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Winter Warmers Made Easy

Winter Warmers Made Easy

The winter months bring with them cold and often dreary weather. But, one of the best parts about the season is the chance to enjoy some warming winter favourites. Soups, stews and roasts – who can resist? Of course, standing over the stove is not exactly ideal, so we’ve compiled three of our favourite kitchen appliances for winter.

These kitchen helpers take much of the work off your hands, and eliminate the need to spend hours at work on lunch and dinner. That means more time to relax and more exciting meals for the whole family!

Soup Maker

Soups of all varieties and flavours are the quintessential winter warmers. Depending on your preferred recipe, they can also come out quite cost-effective when making use of seasonal produce. In fact, one of the best parts about making soup can be ‘winging it’ and throwing in different types of produce, without a recipe. As long as the ingredients are of a good quality, and the most flavourful ingredients (like chicken stock) are balanced well, you’re almost guaranteed of a great tasting result.

Pumpkin Soup

A creamy pumpkin soup can be accomplished in about 30 minutes with the Kambrook Soup Simple.

It gets even easier with a dedicated soup maker, like the Soup Simple from Kambrook. Rather than using a hand blender, or transferring a soup mixture to a regular blender when done, the Soup Simple has an inbuilt blade, so it cooks from start to finish. No stirring, no watching the pot on the stovetop. It’s even got a countdown timer for when the soup will be done.

Tips for Great Soup

  • Brown up your onions on the stovetop with some butter before adding to the soup maker. Cook slowly on low heat to avoid burning. When they’re nearly done, add some water to the pan to pick up all that flavour coating the bottom.
  • Mix it up with winter veggies. Think parsnip, broccoli, celeriac, pumpkin and zucchini.
  • Take your dish to another level with a crunchy topping, like kale! While your soup is cooking, tear a few leaves into shreds, oil them well and then bake in a low oven until crispy.
  • Hot, crusty bread never goes astray with soup of any variety.

Slow Cooker

It’s no secret that we love our Slow Cookers at Betta. We’ve written about them on the blog plenty, and with good reason. They typically shine in wintertime, when stews and roasts reign supreme. We’re not overstating it when we say you can cook pretty much anything in a slow cooker, from a curry to a whole chicken.

A slow cooked lamb stew, with big vegetable chunks.

A slow cooked lamb stew, with big vegetable chunks.

If you want to start dinner in the morning and come home in the evening to a ready–to-serve dish, a slow cooker is the answer. After all, you can’t exactly pop a casserole in the oven and then head out for the day (definitely do not ever do this), unlike a slow cooker.  One of the best slow cooker features is the Keep Warm setting, which will keep dinner at just the right temperature for a number of hours until you get home.

Tips for Your Slow Cooker

  • Try making everything in it; the only limit is your imagination!
  • Shoulder cuts of meat come up beautifully (think lamb or pork). Just brown them on the stovetop, and sit them on a bed of root veggies. Add a little liquid and set!
  • Try not to fiddle with your food while it’s cooking. Removing the lid lets the heat escape, and that’s no good.

Deep Fryer

Fried food is just wonderful. It’s delicious, it’s hot and it’s so satisfyingly crispy. In winter, perfectly cooked hot chips really do hit the spot. But, (to address the elephant in the kitchen), it’s not the healthiest option. For sure, it should be enjoyed in moderation. When you do treat the family, however, you want to do it well.

Usually home deep-frying means using a large pot on the stovetop, filled with oil. This is a fine approach, but it doesn’t have the built-in safety features of a dedicated deep fryer. This one from Breville is particularly great, with temperature regulated and always easy to see. Plus all food is cooked with the cover on, reducing opportunities for splatter.

Tips for Frying Chips

  • Cut thick chips from good-quality potatoes, and parboil them, just until slightly soft.
  • You can let chips cool before moving them into the fryer
  • Fry chips twice. Fry first to get some colour, then remove and start a new batch. When all batches are fried once, repeat the cycle to finish them off. They’ll be crispy on the outside and fluffy inside!

So, what’s your favourite winter warmer and how do you cook it? Let us know in the comments below!