All I Want For Christmas is Stew


Durham has recently been hit by freezing cold temperatures and a remarkable amount of rain, and it is during these times that we feel the need for warm, comforting winter recipes that make returning home in a sodden or frozen state bearable after a hard day of lectures or sport commitments.

Vegetarian Chilli Marrakech      


This is a wonderfully warm, spicy and tasty Moroccan dish, which is ideal for pleasing a crowd. I often dedicate an hour to cook this gorgeous chilli, which is ideal for cooking in bulk and freezing, or for feeding for a large house full of hungry people. My latest hack is buying packs of root ginger and freezing them, as I never end up using the full amount and grating straight from frozen. This recipe admittedly involves quite a lot of chopping but is definitely worth it.

Serves 10


  • ½ teaspoon of ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 3 onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 tbsp of grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 x 400g cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp of paprika and ground cinnamon
  • ½ tbsp of ground coriander
  • 3 tbsp of harissa paste
  • 3 red peppers, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 40g of fresh coriander
  • 500ml of vegetable stock


  1. Add the ginger, cumin and garlic to your largest non-stick pan or wok and heat for a few minutes.
  2. Stir in the tomatoes, remaining spices and harissa. Add the pepper, chick peas, ¾ of the chopped coriander (save some to serve) and the stock. Cover and cook for approximately forty minutes, stirring occasionally (don’t worry, you can do other things at the same time, just keep an eye on it!) until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat, scatter the remaining coriander on top, and serve.


Nanna’s minestrone soup


This soup is borrowed from my grandma and is a marvellous concoction of whatever vegetables you have lying around, as many of the ingredients are interchangeable. However, it is a perfect, comforting meal to come home to, especially when served with some crusty bread. Also, if you like a little kick, feel free to add a sprinkle of curry powder or chilli flakes for some extra spice. This recipe may seem long-winded but is ideal for weekend cooking, is very low maintenance and perfect for reheating on cold days as it can be left in the fridge.

Serves 2


  • 50g of streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 175g of carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 225g of leeks, washed and finely chopped
  • 175g of green cabbage, finely chopped (can also use courgettes)
  • 25g of butter
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 5 litres of vegetable stock
  • 75g of macaroni pasta
  • 1 ½ tbsp of fresh or dried basil
  • 1 tbsp of tomato puree
  • 2 tbsp of chopped parsley (optional)


  1. Heat the butter and oil in a large sauce pan, add the bacon and cook for 2-3 minutes before adding the celery and carrots, then the chopped tomatoes.
  2. Stir in the crushed garlic and some seasoning, then cover very gently for 20 minutes to allow the vegetables to sweat, giving them an occasional stir.
  3. Pour in the stock along with the basil. Continue to simmer gently and cover for an hour.
  4. Add the leeks, cabbage and macaroni and cook for a further 30 minutes.
  5. Finally, stir in the tomato puree, cook for a further five minutes and, just before serving, stir in the parsley. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese or cheddar and serve.


Cumberland sausage, leek, broccoli and potato hash

This recipe has been tried, tested and enjoyed by willing housemates and is a perfect, filling and nutritious delight. This is an excellent recipe to cook in bulk, keep in the fridge and then microwave when needed. You can also substitute the leeks or broccoli for cabbage depending on your personal preference.

Serves 4


  • 1 onion, sliced finely
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 6 plump sausages
  • 6 potatoes thinly sliced
  • 200g of thinly sliced leeks
  • 200g of chopped broccoli
  • 1 tbsp of creamed horse radish sauce (optional)
  • 100g of mature cheddar, grated


  1. Cook sliced potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 5-10 minutes until moderately soft, then set aside.
  2. Heat half the oil in a large heavy-based frying pan. Fry the sausages gently for 8-10 minutes until well browned. Remove sausages, roughly slice them diagonally and set aside.
  3. Turn down the heat to medium and add the remaining oil to the pan. Add the onion, potatoes, broccoli and leeks and give everything a good stir. Cook until the potatoes are slightly crispy and the vegetables are tender, turning them over from time to time. This should take between 15-20 minutes.
  4. Toss the sausages back in along with the horseradish to taste and heat through for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, sprinkle in the cheese, season well and stir gently to combine. Serve.

I hope you enjoy!

Photographs: and ADTeasdale via Flickr

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