Here are our favourite winter warmers, all representing good old hearty British classics. Use seasonal products, which are cheaper, fresher and tastier than ingredients that are not in season.
Classic Roast Lamb with Mint
A leg of lamb with mint is a match made in heaven and the perfect winter warmer. This is best enjoyed with fresh mint, which you can find in many supermarkets, garden centres and farmers' markets.
The key to succulent, melt-in-your-mouth lamb is giving the meat enough resting time directly after cooking. Jamie Oliver, in this recipe, calls for 1 hour 15 minutes (for pink lamb or 1 hour 30 minutes (for well-done lamb) cooking time, followed by a 15-minute resting period. He also creates a fantastic mint sauce with just three ingredients: a bunch of fresh mint, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 3 tablespoons of wine vinegar (serving eight people)
Tip: Chop the mint as finely as possible for the sauce
Think of Shepherds pie and you can instantly imagine yourself in a cosy country barn, watching the dim winter sunlight fade over the frosty fields. This is another brilliant winter classic, best enjoyed with the finest quality beef or lamb mince you can afford. Add some parsley and/or oregano to the beef for some extra flavour. One of the best recipes is Delia Smith's, which includes a cheese-crusted leek topping for extra flavour and texture. Delia also uses a wide range of ingredients such as onion, carrot, swede and tomato purée, which gives the dish a very rich yet balanced flavour, as no single ingredient overpowers the others.
Tip: Allow enough time for the potatoes to dry before you mash them and add as the final layer of the pie. This may take longer than the recipe states, depending on the humidity in your kitchen. The drier they are, the more crisp and golden they'll be once baked! Just make sure everyone gets a good helping of the pie!
Coca Cola Gammon
At first glance, the thought of coca cola in any dish might seem bizarre, but once you've tried coca-cola-infused-gammon, you'll be hooked for life. As Nigella Lawson once said, 'only those who have never tried this raise an eyebrow at the idea'.
In her recipe, Nigella says mild-cure gammon doesn't need to be soaked beforehand, unless it's a salty joint. Simmer the gammon with onion and coke, covered, for just under two and a half hours on a simmer. The magic secret of this recipe is the sweetness of the coke and the pork, which unite to create a totally new savoury flavour.
Tip: For maximum flavour, use full fat coke.
Sunday Roast Chicken
One reason for Britain's enduring love for Sunday roast chicken is that it is so easy to adjust and tailor to your preferences. For example, instead of the classic chicken or vegetable gravy, you could opt for a wine sauce, or add some blackcurrant jelly for extra fruitiness. In this recipe, Gordon Ramsay likes to stuff his chicken with lemon and paprika for extra zing. He also adds a generous amount of white wine into the roasting tray to deepen the flavour.
Tip: If you're preparing a gravy from scratch, make sure the butter and flour have blended, then add the liquid bit by bit. This should help the gravy to thicken up earlier on.
Winter Warmer Gourmet Fish and Chips
While the traditional battered fish with thick chips is often tempting on chilly winter nights, you can make this dish much more elaborate. Bring fish and chips into the 21st century by mixing some honey and vodka into flour to create a flavoursome batter mix for your fish. In this recipe, Heston Blumenthal uses large turbot fillets which are 2-3cm thick.
Tip: Put the batter into the fridge for 30 minutes before frying, ideally using a syphon.
For more recipe inspiration this winter, take a look at our catering company createfood.co.uk.