For lunch, dinner and even the morning after, a hearty soup hits the right spot.
There is nothing that comforts more in the depths of winter than a hot bowl of soup. It's the perfect lunch. When I worked in an office I would take soup to lunch most days and have toast on the side. I didn't realise how easy it was to make until a few years ago and since then there has been no stopping me.
Throughout winter, it's easy to have big, hearty slow-cooked meals all the time. The great thing about soup is that it can be really healthy and good for you, but still leave you feeling nourished and warmed.
Almost everyone has a favourite recipe for pumpkin soup and this is mine. A few years ago, though, my Aunt Robyn made me a version with Thai red curry paste and it was definitely the best pumpkin soup ever.
Because pumpkin is so sweet, it needs spices as a counter and to add to the flavour. My friend Alice makes a version with ginger and cinnamon that works well, too.
The problem I always had making for this soup was cutting the pumpkin. Not having a good sharp cook's knife led to years of kitchen mishaps. I had heard microwaving it whole before cutting helps and I learned this time around that roasting it whole in the oven, before cutting off the skin and removing the seeds works, too.
You have to be careful because it gets hot - leave it to cool a while first!
Adding to the Asian theme, have a go at making your own flatbreads or roti. There are lots of good recipes online and most of them are just flour and water.
It's always good to get your greens in winter, too and a whole head of broccoli goes well in this kumara and blue cheese recipe. The kumara's sweetness and the intensity of the cheese are balanced by the broccoli, which is amazingly creamy when cooked and blended.
Blue cheese is not everyone's cup of tea, but I love the stuff and it ties this recipe together. The kumara will fill you up, too, so it's a great one if you're on the run and away from a toaster.
The chorizo and chickpea is adapted from an old Nigella Lawson recipe, although hers uses black beans. My friends made it for me for lunch one Sunday a few years ago - they swear by it for a hangover cure! It's a spicy broth, but the coriander and the lime cut through, making it a cleansing, warming, bowl of goodness.
So crank up the fire, bust out the woollies and get cooking. These are easy, quick and comforting dinners, perfect when it's cold outside.