Wonderful winter recipes

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We've teamed up with Taste of Christmas to bring you delicious winter recipes every day this month, from a variety of top chefs and major foodie names supporting the festival. Today, Valentine Warner shares his recipe for autumn macaroni with button onions, pancetta, hazelnuts and Fontina cheese. Enjoy and stay tuned for more winter recipes coming in daily.

Taste of Christmas, The Hottest Restaurant Festival of the Season returns this November at London's Tobacco Dock. Book your ticket now at or by calling 0871 230 7132

  • Autumn macaroni with button onions and pancetta

    From The Good Table published by Mitchell Beazley, for other recipes see


    • 12 small button onions, skins left on
    • 50g butter
    • 1½ teaspoons caster sugar
    • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
    • flaked sea salt
    • 60g macaroni
    • 4 thin slices of pancetta
    • 100ml double cream
    • 50g Fontina cheese, rind removed, grated
    • ½ handful of whole, toasted and barely chopped hazelnuts


    1. Drop all the onions into a pan of rolling water and boil for 7 minutes. Drain and allow them to cool. Carefully trim them of any whiskers and a fraction off the root end, as you need to keep them intact. Remove their jackets and tops.

    2. Fill a small saucepan with water for the pasta and put it on to boil. Melt the butter in a frying pan and when it’s foaming add the onions and fry for 8–10 minutes. Stir them occasionally and regulate the heat if needs be, as the butter must not burn. The onions should end up richly coloured and tender, and the butter nutty brown. Sprinkle over the sugar and vinegar, then swirl the onions around until the balsamic has reduced and the sugar caramelised and stuck to the onions. Season generously with salt, then turn off the heat.

    3. Drop the macaroni into the boiling water and cook for 8 minutes, or until firm yet tender but not mushy. Just before it is ready, put the onions back over a medium heat. Push them to one side and wipe the empty half clean with kitchen paper.

    4. Lay down the pancetta; it will not take long to cook – 3 minutes or so. Turn it once and be careful not to burn it. It should be crisp and brittle. Turn the onions so that they warm through evenly. When the pancetta is done, turn off the heat. Drain the macaroni and tip it back into the pot. Pour in the cream and scatter in the cheese. Put the pan back over a low heat and gently fold all together until the cheese has melted.

    5. Check the seasoning, adding a little salt if necessary. Spoon the macaroni between two warm plates. Nestle six onions in the middle of the pasta, cut each pancetta slice in half and arrange between the onions. Lastly, scatter over the hazelnuts.

    Photo ©Jonathan Lovekin

  • Stem Ginger Cheesecake

    From Fernando Stovell, proprietor of Stovell's restaurant in Chobham, Surrey



    • 500g cream cheese
    • 100g icing sugar
    • 200ml double cream
    • 3 tblsp Stem ginger puree


    1. Beat together cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth.

    2. Add double cream slowly and continue to mix until thick. Fold in stem ginger and put into a piping bag. Keep in the refrigerator until required.

    Pineapple Sorbet


    • 350g water
    • 150g sugar
    • 250g pineapple puree
    • 3 tblsp glucose syrup
    • juice of 2 lemons


    1. Bring water, sugar and glucose to the boil. Remove from heat and add puree.

    2. Cool then add lemon juice and churn.

    3. Keep in the freezer in a covered container until required.

    Pine Nut Cream


    • 200g Pine nuts


    1. Blend pine nuts in thermo mix at 37oc for 20 minutes.

    2. Transfer the creamy mixture to a squeezy bottle and keep in the refrigerator until required.

    To serve

    1. Using a stainless steel ring, pipe cheesecake mixture onto centre of plate. Spread the top with a palette to even it out.

    2. Use a blow torch to gently heat the ring and remove carefully.

    3. Squeeze random dots of pine nut cream onto plate.

    4. Place some wild sorrel leaves or edible flower on top of cheesecake and carefully place a scoop of sorbet on the top.

  • Cauliflower cheese

    From Mark Hix


    • 1 medium cauliflower
    • 1 litre milk
    • 1 bay leaf
    • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 60g butter
    • 60g plain flour
    • 100ml double cream
    • 120g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
    • 1-2 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley


    1. Cut the cauliflower into florets, reserving the leaves and stalk. Place the milk and bay leaf in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Season well. Add the florets and leaves, and simmer for about 7-8 minutes until tender. Drain in a colander over a bowl to reserve the milk.

    2. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan and stir in the flour. Stir over a low heat for about 30 seconds, then gradually stir in the reserved hot milk, using a whisk. Bring to a simmer and turn the heat down very low (use a heat diffuser if you have one). Continue to simmer very gently for 20 minutes, stirring every so often to ensure that the sauce doesn’t catch on the bottom.

    3. Add the cream and simmer for a couple of minutes. The saue should be of a thick coating consistency by now; if not simmer for a little longer. Strain through a fine sieve into a bowl, whisk in three-quarters of the cheese, then taste and adjust the seasoning.

    4. Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7 (or the grill to medium-high). Make sure the cauliflower is dry – you can use kitchen paper to pat it dry if necessary. Mix the cauliflower with half of the cheese sauce and transfer to an ovenproof dish. Spoon the rest of the sauce over and scatter the parsley and the rest of the cheese on top. Either bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until golden, or reheat and brown under the grill.

  • Pimavera Tulips

    From Cuisinier Gascon: Meals from a Gascon Chef by Pascal Aussignac


    • 4 tulip flowers, long stems attached
    • 100g tapioca
    • Sea salt and freshly grounded black pepper
    • 100g sugar-snap peas
    • 3 spring onions
    • 3 sprigs fresh dill
    • 200g shelled fresh or frozen peas
    • 3 tablespoon of olive oil
    • 50g button mushrooms (I like to use mousserons but they are difficult to find)
    • 50g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated


    1. First nip out the stamens from the tulip flowers. Check the petals are clean

    2. Put about 500ml water on to boil then stir in the tapioca and a little salt. Return to the boil then stir, and simmer for 4-5 minutes until soft. Drain.

    3. Meanwhile, finely chop the sugar-snap peas, spring onions and dill.

    Set aside.

    4. Cook the peas in about 500ml lightly salted water until just soft, about 8 minutes for fresh peas (5 minutes for frozen) then drain, reserving some of the water. Whizz in a blender with a tablespoon of oil until a thick puree, adding a little extra reserved water if necessary.

    5. Soak the mushrooms in boiling water just to cover, and leave until softened, about 2-3 minutes, then drain, pat dry and finely chop (if you were to use mousserons, plus a small knob of butter, they would produce a flavourful jus that would be perfect saved to sprinkle over the tulips at the end.) Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and fry off the mushrooms for 2-3 minutes then season. Mix in the cooked tapioca and Parmesan followed by the chopped sugar-snap peas, onions and dill.

    6. Leave to cool, then spoon the stuffing into the centre of the four tulip flowers. Re-shape the petals around the filling.

    7. Put a pan on to boil with a steamer basket fitted above. You might like to place a disc of baking parchment on the base of the steaming basket. Place the stuffed tulips and their stems on top.

    8. Steam for 30-40 seconds until the petals wilt, then carefully lift each stuffed flower and stem on to a plate. Reheat the mashed peas, if necessary, and serve alongside the tulips, garnished with a herby green salad.

  • Clementine cooler

    From The Good Table published by Mitchell Beazley, for other recipes see


    • crushed ice
    • 50ml vodka
    • 15ml crème de cassis
    • 100ml freshly squeezed
    • clementine juice


    Shove some crushed ice in the bottom of a glass and pour over the vodka, followed by the cassis. Pour in the clementine juice. Swizzle. Get swizzled.

  • Duck with Fennel, Cinnamon and Orange

    From Ben Tish, executive chef at the Salt Yard Group of restaurants


    • 2 fatty duck breasts
    • 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
    • 200g curing salt
    • 120g granulated sugar
    • Zest of 1 orange and the rest of the orange sliced thinly
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • Olive oil


    1. Trim the duck breasts of any sinew. Score the skin with a very sharp knife but ensure you do not cut into the flesh.

    2. Mix together the salt cure: fennel, salt, sugar, zest and cinnamon. Place the duck breasts skin-side up in a plastic container and pour over the cure mix. Massage into the duck, ensuring the breasts are covered. Layer the orange slices on top of the duck. Cover the container with a lid of cling film and transfer to the fridge for 12 hours. Turn the breasts once during the marinating process.

    3. After marinating, remove the ducks from the cure and wash under cold, running water for 20 minutes. Pat the breasts dry with kitchen paper. You will now need 2 new J-cloths and some twine. Place a breast on each cloth and wrap. Secure each end with the twine and then tie a piece of twine at 2 intervals around the breast to secure.

    4. Hang the breasts in a cool, dry spot for approximately 5-6 days. When ready, the breast will feel firm when squeezed between finger and thumb but slightly softer in the centre.

    5. Remove the breast from the cloth and rub lightly with olive oil. Wrap in cling film and chill until ready to slice. Serve as part of a charcuterie board or in a salad.

  • Pear tarte tatin

    From Eric Lanlard


    • 225g puff pastry or 1 x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry, chilled
    • plain flour, for dusting
    • 50g unsalted butter, softened
    • 100g golden caster sugar
    • 2 tbsp Poire William liqueur or lemon juice
    • 4–6 ripe pears
    • 1 tsp juniper berries

    To serve

    • crème fraîche or fromage frais


    1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (fan 200ºC)/425ºF/gas mark 7. Have ready a 24cm tarte tatin dish, or ovenproof omelette pan. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Then, using a plate that is slightly larger than your pan, cut out a circle of pastry. Lightly prick with a fork and chill while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Using your fingers, press the butter on to the base of your pan until it coats it evenly.

    2. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter and set aside. Place the liqueur in a large bowl. If you don’t want to use alcohol, add lemon juice instead, which will help prevent the fruit discolouring. Prepare the pears one at a time. Peel, cut into quarters and cut out the cores. Toss in the liqueur or lemon juice.

    3. Place the tarte tatin pan on a medium-high heat. Watch the pan carefully at this stage, moving it around if one area is browning faster than another. As soon as the sugar has caramelized, remove from the heat. Scatter the juniper berries into the caramel.

    4. Take the pears from their juice and tightly pack in a circle in the pan, ensuring that their more attractive rounded sides are pressed lightly into the caramelized sugar. Place on a medium-high heat. The pears will shrink slightly as they cook, so do not be afraid to add another pear half or two. Keep cooking for 10–15 minutes until the pears are a nice dark caramel colour. Take the pan off the heat and quickly press the pastry circle on to the top of the pears, tucking the edges down the side of the pan, then place in the centre of the preheated oven. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is a beautiful golden colour and well risen. Do not worry if some of the caramelized juices bubble out.

    5. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 5 minutes. Then take a warm serving plate, press against the pastry and invert the pan, giving a good shake. The tart should slip out, juices and all. Serve with lots of crème fraîche or fromage frais.

  • Orange & Butterscotch Pudding

    From The Good Table published by Mitchell Beazley, for other recipes see


    • 2 small unwaxed oranges
    • 225g butter, plus extra for greasing
    • 125g dark muscovado sugar
    • 100g caster sugar
    • 265g self-raising flour
    • 4 large free-range eggs
    • 100g walnut halves, roughly broken
    • double cream, for serving
    • 2 small oranges, skins left on, very finely sliced

    Butterscotch sauce:

    • 250g caster sugar
    • 50g butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
    • 3 capfuls of whisky
    • 6 tablespoons double cream


    1. Butter a 1.7-litre pudding basin and line the base with a small circle of baking paper. Start making the butterscotch sauce. Put the caster sugar in a small frying pan over a low heat and pour over just enough cold water to cover. Heat until the sugar dissolves, swishing the contents around the pan occasionally, without stirring. Add the orange slices and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook the oranges in the sugar syrup for 6–8 minutes until just softened, then remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate. Reserve the syrup and slices for later. Now make the pudding. Finely grate the zest from one orange. Slice one end off each orange and place the whole fruits on a chopping board, flat-side down. Using a small, sharp knife, cut off the peel and pith all the way round. Next, cut between the membranes to release the segments. Cut each segment into three pieces and put the pieces in a sieve over a bowl to drain off excess juice.

    2. Put the butter, sugars, flour, eggs and orange zest in a food processor. Blitz on the pulse setting until smooth and thick. You may need to remove the lid and push the mixture down a couple of times with a spatula. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Stir in the broken walnuts and reserved orange segments until thoroughly mixed. Drink any juice from the bowl.

    3. Choose the best slices of the softened orange and arrange around the inside of the pudding basin. Spoon the batter into the prepared basin and smooth over the surface. Cover the dish with a large circle of baking paper, with a pleat in the middle to allow for expansion. Cover the paper with a circle of foil, again with a pleat. Tie both tightly in place with string. Create a handle by taking the excess string across the top of the basin and tying to the string on the other side – this will help you lift the pudding once it’s cooked.

    4. Place the basin on an upturned heatproof saucer or small trivet in a large, deep saucepan and add enough just-boiled water to come halfway up the side of the basin. (Alternatively, cook in a hob-top steamer.) Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and place over a medium heat. Allow to steam in simmering water for 2 hours, adding more water if necessary.

    5. Meanwhile, continue making the sauce. Return the pan with the sugar syrup to the heat and bring to the boil. Simmer, without stirring, until the sugar caramelises. It should be a deep golden-brown colour. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the chilled butter, piece by piece (the caramel will spatter furiously), whisking vigorously between additions until the sauce is thick and smooth. Gradually whisk the whisky and cream into the butterscotch mixture and return to the heat for 1–2 minutes until gently bubbling.

    6. When the pudding is done, turn off the heat and carefully lift the basin from the water. Stand for 5 minutes. Reheat the sauce if necessary. Cut the string, foil and paper off the basin. Loosen the side of the pudding with a roundended knife and invert on to a deep plate. Remove the lining paper and pour over a little of the butterscotch sauce. Serve the pudding in generous wedges with more butterscotch sauce for pouring.

    Photo ©Jonathan Lovekin

  • Trofie al Pesto

    From Guglielmo Arnulfo, head chef at Acciuga


    • 4 bunches Genovese basil
    • 60g Parmigiano Reggiano - 24 months ripe
    • 60-80 cc Extra Virgin olive oil
    • 40g Pecorino "Fiore Sardo" - 10 months of age
    • 30g pine nuts
    • 1-2 Vessalico garlic
    • 10g Trapani sea salt
    • 100g potatoes
    • 50g green beans
    • 300g fresh trofie



    1. A marble mortar and wooden pestle are traditionally used to make pesto. Wash the basil leaves in cold water and dry them on a tea towel making sure that do not rub them dry.

    2. In a mortar finely crush the garlic clove and pine nuts until they are smooth. Add a few grains of salt and the basil leaves. Pound the mixture using a light circular movement with the pestle against the sides. Repeat this process.

    3. When the basil drips bright green liquid, add the Parmesan and the Pecorino.

    4. Pour in a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil from the Italian Riviera, which lightly blends the ingredients without overdoing.

    * This is not the only possible way to make pesto. In Genoa and Liguria each person has a secret to this recipe: you will never find two cups of pesto that are the same.


    1. Bring water to the boil with 5% salt.

    2. When the water is boiling put in the trofie and potatoes, which have been cut in medium pieces, and leave to cook for 10 minutes. Add the green beans.

    3. Use a spoon of the water that you use for cooking and spin out the pesto a little bit.

    4. Drain the pasta with the potatoes and beans and add in the pesto, mash and serve it quickly

  • White Chocolate & Passion Fruit Cheesecake

    From Eric Lanlard


    • 50g unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
    • 100g digestive biscuits, crushed
    • 125g white chocolate, chopped
    • 125ml single cream
    • 225g cream cheese, softened
    • 225g mascarpone cheese
    • 4 tbsp golden caster sugar
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3 eggs, separated
    • 125ml passion fruit pulp, sieved to remove pips
    • passion fruit and berries, to decorate


    1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan 160°C)/350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a 20cm (8in) diameter springform cake tin.

    2. Put the crushed biscuits and melted butter into a bowl and mix well. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and press down with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (fan 130°C)/300°F/gas mark 2.

    3. Put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Put the cream into a small saucepan and heat, then pour on to the chocolate and stir until smooth. Put to one side.

    4. In a separate bowl, beat the cream cheese and mascarpone together until smooth. Add the sugar, vanilla and egg yolks. Stir in the white chocolate mixture and passion fruit pulp.

    5. In a large, clean, dry bowl, whisk the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold a large spoonful of the egg whites into the batter very vigorously, then gently fold in the remaining whites until smooth.

    6. Spoon the mixture on to the cooled base and bake for 50–60 minutes, or until set but with a slight wobble in the centre. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake to cool inside for 2 hours, with the door ajar. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.

    7. Remove from the tin and decorate with fresh passion fruit and berries.

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Stylist Team