It’s cold, it’s grey, it gets dark early. We just want something to warm us up!
Thank you to Lifeview who have kindly offered a look inside their delicious Winter menu to inspire us, and perhaps those fussy eaters at home.
All based on resident feedback, they highlight the importance of nutritious, warming foods and using in-season ingredients.
With the menu inspiration in hand, we have sourced similar recipes online to share with you.
Each meal is chock full of nutrition and can be adapted for anyone with swallowing difficulties.
Lancashire Hot Pot
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1.1 pounds (500g) lamb - not too lean - neck is best, but shoulder works well too, cut into bite-size chunks
2 brown onions - peeled and sliced thinly
1 heaped tbsp plain flour - use gluten free plain flour if required
2 cups (480ml) hot chicken or vegetable stock - water with a couple of stock cubes is fine - or use bouillon
for gluten free
2 bay leaves
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce - (use a gluten free version if required)
3 medium sized carrots - peeled and cut into chunks
1 ½ pounds (680g) potatoes - peeled and sliced to 2-3mm thick (floury potatoes work best)
1 tbsp melted butter for brushing
¼ tsp dried thyme
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F
Melt the butter and vegetable oil in a medium sized casserole or sauce pan and fry the lamb pan until lightly browned all over (about 3-4 minutes). Spoon the lamb into a bowl, then add the onions to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft.
Add the lamb back in, then stir in the flour, cooking for a minute. Add in the stock, bay leaves, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Give everything a stir, bring to a gently bubble. Then place a lid on it and cook in the oven for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, stir in the carrots. At this point, you can transfer the contents of the pan to a casserole or pie dish if you wish (I moved mine to a 25cm diameter pie dish). Top with the sliced potatoes. Start from the outside, and layer the potatoes, moving towards the centre.
Brush the top of the potatoes with the melted butter and sprinkle on the dried thyme. Cover with a lid or foil and place back in the oven for 1 hour.
After an hour, turn the oven up to 200c/400f and remove the lid. Cook for a further 30 minutes until the potatoes are browned and crisp on top.
Take out of the oven, and leave to rest for 5 minutes or so (it will be very hot), then serve with some green veg.
For a shorter cooking & prep time, see this recipe
Slow cooked meals
The perfect warming food and great to add with extra veg. The slow cooking also breaks down the meat making it better for people with swallowing difficulties.
Braised Steak and onions
400g beef oyster blade steak, cut into 4 large pieces
3 tbsp olive oil
1 small-medium brown onion (125g), thinly sliced
1 sprig fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled
1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
1 cup Beef Stock
2 cups water
1 bunch Carrots, scrubbed, halved lengthwise
1 tsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
To prepare the braised beef: Position the rack in the centre of the oven and preheat the oven to 150C (130C fan).
Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a heavy medium casserole pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil, then add the beef and cook, turning as needed, for about 10 minutes, or until the beef is brown on all sides. Remove the beef from the pot and pour off all but 1 tablespoon of the oil.
Add the onion, rosemary, and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot, for about 8 minutes, or until the onion is golden. Reduce the heat to medium, add the vinegar and then the stock, stirring to scrape up any remaining brown bits. Return the beef to the pot and the water to just cover the meat. Cover the pot and transfer it to the oven. Braise for about 2 hours, or until the meat is almost tender. Transfer the pot the stove top, carefully remove the lid. Increase the oven temperature to 260C (240C fan).
Simmer the beef mixture, uncovered, over medium heat for about 30 minutes, or until the beef is tender and the sauce has reduced to about one quarter of its original volume. Remove the rosemary stems. Season well with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, to roast the vegetables: On a heavy large baking tray, toss the carrots with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in an even layer over the baking tray and roast for about 10-12 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Toss the carrots with the parsley. Serve the carrots alongside the braised beef and braising liquid.
Braised beef brisket pie topped with creamed potato and cheddar
Splash of grapeseed oil
2 thick slices of bacon, diced
2 3/4 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces, extra fat discarded
ground black pepper
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 dried bay leaf
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons all purpose flour (or gluten free flour, if desired)
2 cups dry red wine
15 oz can of beef broth
3/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups frozen green peas
3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
For the Mashed Potatoes:
3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 to 3/4 cup half and half
kosher salt, to taste
ground black pepper, to taste
Place a large enamelled cast iron Dutch oven on the stove. Add a tiny splash of grapeseed oil and warm over medium high heat. Add the diced bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon bits are nicely browned and crispy. Turn off the heat and use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon bits to a paper towel lined plate. Keep the drippings in the Dutch oven.
Season the beef liberally with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Put the Dutch oven back on the stove over high heat. When the bacon fat is shimmering, add the beef and brown well on all sides, turning the beef when it releases easily in the pan and develops a dark brown crust. Brown well on all sides. Don't skimp on this step. You are building the flavour here!
When the beef is browned on all sides, remove it from the pan and set aside on a plate. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot, and celery to the Dutch oven. Sauté until softened, about 8 minutes.
When the vegetables are soft, add the garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaf and stir for 1 minute, until fragrant.
Add the dry sherry, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, and flour and stir to combine. Let cook for a minute or two to thicken slightly. Next add the wine beef broth, water, reserved beef, and bacon to the Dutch oven. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the Dutch oven with the lid, but keep it just slightly ajar. Simmer for 2 and a half hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so, or until the beef is tender and easy to shred with a fork.
When there is an hour left on the stew, start working on the mashed potato topping.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the peeled potatoes. Boil for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a knife. Drain the potatoes and return to the empty pot. Add the butter and 1/2 cup of the half and half. Use a potato masher to mash until smooth. Add 1/4 cup more of the half and half if the potatoes are dry, then season liberally with kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool slightly while you wait for the rest of the stew to finish cooking.
When the stew is done cooking and the beef is tender, turn the heat off on the stove and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Use two forks to shred the beef directly in the Dutch oven. Add in the frozen peas and stir to combine.
Carefully scoop the mashed potatoes over the top of the stew, spreading evenly with a spatula or back of a spoon. Be sure to spread them all the way to the edges of the Dutch oven. Creating a good seal on the edges with the mashed potatoes will help prevent the stew from bubbling over.
Finally, sprinkle the shredded Mozzarella and cheddar cheeses over the top of the mashed potatoes. When the oven is preheated, put the Dutch oven inside the oven and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes or so, until the mashed potatoes are warmed and the cheese topping is melted.
Remove from the oven and let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. When ready to serve, scoop the stew with the mashed potato topping into individual serving bowls and enjoy!
Gnocchi with chicken and pesto, tomato and spinach
500g packet gnocchi
1 red capsicum, chopped
500g punnet cherry tomatoes, halved
4 courgettes, chopped
¼ cup basil pesto
½ cooked chicken, skin removed, meat shredded
12 cups baby spinach
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Preheat oven to 210°C. Spray a large roasting pan with olive oil.
In a large pot of boiling water, place gnocchi and cook according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving some cooking water.
On prepared pan, toss capsicum, tomatoes and courgettes and spray with oil. Season with pepper. Place in oven and bake for 10–15 minutes, or until softened.
To thin pesto out, combine with reserved cooking water, then add to pan with gnocchi, tossing gently.
Add chicken and spinach and stir. Sprinkle with parmesan and spray with oil. Bake for a further 10–15 minutes or until golden.
Let’s not forget the comforts of a well-placed dessert in bringing back warm memories.
Sticky date pudding
280g / 9oz pitted dates, roughly chopped (Note 1)
1 tsp baking soda / bi carb soda
1 cup / 250 ml boiling water
40 g / 1/4 cup brown sugar , loosely packed
80 g / 6 tbsp unsalted butter , softened
2 eggs , at room temperature
1 1/4 cups / 185 g plain flour (all purpose)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
200 g/ 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, loosely packed
375 ml / 1 1/2 cups thickened cream (heavy cream)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
70 g / 5 tbsp unsalted butter
Ice cream or dolloping cream
Preheat oven to 180C/350F (standard) or 160C/320F (fan/convection).
Grease 7 pudding moulds (Note 2) with butter or grease and line a 20 cm / 8" square cake pan with overhang.
Place dates in a bowl, sprinkle over baking soda. Pour over boiling water. Stand 10 minutes, then mash well with a potato masher (or fork) until it resembles sloppy porridge (see video for texture / thickness). (Note 3)
Place butter and sugar in a bowl. Beat until combined and smooth.
Add eggs, beat until incorporated.
Add flour then sprinkle baking powder across the surface. Mix until flour is incorporated.
Add dates, mix quickly until dates are well incorporated into the batter. (Note 2) Follow directions to make one pudding or individual ones.
Pour into cake pan, smooth surface. Bake 35 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
While still hot, poke about 40 holes all over the surface using a skewer. Pour over 1/2 cup Butterscotch Sauce, leave to soak for 10 minutes.
Use overhang to lift cake out. Cut, serve warm with remaining warm sauce and ice cream or cream.
BAKING INDIVIDUAL PUDDINGS:
Pour batter into pudding moulds, only fill 2/3 of the way up.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
While still hot, poke about 10 holes on the surface of the pudding. Spoon over 1 tbsp of Butterscotch Sauce per Pudding. Leave to soak 10 minutes.
Turn pudding moulds upside down on serving plate. Serve warm with remaining warm sauce and ice cream or cream.
Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Once butter is melted, stir, then bring to simmer.
Simmer for 2 minutes, stirring once, then remove from heat. Serve warm.
- Dates sub: Prunes can also be used but change as follows: Use 1 1/4 cups boiling water, simmer with prunes in saucepan for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir through bicarb, cool then mash per recipe. Proceed with recipe.
- Moulds: My pudding moulds are 210ml 5 x 8 cm. Any size is fine, just fill 2/3 of the way up - need a bit of room for the sauce to pool around the edges. Large muffin tins will also work. If using standard muffin tins, just pour the sauce over a bit at a time, giving it time to soak in. Makes 12 standard muffins - they aren't as tall as pictured.
- This gives the pudding its dark brown colour. Unless you mash well and mix well into the batter, the cake ends up a pale golden colour with splotches of dates.
- General notes:
- This recipe probably makes more sauce than you need - but it's better to err on the side of caution!
- An electric beater will make your life easier but a whisk + wooden spoon will work fine too without exerting yourself too much. Just make sure your butter is well softened and easy to mix by hand.
- Poking holes into the pudding and pouring the sauce over to soak stains the pudding sponge a darker colour as well as adding more moisture into the pudding.
- Sticky Date Pudding is indulgent and very sweet, from both the dates + sugar in sauce. If you don't have a sweet tooth, this dessert is not for you! To reduce sweetness, you can skimp on the sauce. Or make a lighter, less sweet sauce as follows: Use half the sugar, butter and cream, make per recipe. When it simmers, add 1 cup low fat milk, then 2 tsp cornflour/corn-starch dissolved in 1 tbsp water. Simmer to thicken.
- Make Ahead: Exceptional for reheating because it's so moist. Poke the holes and soak with sauce, reserve remaining sauce for serving. Best way to reheat is in the microwave because it keeps the pudding moist.
Self-saucing chocolate pudding
1 cup (175g) brown sugar, loosely packed (Note 1)
1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder, unsweetened (Note 2)
1 1/4 cups (315ml) boiling water
1 cup (150g) plain flour (all purpose flour)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup (70g) white sugar, preferably caster/super fine but ordinary ok
1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder, unsweetened (Note 2)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
50 g / 4 1/2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 170C/335F (standard) / 150C/305F (fan forced / convection).
Grease a 5 - 6 cup baking dish with butter. (Note 3)
Topping: Whisk brown sugar and cocoa in a bowl, set aside.
Whisk flour, baking powder, caster sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl.
In a separate bowl or jug, whisk together the butter and milk, then whisk in the egg and vanilla.
Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until combined - it will be a thick batter.
Spread into baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar / cocoa mixture. Shake gently to spread out thinly.
Carefully pour the hot water over the back of a dessert spoon all over the top of the pudding - see photo in post or video below recipe. (Note 4)
Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when poked lightly. The top will be a bit crusty, like the top of brownies.
Remove from oven, stand for just a few minutes (no more!), then serve immediately. (Note 5)
- Light or dark brown sugar is fine.
- Use Dutch Processed cocoa powder if you can. It's the up-market cocoa powder, it's darker and has a more intense flavour. But normally I just use run of the mill cocoa powder.
- 5 to 6 cups is around 1.25 - 1.5 litres / quarts. The dish pictured is 25 x 20 x 4.5 cm / 10 x 8 x 2.75". I often make this in a 20 x 20cm / 8 x 8" square pan or baking dish which yields a slightly thicker cake.
- The purpose of pouring the water over the spoon as you pour it over the top of the pudding is to try to try to make the water pour gently onto the surface so you can a smooth surface.
- The pudding needs to be served warm because the longer it stands, the more the sauce is absorbed into the cake and thickens up. Leftovers are lovely if reheated in the microwave because the chocolate becomes all melty again, but you don't get as much sauce as when it is made fresh.
I like to serve mine with ice cream or cream and strawberries. Sometimes I dust it with icing sugar / confectionary sugar to make it look prettier.
Golden Syrup dumplings
1 cup self-raising flour
To taste salt
20g unsalted butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
30g unsalted butter
1 2/3 cup water
To serve: runny cream
Sift self-raising flour into a bowl and add a pinch of salt.
Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs, add the whisked egg and stir to combine.
Gently add the milk and mix till the dough just comes together and resembles a scone mix (do not over work the dough). Set aside.
Combine all sauce ingredients into a large fry pan. Bring to the boil to amalgamate before reducing heat to a gentle simmer.
Flour your hands and roll the dough into the size of a twenty-cent piece. Place the balls onto a tray.
Slip the balls off the baking paper all together into the syrup. Cover the fry pan with foil to form a tight seal and cover with the lid.
Cook for about 10 minutes before turning over to cook for another 10 minutes on the other side.
Remove with a slotted spoon and serve with the remaining sauce and a jug of runny cream.
Dark chocolate and orange panna cotta
sunflower or vegetable oil, for greasing
1 litre/1¾pints pouring double cream
200g/8oz plain chocolate, finely chopped (50% cocoa solids is fine)
100g/3½oz caster sugar
4 leaves platinum grade gelatine or 9 leaves regular gelatine, soaked in water for 10 minutes.
Very lightly oil the pudding basins or ramekins.
Heat the double cream in a small pan until it comes to the boil. Remove from the heat, then stir in the chocolate and stir continuously until the chocolate has completely melted.
Grate the zest of four oranges and add it to the chocolate cream. Squeeze the juice from two oranges and add eight tablespoons of the juice to the chocolate mixture with the sugar. Set aside all the remaining oranges.
When the gelatine has softened, remove it from the water, shake off any excess water and place the gelatine into the hot chocolate mixture - stir until dissolved.
Strain the mixture through a sieve and then divide equally between the oiled pudding basins.
Place in the fridge and allow the panna cotta to set overnight or for at least six hours.
Meanwhile, prepare the orange segments. Using a serrated knife, cut off all the peel and white pith from the remaining oranges (including the one that you have zested), working over a bowl to catch the juices. Cut between the orange membranes to remove the segments. Place the orange segments into the juice and chill in the fridge with the panna cottas.
To turn out, fill a bowl with boiling water, then dip the moulds for just a second into the boiling water - no longer or the mixture will melt too much. Invert the moulds onto a plate to serve, with a few orange segments on each plate.
Food can act as a catalyst in improving the lives of older adults and helping to create new memories during mealtimes. With that in mind it’s time for treats!
A break from cooking or a chance to experience new things.
Lifeview suggest regular takeaway nights with a bought pizza and beer or having your own Amazing Race and traveling the world with a variety of cultural cuisines- Egyptian, African and Mauritian!
Main image: Edward Howell