Swede – along with celeriac – is the overlooked root vegetable of winter. While pumpkin (and pumpkin soup) takes all the glory, there is a lot to be said for the earthy sweetness of the ombré-hued vegetable; and even more to be said for a solid, chunky soup with chickpeas and diced carrots. Cumin and rose harissa add depth; a tapenade-like condiment of green olives, even greener herbs and apple cider vinegar adds ballast. And a bonus: it’s vegan.
Definitely not vegan, but definitely delicious. It’s easy to see the allure of this rolled roast, where the pork belly flesh becomes soft and sweet, and the skin – that skin! – takes on a crunch and crispiness, the kind that is best captured by ASMR-sensitive microphones and posted on YouTube. This is a long-game recipe – the pork needs to be stuffed, rolled and refrigerated for up to two days to marinate the flesh and dry out the skin – so book it in for a Friday night project for Sunday lunch results.
Although fresh seafood is a year-round affair in Australia, the cold waters of winter are prime conditions for fruits de mer. So, a seafood stew it is. The result is a steaming bowl of mussels, prawns and white fish in a broth that recalls bouillabaisse or brodetto, with the fruity spiciness of a dried cascabel chilli (it can be found in some specialty grocers, though you can try substituting with the more widely available guajillo chilli). The recipe calls for one slice of sourdough per person but, as is the case with good bread served with soupy dishes, more is more.
Fresh seafood is not always an option because of budget or accessibility; and I cannot sing the praises of tinned sardines enough. They are affordable, the fiddly filleting has been done and because you’ve chosen sardines in oil (not in springwater, you heathen) the fishy oil does double duty as a flavour booster. Ottolenghi sautés the starter spices – cinnamon, mustard seeds – in said oil, before adding an arsenal of aromatics: onion, garlic and ginger; garam masala and turmeric. The sardines are gently laid on top of the tomato-coconut curry before the whole lot is spiked with fresh lime. Glorious.
Consider this a maximalist take on congee. Turmeric! Olive oil! Maple syrup! You will find none of these in traditional iterations of the dish but here the silky rice soup is a canvas for winter-friendly flavour. It’s as good for breakfast as it is for dinner.
Pumpkin with polenta is a beautiful exercise in colour-blocking. Smooth orange pumpkin with even smoother polenta? Throw in a double dose of cheese (cream cheese, parmesan) and it’s winter comfort done.
“When the sun’s not out, I’m not that brilliant at eating fruit,” Ottolenghi says. His solution, then, is to take four pears (he suggests conference pears, but in Australia substitute with beurre bosc) and some baby parsnips, and roast them with maple syrup and chipotle flakes for a sweet, spicy and sticky side dish.
There’s a lot to love about a pudding – it’s not quite a cake, not nearly a pie, but there’s the cloud-like batter of the former and the “see what’s inside” appeal of the latter. With a filling of apples and pears, this one is a winter-fruit double act; the cold contrast of vanilla cream is the brilliant finish.
It’s the butterless bundt! The use of ricotta and olive oil results in a cake with “the supplest crumb”, Ottolenghi says, while four lemons’ worth of zest and a coterie of fresh bay leaves will flood your kitchen with intoxicating fragrance.
It’s the boozy bundt! Start this recipe a day ahead – you want to give the raisins plenty of time to soak up the dark rum. The result is a rich, buttery cake studded with drunken fruit, with a luxurious rum-caramel glaze. You will fight for a second slice.