Recipes Winter Comfort Meals To Die For (With A Healthy Twist) 6 September 2018 Studio Pilates When it gets cold outside and you’re finding it hard to just get out and get things done, there is no better helper than cosy winter food. I’m from Scotland, so if there is one thing I know all about, it’s the best comforting-yet-healthy meals to eat when it’s chilly out. Cinnamon baked apple porridge with fresh berries Let’s start with breakfast. One of my favourites is, of course, porridge! However, if the thought of eating a bowl of porridge for breakfast makes you want to crawl right back into bed, fear not. There are loads of ways to make this classic brekky fun, delicious and healthy. This particular porridge is perfect for a morning when you don’t have to run straight out of the house as it takes a little while to bake. If you are in a hurry, just some instant porridge with milk and honey is my favourite highland camping breakfast. What you will need 3 tbsp of real porridge oats, (I’ll know if you use instant*) 1 apple 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon 200 ml of milk A cup of mixed berries How to make it Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F or 180 degrees C Peel and chop up your apples and lay them in an ovenproof dish. Mix together your oats, cinnamon and milk before pouring them over the apples. Pop in the oven and bake for around 30 minutes, then throw on your mixed berries and voila! The perfect breakfast to give you buckets of energy and make you feel all cosy inside. Mixed Roast Veg Soup One of the best things you can make yourself in the winter is soup, and it’s perfect for meal prepping and freezing. I have more beloved soup recipes than I care to mention, so I’m just going to go for my favourite mixed roast veggie soup. This is a fantastic recipe because if, like me, you just love veges, you can put anything you like in there. For the purposes of this recipe, I’ll be using my personal favourites. What you will need – 1 leek 2 potatoes 1 sweet potato 1 onion 2 carrots 300 ml of chicken or vegetable stock Olive oil 1 clove of garlic A hand-held blender How to make it – First, you need to roast up those veggies to give the soup that deep, rich flavour. Preheat your oven to 475 degrees F or 245 degrees C. Peel and chop the carrot, potato and sweet potato before placing them onto an ovenproof tray. Drizzle them with oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper, then place them into the preheated oven for around 30 minutes. Check on them regularly as they don’t need to roast as fully as if you were having them with Sunday lunch. When they are almost finished, cut up the onion and leek. Place them in a soup pot with a little oil on a low heat, cover, and let them sweat until they are translucent. Once the onions and leeks are ready, you can pop in your roast veggies and your stock. Leave this to sit on the low heat for another 10 – 15 minutes to let the flavours and seasoning soak into the stock. After this time, turn off the heat and blend the contents of the pot with a hand blender. If the soup ends up a little sweet for your taste, simply add a drop more water and some salt then let it reduce for a while. After that, feel free to add an acid to balance the soup. For this particular recipe, I usually use balsamic vinegar. It’s that easy! That should make enough soup for 3 – 4 servings and it freezes beautifully. Venison Sausage Casserole: (this can switch out to vegetarian My other winter ‘must eat’ is venison sausage casserole. This recipe is my father’s, and has been one of my absolute favourite cold weather treats since I was a child. You can, of course, use any kind of sausage in this casserole, including a vegetarian alternative. What you will need – 6 venison sausages 1 onion 1 clove of garlic A teaspoon of chopped fresh chilli A teaspoon of paprika Rosemary (to taste) Thyme (to taste) 400g chopped tomatoes Tomato puree (to taste) Potatoes (as many as you like) How to make it – Preheat oven to 300 degrees F or 150 degrees C Start by heating a frying pan and placing the sausages in to brown. Only keep them in long enough to get nice a colour going on the outside. Chop up your potatoes and put them on to boil with a pinch of salt. Heat up oil in the bottom of a casserole pot and then add the onions and garlic, cover and leave them to sweat. After a few minutes you can also throw in the chilli. If the sausages look done, just turn off the heat and continue to move them around the pan, before chopping them up into pieces and leaving them to sit. As soon as the onions are translucent you can add the sausages. Throw in the chopped tomatoes and swirl a little water around the empty tin, then add that too. Add a smidge of puree along with the thyme, rosemary and paprika. Throw in the potatoes and cover the pot, putting it in the oven to cook for at least an hour. This recipe is flavorful and extremely tummy warming; probably one of my favourite dishes ever! Even when winter has passed, these meals can give you that lovely snuggly warm feeling all year round. They’re quick and filling for families and for having something tasty waiting in the freezer on those really busy days. *Editor’s note: Steel cut oats have a lower GI and will keep you fuller and energised better than rolled oats, although their nutritional value is the same. Image Credit (from top to bottom) – Artiom Vallat / Unsplash; @sarndilia / Instagram; @thrivemags / Instagram; @georgeats / Instagram. About the Author – Natasha Porritt is a Studio Pilates Instructor.