundays, 20th November 2015 to 20th December 2015. Of course, many of the foodstuffs above are also come ready-made for you at the market, so come with an open belly!