Slow Recipes For Slow Winter Days

6 Dec 2021

 Winter cooking

On these gorgeously cosy winter days (yeah, I really am a sucker for this time of year), I find spending a leisurely day in the kitchen really soothing. There are just some recipes that are designed to be made when the weather is cold and you have an abundance of time to let things prove or simmer whilst you meander about in knitwear. These are three of my favourite recipes to make on such days.

Nigella’s sandwich loaf

By far, my favourite bread recipe to make. You need to get going on a weekend morning if you want it ready for lunch as it involves two proves but if you’re baking during the winter, you can use the central heating to speed things up a little. I find the whole process of making this loaf very therapeutic so think it’s an excellent way to start the weekend.

The original recipe can be found in Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson.

You will need:
500g strong white flour
7g fast action yeast
2 teaspoon caster sugar
Generous pinch of salt
125ml sour cream
150ml cold water
100ml boiling water

Mix the flour, yeast, sugar and salt.

Mix the sour cream, cold water and boiling water.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring as you go and bring together to form a rough ball of sticky dough. Cover and leave for 10 minutes.

Drizzle a little oil on the kitchen counter and spread into a light sheen big enough to knead on. Knead the dough for 10 seconds (I find this very therapeutic so it’s hard to only do for such a short amount of time!), bring back into a ball, cover and leave for 10 minutes. Repeat twice.

Knead for a third time and then cover again and leave to rise for an hour. I put the bowl into the warm boiler cupboard at this point which usually means the dough has doubled in size after about 40 minutes.

Line the bottom of a loaf tin (2lb) and lightly grease. Lightly flatten out the dough (only a little bit) on the kitchen counter and then tightly roll it like a Swiss roll. Place it seam-side down into the tin. Leave to rise for another hour until just poking out the top – I usually balance it on the warm radiator which often knocks off a good chunk of this time. 

When ready, bake at 180c (fan) for 45 minutes.

Nigella sandwich loaf

Sausage, onion & red wine pasta

From my favourite recipe book, Midnight Chicken (reviewed here), this recipe involves minimal prep and should be left alone to simmer on the hob. It’s one to be made on a slow weekend evening whilst sipping on a glass of wine, listening to a great album and occasionally stirring. Trust me, the taste is worth the wait.

The original recipe can be found in Midnight Chicken (And Other Recipes Worth Living For) by Ella Risbridger.

You will need (serves 2):
1 large red onion, very finely sliced
1 tsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
4 sausages, chopped.
400g tin tomatoes
150ml red wine
1 sprig of rosemary
1 tsp chilli flakes
50g parmesan (and the rind if you have it)
2 tbsp double cream

In a large frying pan, melt the butter on a low heat and add the olive oil. Add the onions and leave to gently fry and caramelise for a minimum of 15 minutes. Add the sausage pieces and fry until browned. Add the tomatoes, wine, rosemary, chilli flakes and parmesan rind if using. Leave to simmer gently for a minimum of 35 minutes. After around 25 minutes, put your pasta on to boil.

When the pasta is nearly ready, fish out the rosemary sprig and parmesan rind from the sauce and add the parmesan and double cream. Stir well. Add the drained pasta and stir well again. Serve up with extra parmesan and a glass of wine if you fancy.

Cinnamon & pecan buns

What’s better during chilly autumnal/Christmassy days then filling the house with the smell of cinnamon? Another one that involves a couple of proves but it is well worth the time spent for the huge sticky buns at the end of it. Perfect for eating on a slow, cosy Sunday afternoon.

This recipe is from the blog Lynsey’s Notebook – you can find it here (along with loads of other delicious recipes!).

You will need: 
For the dough:
500g strong white flour
7g fast action yeast
40g caster sugar
200ml milk
2 large eggs
60g softened butter
For the filling:
80g softened butter 
80g dark brown sugar
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
100g pecan nuts, blitzed in the food processor 
For the glaze:
100g melted butter
100ml maple syrup
50g dark brown sugar
100g pecans, chopped

Mix the flour, sugar and yeast. Gently warm the milk up in a saucepan until it is lukewarm and then add to the dry ingredients along with the eggs and butter. Combine to form a dough. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and shiny.  Leave to rise until doubled in size (I use the boiler cupboard again!). 

Make the filling by mixing the butter, sugar, cinnamon and pecan nuts. 

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle which is roughly 50x30cm long and spread the filling over it. Roll tightly long edge to long edge and then cut into 12 pieces. 

Make the glaze by combining the butter, maple syrup and sugar. Sprinkle the chopped nuts over the bottom of a tin and then pour over the glaze. Lay the buns on top then leave to prove again for another hour. 

Brush the tops of the buns with milk and bake in a pre-heated oven at 170c (fan) for 25 minutes. Leave to cool completely then turn the buns out onto a large cooling rack with the pecan-glaze side as the top. 

Top photo by Gaelle Marcel