Warm-up Winter Food Guide plus Immune Boosting Garlic Soup

Chillier nights, misty mornings and crispy breezes have stopped by quite suddenly this year. Warm up your insides with hearty winter meals using seasonal ingredients and try my immune boosting garlic soup recipe.

Now is the perfect time to fire up some simple home-cooked hearty plates and bowls whilst warming your fingers and toes next to a purring stove as the windows fog up from the inside.

Winter food doesn’t need to be all about stodgy stews and heavy meals that lead us to putting on our very own extra coat or in-built winter blanket. 

Slow cooking comes into its own in winter and one of my favourite slow dishes to make is slow cooked lamb shanks.  It’s a simple and delicious recipe served with quinoa or brown rice on the side. If you’re a vegetarian, try some slow cooked green beans.  When making family meals, shepherd’s pie with cauliflower mash is hearty and goes down a treat.  If you're lacking inspiration, you can also find a whole bunch of my top 10 family sit-down meals here

Aim to try and find good quality ingredients such as meat and fresh in-season vegetables for winter meals, and add them and to broths and soups, to ensure the dishes are packed with nutrients, rather than adding stock cubes or pre-prepared casserole mixes which are usually full of unnecessary additives and excess oils.  You might like this hearty pea soup.

If you have a little time, do try and make some homemade stock and freeze it for when you need it next, if you have a slow cooker it’s really simple to make and leave to it’s own devices.  Then you can freeze it onto ice cube trays and just pop one or two out when you need them.  There are also some good quality store bought stocks you can keep in the fridge to use as a base for a soup. Or try my basic stock here.

Soups are a wonderful winter version of salads, and you can get really creative, once you have made a base of celery, onions, garlic and capsicum with some stock, then you can throw in whatever vegetables you have on hand and make new variations as you like.

In case you’re wondering what is in abundance right now, here is my seasonal vegetable guide to winter.

Artichokes Onions
Broad Beans Parsley
Beetroot

Parsnip

Broccoli Peas
Brussels Sprouts Potatoes
Cabbage Rhubarb
Carrots Silverbeet
Cauliflower Spinach
Celery Spring onion
Leeks Turnips
Lettuce  

As we progress through July familiarise yourself with vitamin C rich root vegetables such as turnips, beetroots and carrots. Take note of what’s in season and take a list with you next time you go shopping.

Fill your fridge with these ingredients and try using them in a number of different ways. Mashed cauliflower is always a pleasant surprise when tried for the first time and a creamy mash is created simply by mashing or blending some steamed cauliflower and adding butter or olive oil or even almond butter for a little twist.  

Try steaming, stewing or roasting any seasonal winter vegetables and see what new winter creations you can come up with.

Garlic is one of the best foods to eat during the winter season to keep colds and flus at bay. I’d love you to try my Immune Boosting Garlic Soup recipe below and let me know what you think.  It’s a very light, broth style soup that uses garlic and turmeric as the ammunition to fight off pesky winter sniffles.  I hope you enjoy it. 

Immune Boosting Garlic Soup

Serves 3

Ingredients
3 garlic bulbs, whole, unpeeled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
40 g (11/2 oz) unsalted butter
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) homemade vegetable or chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs, such as oregano, thyme and sage (optional)
60 ml (2 fl oz/1/4 cup) additive-free coconut milk (optional)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (345°F/Gas 3–4).
2. Cut the top off each garlic bulb, place on a baking tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Transfer to the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Remove and leave to cool.
3. Once cooled, squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins into a small bowl. Transfer to a food processor and whizz for a few seconds. Set aside.
4. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 10–15 minutes, or until translucent. Stir in the chicken stock, turmeric, cumin, vinegar, blended garlic, salt, pepper and herbs, if using, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium–low, cover and cook for 30 minutes. Serve hot.

NOTE: If you would like a creamier soup, stir in the coconut milk just before serving, and heat through.

Supercharged Tip 
Roasting the garlic first will provide a mellow, sweet flavour so you can sip and slurp with wild abandon.

What kind of dishes do you like to cook in winter?

Do you have a question for Lee? Ask her here

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