Brrrr! Feeling the chill? We've just the thing to warm you up – four mouth-watering recipes for cosy, comfort food from Dominic Franks, the UK-based cook, writer and author of the food blog Bellau Kitchen
A born-and-bred Londoner, Dominic moved to Belleau (pronounced “Bell-oh”), Lincolnshire 9 years ago. It's here he's been honing his recipes; always using the ingredients he sources locally.
"I am lucky enough to be surrounded by the most incredible produce and producers who tend to keep quiet about how fabulous they are so it has become part of my remit to shout for them!
The cooking on my blog features many of our local produce and is as seasonal as can be. I love sharing my recipes and ideas with you and hopefully the result is that you eat and of course, enjoy!" – Dom.
Here are four of our favourite picks. Try them out and let us know which ones you enjoy most.
THE SPICY SUPPER
Mushroom, cauliflower and potato Jalfrezi with homemade naan.
For the Jalfrezi
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large box of chestnut mushrooms (or any mushrooms that are firm and meaty), cut into quarters
1 medium cauliflower, divided into florets
6 Charlotte or small potatoes, cut into quarters
3 garlic cloves, crushed
A thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, thinly chopped
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 pint good quality veg stock
For the naan (makes 6 to 8)
400g plain flour
1 tsp fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Place the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl dry-fry the spices in a pan for about 3 mins until beginning to warm through, then remove from the heat and add to the bowl along with the water and about 3 tablespoons oil bring together in the bowl and then tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for roughly 10 mins or until smooth. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film and set aside until doubled in size.
Whilst the naan is set aside, you can make your Jalfrezi by lightly sautéing the onions in a little olive oil and butter. When they're nearly soft, add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a minute or two more, then add all the spices and stir into the onions and let the whole thing sweat together for about 5 mins. When the aromas become beautifully intense, stir in the vegetables, place a lid on the pan and let the ingredients sweat for about 10 minutes before adding the tomato and the stock. Place the lid back on, lower the heat, and let the whole thing simmer away for at least an hour.
Meanwhile knead the naan dough for a few minutes then divide it into 6 or 8 pieces and roll into balls. Heat a pan and add a little oil then flatten out a ball of dough into a rough oval shape and fry in the pan for about 4 mins on both sides - you should see the naan puff up a little.
Chicken thighs with roasted beetroot, apples and black peppercorns.
1 pack of free-range chicken thighs (roughly 8)
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
2 sticks of celery, chopped
5 medium beetroots, quartered
1 glass of white wine
A handful of peppercorns
Fresh herbs of your choice
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 large cox's apple,-cut into 8ths
Place all the veg and apples out on an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with your herbs, some olive oil, salt and pepper. Lay the thighs (skin down) onto the veg, drizzle on the balsamic vinegar and roast the whole lot for 2 hours on about 170°C, turning the thighs skin up half way though, until golden and divinely succulent. The juices in this dish are the most glorious pinky red colour and would look amazing on mashed potatoes or rice.
Aubergine and bean hot pot with a cheesy cauliflower and broccoli crust.
For the hot pot
2 x 400g tins of beans (1 tin of haricot and 1 tin of black-eyed, or whatever you prefer)
1 aubergine, chopped into large chunks
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
3 sprigs of rosemary
1 tbsp dried rosemary
1 and a half tins of chopped tomatoes
For the crust
1 medium cauliflower
2 broccoli heads
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
100g strong cheddar, finely grated
The grated zest of one lemon
3 sprigs of rosemary, leaves finely chopped
1 tspn dried oregano
3 tbsp olive oil
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C and find a large pan or casserole dish with a lid. Cut the aubergine and gently fry it in a large pan with plenty of olive oil until golden and soft - you’ll get a more even result if you do this in two batches. Set the aubergine aside to drain on some kitchen paper.
Using a little more oil, gently fry the onions until soft, adding the sliced garlic, rosemary and oregano halfway through. Once they’re very soft with no colour, add the chopped tomatoes and then when gently boiling, add the beans and aubergine. Fill one of the empty tomato tins with water and add this to the pan too, let it come back to the boil, then cover and place it in the oven for 45 minutes.
To make the topping, remove the florets from the top of the cauliflower and broccoli and chop them as finely as you can - a second in the food processor would do it. Place the cauliflower and broccoli crumbs in a bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix gently until combined. After 45 mins, take the hot pot out of the oven, spoon the topping on top and place back in the oven, uncovered, for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden and crisp. Eat and of course, enjoy!
Organic roast butternut squash soup with thyme focaccia.
For the soup
1 butternut squash, peeled and chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
1 onions, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
5 garlic cloves
2 large sprigs of thyme
Salt, pepper and olive oil
3 pints good veg stock
For the focaccia (makes 2 in 2 pre-lined baking trays)
500g organic white flour
2 tsp fast-action dried yeast
2 tsp sea salt
Plenty of olive oil
Start with the soup and place all the veg into a roasting tin. Season and sprinkle with a little sugar and olive oil, then cover with foil and bake on 170°C for 30 mins. Remove the foil and roast for another 15 mins until the veg is soft and starting to caramelise a little. Remove the veg from the oven and place it into a large pan with the stock and simmer for 15 mins. Allow to cool a little, then blitz into a smooth soup
Make the focaccia in a large bowl. Add the flour, yeast, salt and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Oil your hands and bring the whole thing together. It's very wet dough so the oiled hands help. Knead the mix for 5 minutes then set it aside, covered with a cloth, for 10 minutes. Knead the dough for another 5 minutes, then cover with it cling film and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in size. Split the dough into two and simply flatten into your lined baking trays, pushing the dough to the edges. Let the dough rest for another 30 minutes. Bake on 220°C for 20 minutes, then drizzle a little oil and plenty of salt on top and eat warm.
Find more delicious ideas on Dom's blog. And if you're going to make one of his tasty dishes, send us a couple of snaps - or even share a winter warming recipe of your own!