Keep warm this winter

Would you believe that some foods – apart from the obvious mince and dumplings etc – have more warming qualities than others?

Foods loaded with antioxidants and immune-boosters, and those which take longer to digest, keep you warmer for longer and fight off infections. Read on and take note…

Porridge powers you through the winter, but it’s not the only way to enjoy oatmeal, which warms you up, however you eat it.

Ingredients: 200g plain flour, pinch of salt, 2 tsp ground ginger, ½ tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 200g medium oatmeal, 150g black treacle, 150g butter, 100g soft brown sugar, 1 egg, 125ml milk.
Method: Preaheat oven to 180C/Gas 4, grease and line a 23cm square baking tin. Sieve flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon and bicarb into a bowl. Add oatmeal. Gently heat treacle, butter and sugar in a pan until the butter melts and the sugar dissolves. Add this and the beaten egg and milk to the flour mix and beat to a batter. Bake in the tin for 75 mins. Remove and leave in the tin for 10 mins before turning out onto a cooling rack. Cut into squares when cool.

Ginger is proven to enhance thermogenesis – the production of heat in the body. Use it in stir fries and curries, soups, fruit crumbles and cakes.

Parsnip and ginger soup
Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1 chopped white onion, 750g parsnips, 2 cloves garlic, 5cm piece root ginger, peeled and chopped, 1 litre vegetable stock. To serve – crème fraiche, toasted flaked almonds, fresh parsley and paprika.
Method: Heat oil and butter in a pan and sauté the onion until softened. Scrub (don’t peel) and dice the parsnips and add to the pan with the garlic and ginger. Sauté for 5 mins, add the stock, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 mins. Toast flaked almonds under a medium grill for 2 mins. When the parsnips are soft, blitz smooth with a stick blender. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche, toasted almonds, fresh parsley and paprika.

It takes the body longer to digest root veg, which in turn generates more heat.

Roast root vegetables
Ingredients: 2 tbsp olive oil, fresh thyme, sea salt, a head of garlic, mixed root veg – swede, carrot, parsnip, beetroot, celeriac etc.
Method: Preheat oven to 220C/Gas 7, scrub (don’t peel) veg, cut into chunks, toss in olive oil, put in a roasting tin with a few sprigs of thyme and a whole head of garlic, its top ¼ sliced off to reveal the flesh. Roast for about 45 mins until tender. Sprinkle with salt, squeeze the garlic out of its skin and serve. Use leftovers in soup – blitz with a stick blender and adjust the consistency with stock.

Whole grains and complex carbs like potatoes, beans, barley and lentils take extra energy to break down, warming you up in the process.

Tuscan bean stew
Ingredients: 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp butter, 1 large onion, 1 red bell pepper, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tsp red bell pepper flakes, 1 tsp paprika, 1 glass white wine, 1 carrot, 1 stick celery, 2 handfuls green lentils, 1 tin each of chickpeas, cannellini beans, black eyed beans, 1 litre vegetable stock, 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes, 1 tbsp tomato purée, 3 sprigs fresh thyme, 3 sprigs fresh rosemary, 2 handfuls kale, grated parmesan to garnish.
Method: Heat butter and oil in a large pan and sauté the peeled and diced onion until soft. Add pepper, garlic, red bell pepper flakes and paprika and cook for a further 2 mins. Add wine, diced carrot, diced celery and lentils, stir and cook for 10 mins. Add beans, stock, tomatoes, tomato purée and herbs, cover and simmer for 35 mins. Add kale and simmer for a further 6 mins. Serve with grated parmesan.

Rich in B vitamins and magnesium, bananas boost thyroid and adrenal function to keep you warm. Sublime in a banana and peanut butter sandwich and lovely with honey, which also happens to be a warming and immune-boosting food.

Baked bananas
Ingredients: Bananas, honey, demerara sugar.
Method: Preheat oven to 220/Gas 7, peel and halve bananas lengthwise, lay on a greased tray, sprinkle with honey and demerera sugar and bake for 10 mins. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Fab 5
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