Comfort foods you’ll love this winter

We love these classic cosy recipes from author Jan Kohler’s cookbook Pink Gin and Fairy Cakes.

Warm up to these hearty dishes, which we’re sure will become favourites in your cooking repertoire.

Cover of Pink Gin and Fairy Cakes

Pumpkin fritters 

Makes about 16 

These fritters will take you back to your childhood days. Some people choose to serve them as a breakfast treat or dessert, or even as a vegetable to be served with dinner! What better way to get your little ones to eat their veggies than with these delicious pumpkin fritters? 

Ingredients 

  • 2 cups pumpkin, cooked and mashed 
  • 1 cup flour 
  • 1 tsp baking powder 
  • ½ tsp salt 
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • 50ml milk 
  • Cinnamon sugar 
  • Vegetable oil, for deep frying 

Method 

  • Lightly beat the eggs in a mixing bowl and mix in the remaining ingredients by hand. The consistency of the batter will be stiffer than that of the sweetcorn fritters recipe.  
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a heavy-based pot for deep frying. The oil in your pot should be at least 4cm deep.  
  • Only once the oil is hot – if you have a thermometer, your temperature should be between 190°C and 225°C – spoon fritter-sized portions into the pot, keeping them separated to prevent them sticking together.  
  • Flip them over so both sides turn golden brown. Set them on some paper towel to absorb excess oil and serve as soon as possible, sprinkled with a bit of cinnamon sugar. 

Best pumpkin fritters

Lamb curry with minted yoghurt raita 

Serves 10 

Curry makes great bowl food, and it’s easy to serve without formal seating. This particular curry mix is made up of an assortment of spices, which requires a little planning and resourcefulness, but the beautifully fragrant result is worth the effort.  

 Ingredients 

  • 1 large onion, diced 
  • 1 tsp garlic, crushed 
  • 1.5kg lamb knuckle 
  • 1 tin good quality, plum tomatoes (400g) 
  • 2 heaped tsp ginger, crushed 
  • 1 tsp chilli, crushed 
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 4 cups chicken stock (1 litre) 

For the seasoning mix: 

  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds 
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds 
  • 1 tsp caraway 
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns 
  • 1 tsp fenugreek 
  • 2 cardamom pods 
  • 1 cinnamon stick 
  • 1 clove 

 For the minted yoghurt raita: 

  • A handful fresh mint, chopped 
  • Half a cup cucumber, peeled and grated 
  • A handful fresh coriander leaves 
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds 
  • 500g double cream plain yoghurt 

Method 

  • Preheat your oven to 160°C.  
  • Using a pestle and mortar, grind the dry spices together to make the seasoning mix.  
  • In a heavy-based, oven-proof pot, fry the garlic and onions until soft and transparent.  
  • Season the lamb with salt, then brown it in the pot with Worcestershire sauce and the seasoning mix, ensuring the lamb is evenly coated in all the spices.  
  • Add the tomato, ginger and chilli and allow to simmer.  
  • Add the chicken stock until the liquid fully covers the meat and you have a good, saucy consistency.  
  • Place the lid on it and pop it into the oven for four to five hours. Stir the curry and check the liquid level every hour, as you don’t want it to dry out. If it needs more liquid, top it up with one cup of chicken stock at a time.  
  • In the meantime, prepare the raita. De-stalk and chop the mint and coriander leaves and mix this in with the yoghurt, cucumber and cumin seeds.  
  • Once the curry is cooked, serve with steamed basmati rice, a handful of shredded coriander and a side of minted yoghurt raita. 

Best lamb curry

Oxtail 

Serves 12 

What comes to mind with oxtail stew is deliciously rich, warming, comfort food. The sauce is so moreish that you can use the leftovers in an oxtail risotto  if you’re lucky enough to have any left over! 

Ingredients 

  • 1 large onion, diced 
  • 1 tsp. of garlic, crushed 
  • Olive oil for frying 
  • 2kg oxtail 
  • Salt and meat spice for seasoning 
  • 1 tsp dried mixed herbs 
  • 3 tbsp flour, for thickening 
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 2 tbsp fruit chutney 
  • 1 tin of good quality, plum tomatoes (400g) 
  • 3 cups of chicken stock  
  • 1 cup of red wine

Method 

  • Pre-heat your oven to 160°C.  
  • In a heavy-based, oven-proof pot, fry the garlic and onions until soft and transparent.  
  • Add the oxtail and season it with the salt, spices and herbs and continue to brown it, adding the Worcestershire sauce and chutney.  
  • Add the flour ensuring the oxtail is evenly coated (this will help thicken your stew).  
  • Add the tomato, chicken stock and red wine, ensuring that the liquid fully covers the meat and you have a good, saucy consistency.  
  • Place the lid on it and pop it into the oven for four to five hours.  
  • Stir the oxtail from time to time and check the liquid level every hour, as you don’t want it to dry out. If it needs more liquid, top it up with one cup of chicken stock at a time.  
  • The end result should be a hearty stew, with enough gravy to serve with rice or perhaps some mashed potato. The meat should easily come off the bone.

Best oxtail