Winter Warmer Recipes for a Hot Date

Friday, January 11th, 2013

A picture of pheasant with parsnip and apple mash on a white plateGood food and a warm fire…no it’s not the start of a dating profile, but the recipe for a perfect third date.

We’ve teamed up with Game to Eat to find a tasty seasonal main course and I’ve added a warming starter and dessert from my repertoire. Expect to spend the afternoon snuggled up in front of the fire after this hearty fare.

Jerusalem artichoke soup with parmesan crisps

Jerusalem artichokes are one of the very few seasonal vegetables available in January and according to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall they are surprisingly easy to grow.

1 small chopped onion
1 clove of crushed garlic
30g of butter
1 teaspoon of oil
500g of Jerusalem artichokes peeled and chopped
500ml of vegetable or chicken stock (try not to use a strongly flavoured stock)
A sprinkling of black pepper
2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese (grated)

*Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius
*Fry the onion in the butter and oil until soft
*Add the garlic, stock and chopped artichoke
*Bring to the boil, then simmer until the artichokes are soft
*While the soup is simmering, place the grated cheese in small circles onto a non-stick tray or a baking sheet  and bake until they are blubbling
*Use a blender or food processor until smooth
*Decant the soup into two bowls
*If you’re feeling fancy, you could drizzle truffle oil or cream onto your soup before sprinkling with a little black pepper.

Pheasant with parsnip and apple mash

With pheasant season in full swing, this full-flavoured recipe makes full use of this meaty bird and is a great alternative to serving apple with pork.

375g floury potatoes such as Maris Piper
110g parsnips
1 small Cox’s or Granny Smith’s apple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
15g butter
1 tbsp crème fraiche
1 tbsp each chopped fresh chives and parsley

10g butter, softened
1 tsp plain flour
2 pheasant breast fillets/supremes
1 tsp olive oil
25ml white wine
100ml chicken stockroot vegetable crisps to garnish


*Mash: Peel the potatoes and parsnips, cut into even size chunks. Boil in separate pans of lightly salted boiling water for 15 mins until tender, adding the apple to the parsnip pan for the final 5 mins drain well.
*Return to one pan. Stir over a low heat for 1 min to drive off the excess moisture. Remove from the heat and mash with butter. Stir in the crème fraiche, herbs and seasoning. Keep hot until ready to serve.
*Pheasant: Mix the butter and flour together in a small bowl or cup. Set aside.
*Heat the oil in a non-stick or heavy based frying pan. Add the pheasant breasts, skin side down and fry over a medium-high heat for 1 min until golden brown. Turn over.
*Add the wine to the pan. Allow to boil rapidly for a few seconds until reduced by about two thirds.
*Pour in the stock and reduce the heat. Cook at simmering point for a further 5 mins until the pheasant breasts are just cooked through, then remove from the stock and keep warm.
*Turn up the heat, whisk the butter and flour mixture into the stock in small pieces, continue whisking until the sauce boils and thickens slightly.

Mulled plum crumble

Admittedly plums aren’t in season, but there’s something very winter-like about having a warm stodgy crumble and they freeze well, so you may still have some left over from the summer. This hybrid recipe includes winter spices, wine and almonds for a bit of a twist on the classic recipe


3 plums
3 tablespoons of sugar
2 teaspoons of ground almonds
2 tablespoons of flour
2 tablespoons of butter/margarine
½ teaspoon of mixed spice
2 tablespoons of red wine/mulled wine/sherry
Orange zest


*Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius/ gas mark 4
*Rub the flour, butter, almonds and 2 tablespoons of sugar together with your fingertips until it resembles bread crumbs
*Put the remaining sugar, wine, spices and orange zest into a pan and heat until it forms a light syrup
*De-stone the plums, cut them in to segments and arrange them in the bottom of two oven safe ramekin dishes
*Pour the syrup over the plums
*Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top
*Bake for 25 minutes or until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit is soft when you poke it with a skewer.

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