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Three comforting recipes to warm up your winter months

With its drizzly days and cold, damp nights, January can be bleak- making comforting food even more important. In a noble attempt to lift spirits amongst these dreary times, I have compiled three easy winter warmers for you to try.

By Isabella Fish, First year English student

With its drizzly days and cold, damp nights, winter can be bleak- making comforting food even more important. In a noble attempt to lift spirits amongst these dreary times, I have compiled three easy winter warmers for you to try.

1. Warming spicy tomato and chickpea soup. (V, VE, GF)

Heinz is good and everything, but I promise that once you have tried this you will never go back. This recipe makes approx. 4-6 bowls and is easy-peasy to make.

What you will need:

  • 2 x 796 ml cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 540 ml can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 540 ml can of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 235ml vegetable stock
  • 50g tahini
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 – 2 cayenne peppers, depending on your heat preference
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • Parmesan, rocket and olive oil to serve (optional for vegans)


  1. Add all the ingredients into a large saucepan and simmer for 10 minutes until everything has softened.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a blender, or purée in the saucepan with a handheld blender. Blend until the mixture is thick and creamy with some bits of kidney beans remaining. If you like it smoother, blend for a little longer.

  3. Add to bowls and top with parmesan cheese, rocket and a drizzle of olive oil. Season as desired.

  4. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy within 3-4 days.

orange sauce in bowl
Photo by Sara Dubler / Unsplash

2. Aubergine Tikka Masala (V, VE, GF)

(Mildly) spice up your life and reduce your carbon footprint by swapping chicken for aubergine with this delicious vegan curry.

What you will need:

  • 150g Coconut Cream (available at most supermarkets)
  • 3 Aubergines
  • 3 tsp Cumin
  • 1 1/2tsp Turmeric
  • 3 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 3 tsp Chilli Powder
  • Garlic
  • 2 Onions
  • Knob of Ginger
  • 800ml Passata
  • Tomato Purée
  • 400g Basmati Rice and/or Naan bread
  • Coriander to garnish


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C.

  2. Cut the aubergines into strips, salt them, and leave for 10 minutes. Pat dry with some kitchen roll and place in a bowl with one teaspoon of turmeric and two teaspoons of chilli powder, ground coriander and cumin. Season and mix.

  3. Heat a griddle pan until very hot. Add your aubergines in batches, cooking on a high heat for 3-4 minutes each side until charred. Place the chargrilled aubergine into a dish and oven cook for 10—12 minutes.

  4. Meanwhile, slice up two onions and add to a large pan with a good drizzle of olive oil. Cook on a medium heat until the onions are caramelised.

  5. Add a finely chopped clove of garlic and a chopped knob of ginger to the onions. Mix before adding half a teaspoon of turmeric and a teaspoon each of chilli powder, ground coriander and cumin. Mix everything together before adding a heaped tablespoon of tomato purée.

  6. Stir and then pour in 800ml passata. Mix again.

  7. Next, add your coconut cream. Stir it through, and then bring the sauce to the boil. Once it is bubbling, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer and thicken for 2 minutes. Finally, stir in your aubergine. Pour in 300ml water, bring to a simmer and then cover for 15 minutes and cook on a medium heat.

  8. Whilst the curry is cooking, cook your rice and/or naan bread by following pack instructions.

  9. Enjoy your aubergine tikka masala over a bed of steaming rice and/or naan bread and garnish with some chopped coriander.

3. Chicken Dauphinoise Potato Bake

One for the meat eaters in search of stodge, this recipe makes 5 – 6 servings of heart-warming goodness. Veggies could substitute chicken with mushrooms (which could also be added if desired) or other meat-free alternatives.

What you will need:

  • 3 x chicken breasts
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 heaped tsp dried tarragon
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 50g butter, sliced
  • 400g charlotte potatoes
  • 100g cheddar cheese

For the sauce:

  • 350ml double cream
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp plain flour


  1. Preheat your oven to 200˚C and grease a roasting dish (8 x 10” or similar) with oil

  2. Slice the chicken breasts into bite size pieces, season and seal with the garlic in a frying pan with a splash of oil until nicely golden. Transfer to the roasting dish and set aside.

  3. Either manually or using a food processor, slice the potatoes very thinly (approx. 3mm).

  4. Into a saucepan, pour 150ml milk, the cream, one bay leaf, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk two tablespoons of flour with 100ml milk until smooth.

  6. Pour this mixture into the saucepan with the sauce ingredients and stir well. Simmer until it begins to thicken.

  7. Pour a third of the sauce over the chicken. Layer the sliced potatoes on the top. Pour the rest of the sauce over the potatoes, sprinkle with cheese, top with slices of butter and bake uncovered for one hour. Enjoy!

Featured image:Unsplash/Osman Rana

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