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Winter Warmers

Published Sunday, 07 December, 2014 by Claire Keen

As a student we are all constantly living off of our loans, making them stretch as far as we possibly can. However it has got to that time of year where we are scrimping and saving until it’s time to go home for Christmas, waiting to come back to start the second semester with the brand new installment of our student loan; therefore it is important to make our food to keep us fuller for longer. With December seeing the beginning of winter and the nights are fully drawn in it is important as well to make sure the food we eat keeps us not only full, but warm.

Here are some winter warmer recipe ideas:

Firstly my personal favourite is butternut squash soup. It’s warm, slightly spicy and perfect for those cold nights or chilly lunchtimes. I like to make a batch that will serve roughly four people and freeze them in serving portions ready for the next time. Don’t forget to also use the seeds, roasting them off in a tray in the oven with a little bit of pepper works as a wonderful alternative to croutons. This recipe costs roughly 25p per portion (excluding store cupboard ingredients).

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash
1 large onion (2 small onions)
1 tsp of basil (store cupboard)
½ tsp of chilli flakes (store cupboard)
1 vegetable stock cube (store cupboard)
Salt and pepper to taste (store cupboard)
Hot water

Method:

1) Chop the butternut squash into small chunks, the smaller the chunks the quicker cooking time. Then chop the onion into equally small chunks, add both to a saucepan.

2) Add the basil, chilli flakes, salt and pepper, and broken up stock cube to the pan.

3) Add boiling hot water until everything is covered completely. The less water added the thicker the soup will be.

4) Bring to the boil and simmer for roughly 30 minutes or until everything is tender.

5) Once cooked, take off the heat and blend until completely smooth, this is another chance to add salt and pepper to taste.

6) If freezing, portion out the soup and leave to go completely cold before putting into the freezer.

Secondly, a perfect pudding is a winter fruit salad. With a hint of cinnamon this is a lovely alternative for a heart-warming but healthy pudding using up the cheaper in season produce available at this time of year and serves six people. This recipe costs roughly 70p per portion (excluding store cupboard ingredients).

Ingredients:

600g of fruits (such as prunes, pears, apricots, figs, cranberries and apples)
3 tbsp clear honey
½ tsp vanilla essence (store cupboard)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1tsp of cinnamon (store cupboard)
700ml of cold water

Method:

1) Tip the fruits and 700ml cold water into a large saucepan. Add the honey and vanilla into the pan and bring to the boil. Stir well, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until slightly syrupy.

2) Take the pan off the heat and tip the fruits into the liquid then pour over the lemon juice and cinnamon. Ensure it is all thoroughly mixed through and chill until ready to serve.

These two recipes are some of my favourite winter warmer recipes as they use seasonal produce and are cheap and relatively easy to make. So get your flatmates round the table, all chip in to buy the ingredients and make some lovely meals, it will soon be the end of the first semester so make the most of it!

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