As we hit winter, those of us who live in the cooler parts of Australia start to think of the pleasures of the season, writes Julie Houghton.
What I love about winter is the way the cold weather encourages us to indulge in comfort food, warming our insides against the icy blasts outside.
And even if we live in the warmer parts of our great country, the slight change in temperature might lead us to enjoy a change of food style for a while.
After all, isn’t comfort food for everyone?
For some of us it’s a junk food treat of a hot pie and sauce or some jam doughnuts when you are cheering on your team while the cold winds swirl about you. For others it might be a trip to a local cafe to enjoy a hot chocolate with marshmallows.
There’s something about warming our insides that makes us feel more mellow and gives us the ability to carry on when the weather isn’t the kind to make us venture out.
While hot pies and doughnuts are certainly part of the comfort food repertoire, obviously it wouldn’t be a good idea to have them too often. So let’s consider some delicious but healthy comfort food to get us through winter.
My favourite cool weather comfort foods are homemade soups. They have the advantage of being filling and can be a complete meal with a side serve of toast or crusty bread. If we are on a very tight budget, as many are, they also have the virtue of being one of the cheapest meals we can make—as well as being one of the most delicious. I love the fact that homemade soups can be enjoyed by anyone with access to a stove and a stick blender, and can sustain us without breaking the bank.
Good food is such an important part of taking care of our health, and the Bible shows us that God must have had this in mind when we read the story of the Garden of Eden—“Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.’” (Genesis chapter 1, verse 29)
Both comfort and food are very important elements in the Bible—comfort is mentioned 71 times and food gets 373 references!
So putting the two words together sounds like a pretty good idea to me. I hope you enjoy making some hearty Spicy Roast Pumpkin and Chickpea soup, or our Cheat’s French Onion and Vegetable soup from our recipes below. Bon appetit!
Cheat’s French Onion and Vegetable Soup
1 packet French Onion soup (salt-reduced is best but not essential)
1 chopped onion1
large zucchini, diced
1 large carrot, diced
3 celery sticks, diced
½ red capsicum, diced (optional)
Make soup according to packet directions, add chopped vegetables, bring to boil and simmer until vegetables are soft. Blend with a stick blender and serve with toast or crusty bread.
Spicy Roast Pumpkin and Chick Pea Soup
½ butternut pumpkin
1 chopped onion
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp Dijon or mild mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 can chick peas, drained
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock, made with stock powder or cubes
pinch of salt
¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
Cut pumpkin in pieces, leaving skin on, and roast in oven until soft. In a large saucepan, fry onion, sweet chilli sauce, mustard and honey. Add cooked pumpkin, chick peas, stock, salt and chilli flakes. Bring to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Blend and enjoy!