Winter Bites

It’s the time of year when the cold weather can dictate what we need to eat in order to keep us warm inside.

After a long refreshing walk outside in the cold winter air, it’s nice to come home to a roaring fire and a hot meal to warm you up. So, why not try this 3 course winter warmer.



Serves Four People


600g floury potatoes, peeled and diced approx 2cm cubes
1 med size leek, washed and cut small
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 large sticks of Celery, chopped small
50g butter
20 ml oil
750 ml of good stock


  1. In a suitable saucepan (I use non stick) heat the oil and when really hot add the butter and then the shallots and celery
  2. Fry this until translucent then add the leek stirring well
  3. When the leek becomes soft, add the potatoes and the stock
  4. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and let simmer until the potatoes are very soft
  5. Add the seasoning and blend to a smooth consistency
  6. To avoid separation add some flour and butter mix, re-boil and after adjusting its density, rest on very low heat until required

P.S The soup can be prepared in advance and reheated when required.



For this dish I usually ask a butcher to select the meat especially

Serves Four People


600g of corner Gammon, either smoked or green
100g of soft brown sugar
Some 30 cloves



  1. Soak the meat overnight
  2. With fresh water, bring the meat to the boil and then simmer for 1 hour
  3. Take the pan away from the heat and let it cool for I hour
  4. Take the meat out and place it onto an oven dish
  5. Remove the skin from the meat leaving all the fat
  6. Stick all the cloves regularly on the fat and then spread all the sugar
  7. Bake the meat in a hot oven at 200º C for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 120º C for a further 20 minutes.
  8. Rest for a while and serve sliced

P.S. Try to slice the meat as thin as possible as it may be chewy
P.P.S. This dish can be prepared in advance and reheated in an oven at 120ºC




Serves Four People


500g potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
200 ml of hot milk
60g butter
100g grated Cheddar Cheese



  1. Place the potatoes evenly spaced in a buttered gratin dish
  2. Season well and pour the milk over it making sure it is almost covered, plus the butter in small knobs
  3. Sprinkle the cheese over it
  4. Bake in an hot oven at 180ºC until the top is golden brown, then reduce to 120ºC until the potatoes are cooked
  5. Keep in warm place until required

N.B. This dish can also be prepared in advance and reheated when needed by adding a little milk on the top. Brussels sprouts can be served with it, “al dente” and buttered




Serves Four People


4 medium size Bramley apples
69 g of a good quality micemeat
20g butter
100g soft cane sugar
300 mls of freshly made custard



  1. Cleanly core the washed apples without totally perforating them and cut their skin all around
  2. Fill them with a little butter and top them with mincemeat
  3. Place them in a buttered oven dish and cover each one with the sugar
  4. Pour some water in the dish so as not to let the apples stick to it
  5. Cook in a hot oven at 160ºC for 40 minutes.
  6. Keep warm until required and serve with hot custard sauce

N.B. This dish can also be prepared in advance and reheated in an oven at 100ºC


Buon Appetito Giovanni Fontebasso

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