By Lisa Jesudas
It starts with chopped onions and garlic, the building blocks of simple yet satisfying meals. Let it simmer low and slow. A savoury aroma fills the room and hugs you. Whether you are an amateur cook or seasoned chef, the comfort of a hot meal on a chilly day is undeniable. Alongside some cosy memories, the Cuisine committee shares recipes to keep you warm during the winter months.
Warmer foods tend to be the center of many meals as the seasons change. First-year Science major and Cuisine treasurer, Maria Gonzalez Alegre, immediately thinks of soup as the perfect winter meal. Alegre stands by the simplicity of this dish. It was her go-to meal when she was younger, since her parents would be quite busy during the winter. “You can make a soup out of anything,” she says. Whether it is a simple broth or a hearty chowder, you can count on the warmth of a good soup.
Often, food serves as a medium for holiday festivities and gatherings with loved ones during this time of the year. Christmas day is an important celebration to Lucy Trimingham, a first-year Social Science major. “It’s a way to bring family and friends together,” she says.
Like many other families, Trimingham’s Christmas festivities revolve around food as she recalls her father spending eight hours preparing the turkey.
Similarly, Christmas is near and dear to Lynne Mathies, a third-year Science major and Cuisine board member, as it is a fun bonding experience. Mathies’ family tradition includes a classic Christmas chicken, mashed pumpkin, and cookies delivered from Austria for dessert. Mathies could not travel home to Austria last year to spend the holidays with her family. Not letting that get her spirits down, she channeled the season of giving through her passion for baking. Each year, Mathies can be found giving home-made treats to her family and friends. Baking and sharing “makes other people happy, and that makes me happy,” she says.
This year, too, many students may not be able to return home to spend the holidays with family members. Trimingham advises people spending their winter at the dorms to gather over a meal even if they may not be in their usual friend group. “It’s so much more motivating to cook for other people and not just yourself,” she says. With many international students who may be far away from home, this also presents an opportunity to create new traditions with friends.
In need of some inspiration for your next dish? The Herring and Cuisine have some recipes for you.
Chickpea noodle soup (8-10 servings)
Opt for a chickpea noodle soup as a vegan and vegetarian alternative to the classic chicken noodle soup. A classic broth dish is a must for the winter.
1 tbsp oil
1 yellow onion
2 cups celery, chopped
2 cups carrots, peeled and chopped
4 pressed garlic cloves
1 cup dry radiatore pasta (or your fave pasta!)
2 cans chickpeas (rinsed) or 2 cups dried chickpeas (soaked overnight)*
1 can petite diced tomatoes
5-6 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp crushed dried rosemary
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp fresh oregano (substitute: 1/2 tsp dried)
1 tbsp fresh thyme (substitute: 3/4 tsp dried)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 cup kale or spinach
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- In a large pot over medium-low heat, cook the onion, carrots and celery in oil for 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add the garlic, fresh oregano, fresh thyme, dried rosemary, dried basil, salt and pepper. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Add the uncooked pasta and chickpeas. Cook for 6 minutes. Add more salt and pepper to taste if desired. Remove the bay leaves.
- Stir in the kale and fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!
*If you’re using dry chickpeas that you soaked overnight, rinse them and then add them in alongside the broth, tomatoes and bay leaf and let simmer for 30-50 minutes before adding the pasta.
15-Minute Veggie Curry (2 servings)
This quick and satisfying dish can help use up all your leftover vegetables. The warm spices will make a comforting meal.
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chile flakes (optional)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cinnamon
The veggies of your choice (here used: 2 carrots, 1 red bell pepper, 1 zucchini, 1 sweet potato)
1/2 cup veggie stock
1 can coconut milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for sautéing
- Sauté the onion in some oil until translucent, add in the garlic and tomato pasta and cook those down for 1 more minute.
- Add in all the spices and let them cook for 1 minute.
- Throw in the veggies, cook sizzle them for 2-3 minutes, then pour in the veggie stock and coconut milk.
- Let everything simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until the veggies are cooked (it depends on what you’re using).
- Add in the leafy greens right at the end and serve this with some rice and naan.
Chocolate Mug Cake
A simple, quick, and delicious dessert to finish the meal.
2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp melted coconut oil or vegan butter
3 tbsp non-dairy milk
2 tbsp dairy free chocolate chips
- Add the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking powder to a mug. Stir or whisk to combine.
- Pour in the oil, non-dairy milk and vanilla into the mug with the dry ingredients and stir well with a spoon. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top.
- Cook in the microwave for 40 seconds. It will likely be a little undercooked in the middle at this point, which is my preference, but if you want it cooked more, microwave it for another 10-20 seconds.
- Serve immediately.