So it’s Arctic outside, the thermals are on, and with more snow forecast our instinct is to reach for comfort food that is going to leave us feeling all warm and cosy. Comfort food doesn’t have to be stodgy though and at this time of year my slow-cooker is a permanent fixture on my kitchen counter. I adore my slow-cooker (I have a Crock-Pot, but others are available). All I have to do is chuck some meat and veg into it and rudely ignore it for the rest of the day. Then, at dinnertime I slop the contents into a plowl (platey-bowl or bowly-plate) and thank it kindly for making me a delicious, hearty, warming, nutritious meal!

So I’d like to share a recipe for a casserole that I made the other day using my usual trick of adding a few shakes of whichever spices are closest to the front of the cupboard, and this one was really quite heavenly. Rich, spicy, warming – get involved!

1 pack of diced casserole beef
2 onions, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
2 sweet potatoes, as above
1tsp sweet smoked paprika
1tsp cumin
1tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp mild chilli powder
200ml passata
1tbsp tomato puree
1 small glass of red wine
1 Kallo beef stock cube in 200ml of water

Place all of the ingredients into the slow-cooker, give it a stir and leave it for 4-5 hours on High or 8+ hours on Low. Serve with a hunk of organic wholemeal, sourdough or spelt bread, a fleecy blanket, someone you love, and something you’ve been meaning to watch on your Sky+ for ages.

Happy Winter.