Hunkering on down, food for winter days.

Looking out of my window this morning there was little to smile about. The mist was coming down and the last few days of crisp dry weather have been replaced by drizzle. The news of more lock downs and restrictions due to Covid did little to lighten the mood. And then I came across this feature we shot (myself and the wonderful photographer Ian Wallace ) for Delicious UK magazine back in 2019. It lifted my spirits (pun intended) with this first shot – hot buttered rum with Parmesan and rosemary melts – The log fire in the background added an extra layer of warmth and comfort. Enjoy.

Serves: 4

Hands-on time: 5 min

4 shots dark rum

8 whole cloves, lightly bashed

1 lemon, sliced thinly

8 tsp caster sugar

600 ml water

25g butter

4 long rosemary sprigs

Divide the rum between 4 tumblers and add 2 cloves, a slice of lemon and 2 teaspoons of sugar to each one, stir well until the sugar is dissolved. Bring the water to a boil, add the butter and stir until melted. Divide between the glasses and add a rosemary sprig to each one. Serve warm with a Parmesan and rosemary biscuit.

Parmesan and rosemary melts

Makes: approx 40 biscuits

Hands-on time: 10 min, plus 15 min resting

Oven time: 10 min

125g plain flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

100g unsalted butter, diced

60g Cheddar or Gruyere, grated

60g Parmesan cheese, grated

1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

1 small egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 190c/170c fan/gas 5. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Place the flour, baking powder and cayenne pepper into a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Then add the cheeses and continue to blend until the dough comes together. 

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a brick shape. Wrap in cling film and chill for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 2 mm thick, to form a rectangle approximately 20cm x 32cm. Cut in half lengthways so you have 2 long thin rectangles. Turn the pastry sideways so one long side is in front of you. Take the knife and cut each one into long triangles. You will have approximately 40 triangles. 

Transfer to the prepared sheets and brush each one with a little beaten egg. Bake for 10 minutes until evenly browned. 

Leave to cool for a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Serve with the rum toddy.

Salad of pan-fried chorizo, caramel apple wedges and walnuts 

Serves: 4

Hand-on time: 12 min

150g chorizo

1 head radicchio, treviso or 2 heads red chicory

30g butter

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 small apples, peeled, cored and sliced thickly

2 tbsp apple balsamic or white wine vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

40g finely chopped walnuts, toasted

a few flat parsley leaves

25g shaved Parmesan cheese

sea salt and pepper

Slice the chorizo into 2 mm thick slices. Trim the end from the radicchio and cut lengthways into 4 thick slices. Season the slices with salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the chorizo and fry for 2-3 minutes until lightly golden and the red oil is released. Drain with a slotted spoon and set to one side. Add the radicchio slices to the pan and fry for 1 minute each side until just warmed through and starting to brown. Remove to warmed plates and set aside.

Wipe the pan clean. Return to the heat and add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. As soon as it is hot, add the apple slices and cook over a medium-high heat for about 2 minutes each side until golden. Add the vinegar, maple syrup and a pinch of salt to the pan and cook over a medium heat for a further 1 minute until the apples are tender. Return the chorizo to the pan along with the walnuts. Stir once.

Spoon the chorizo mixture over the radicchio and top with the parsley leaves and shaved Parmesan. Serve drizzled with a little extra oil, if required.

Honey, cider and thyme roast chicken with carrots, shallots and garlic 

Serves: 4-6

Hands-on time: 15 min

Oven time: 1hr 15 min, plus 15 min resting

4-6 thyme sprigs

50g butter, softened

2kg free-range chicken

12 shallots, peeled and halved

500g carrots, trimmed and halved if large

3 celery sticks, cut into 4

1 head of garlic

2 bay leaves
750ml dry cider

1 tbsp clear honey

sea salt and pepper

Heat the oven to 200c/180c/gas 4. Remove the leaves from half the thyme sprigs and chop finely (you need about 1 tbsp chopped leaves). Combine the butter and chopped thyme leaves in a bowl and season with pepper. Carefully slide your hand up between the skin of the chicken and the breast pressing as far as you can to reach between the meat and skin. Insert half the butter and press flat all over the flesh under the skin. Smooth flat. 

Pop the shallots, carrots, celery, bay leaves and remaining thyme sprigs in a large flameproof casserole. Cut the the head of garlic in half and add to the pan. Arrange the chicken on top and pour in the cider. Bring the pan to the boil on a medium heat, then cover the casserole with a lid and transfer to the oven. Cook for 1 hour.

Beat the honey into the remaining thyme butter and set aside. 

After 1 hour remove the chicken from the oven and spread the honey butter over the breast. Return the casserole to the oven and roast, uncovered for a further 15 minutes or until the skin is golden. Rest for 15 minutes and then carve and serve.

Buttered Kale

Serves: 4

Hands-on time: 10 min

500g kale

40g butter

1 garlic clove, sliced

a pinch red chilli flakes

grated zest and juice 1 lemon

Trim and discard the stalks from the kale and roughly chop the leaves. Rinse under cold water. Shake dry.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan pan and gently fry the garlic, chilli flakes and lemon zest with a little salt and pepper for 3-4 minutes until soft but not browned. Add the kale and stir over a medium heat until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Add a little of the lemon juice and adjust seasonings. Serve with the chicken.

Smashed Potatoes

Serves: 4

Hands-on time: 5 min

Oven time: 50-60 min

1 kg small waxy potatoes such as Charlotte

6 fresh bay leaves, torn

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220c/200c fan/gas 6. Line a roasting tin with baking paper. Place the potatoes in the prepared tin. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, stir well and roast the potatoes for 30 minutes until they are al dente.

Remove from the oven and using a potato masher, mash the potatoes until they are really quite ‘smashed’. Add the bay leaves and remaining oil, stir well and sprinkle with plenty of salt and pepper. Return to the oven for a further 20 minutes or until they are crisp and golden.

Sticky fig and caramel self-saucing pudding 

Serves: 6-8

Hands-on time: 10 min, plus 10 min resting

Oven time: 35 min, plus 10 min cooling

150g dried figs, roughly chopped

125ml boiling water

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

150g self-raising flour

50g ground almonds

110g soft brown sugar

80g melted butter, plus extra butter for greasing

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 large egg, beaten


150g soft brown sugar

300ml single cream

100ml water


1 tbsp icing sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4. Grease a 1.5 litre baking dish. Place the figs, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water in a bowl and leave for 10 minutes to soften. Transfer to a food processor and blend until fairly smooth.

In a bowl, combine the flour, ground almonds and sugar. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the fig puree, melted butter, vanilla essence and beaten egg. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and smooth the surface flat.

Make the sauce. Sprinkle the brown sugar as evenly as you can over the sponge mixture. Meanwhile, heat the cream and water together in a saucepan until it just reaches the boil. Carefully pour the cream mixture over an upside down spoon directly onto the topping allowing it to cover it completely. 

Transfer to the oven and bake for 35 minutes. The sponge will have risen through the sauce which will be melted and gooey underneath. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.

Dust with the icing sugar and cinnamon mixture and serve with ice cream.

© recipes Louise Pickford

© photography Ian Wallace

Shot for Delicious UK magazine January 2019

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