As the frosty season approaches, there’s no better time to explore the wonderful world of winter cooking.
You can picture it now: snow lightly falling from the sky, turning your green grass into a white fluffy carpet. Inside, the fire is roaring or the heating is on full, warming hands and feet after a day spent in the chilly splendour of winter.
Thoughts are now only of filling tummies with warming homemade winter food. Everyone has their favourite…maybe a hearty roast dinner celebrating the finest of meats, or a simple chunky soup to ward off that winter chill. Or perhaps something sweet, like cinnamon and raisin cookies still soft as they’re prised from the warm baking tray.
At this time of the year, the Christmas spirit feels distant despite in places we start to see reminders of its slow but sure approach, seeping into everyday life. And the darker nights and mornings are the perfect invitation to get creative with comforting, soul-warming dishes.
A favourite way to elevate and cheer winter cooking is to incorporate handmade summer preserves into your recipes. In this blog, we’ll explore the delightful and delicious world of winter cooking with jars packed full of summer fruits and vegetables and how these delectable preserves can add a unique element to your dishes, taking them from a simple winter treat to staple winter dishes in your home.
Warm Up Your Breakfasts With Handmade Preserves
Ah, breakfast, the most important meal of the day. The chill of winter is often felt most when we escape the warmth of our beds in the morning.
We need something comforting, something hearty, and something rich with flavour to motivate us to start the day and fuel us through the morning to lunch.
No cereal boxes here – try these ideas for an incredible winter breakfast with preserves.
Marmalade-Stuffed French Toast
Add a delightful surprise to the morning favourite, French toast.
Before cooking, spread some fresh-tasting marmalade – perhaps a zesty orange marmalade – between your slices of French toast before cooking. You’ll find that the tangy sweetness of the marmalade will pair beautifully with the richness of the eggy bread.
Stoke the body “woodburner” with the tradition that is porridge to fire up for a busy day. As delicious as it is, it can become a tad dull over time, so try this jammy idea.
Add a generous spoonful of your favourite jam to your bowl of porridge. You may find this becomes your winter morning go-to comfort food.
The vibrant fruit flavours of the jam injects a welcome tangy, fruity balance to the creamy oats, making for a truly satisfying treat and reminder of lazy hazy summer days. How about straying off-piste and making porridge the traditional way i.e., with water and salt and adding a spoonful of your favourite chutney?
Baked Goods Elevated To New Heights
When we think of winter, we can’t help but also think of sweet, rich and indulgent baked treats eaten as chilly fingers are wrapped around steaming mugs of tea and coffee.
Here are some winter home baking ideas that only benefit from the introduction of some tantalising preserves.
Jam-Filled Thumbprint Cookies
Here’s a jam-filled dessert idea that will have you munching on sweet treat after sweet treat until they are all gone!
In Sweden they’re called ‘Hallongrotta’ which translates as ‘raspberry cave’. Similar cookies in Australia are known as ‘jam drops’. In England and the USA, we call them ‘Thumbprint cookies’. Are they from Sweden? The USA? Who knows? What we do know is that they are delicious!
Usually made with butter, flour, baking powder, and sugar. A key part of making these sweet treats is creating that small but most perfectly formed indentation to hold the filling, and then filling these small craters with the most delicious fruity jam, just like our scrumptious handmade award-winning Norfolk Jams.
With so many jam flavours to choose from, which will you pick?
Jam-filled doughnuts make for a lovely little treat every now and again, but have you ever tried to make your own?
They may be a regular entry on your weekly shopping list or a must-have when you visit the bakery, but when you make these baked goods at home, you’re free to choose the jam you want.
Take your favourite jam or one you have never tried in a doughnut before and make that your filling. A freshly-baked doughnut oozing with a jam of your choice on a cold winter day sounds beyond delightful to us.
Flavourful Main Dishes To Excite
Perhaps there’s a misconception floating around that preserves are limited to just breakfasts and desserts. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
There are many chutney glazing ideas and recipes and ample opportunity to use relish in winter cooking. And by using the finest handmade sweet and savoury jams, you can add instant flavourful fire to your main dishes that warm bellies and clear plates.
A favourite among our seasonal preserve recipes is a chutney-glazed salmon. As a more adventurous dish for some, this blend of chutney and fish is exciting, different and addictive.
Before baking or grilling salmon, we can recommend scooping up a favourite chutney – mine is tomato chilli jam – and brushing the salmon fillet from top to bottom.
The sweetness and spiciness of the chutney will add a depth of flavour to the dish. You’ll not feel like a fish out of water with this handcrafted savoury jam recipe! For an impeccable taste, choose our award-winning Norfolk handmade chutneys, pickles and relishes.
Homemade Preserve Inspiration For Your Appetisers
The arrival of winter brings new opportunities to host parties, get-togethers and special occasions. That means you’ll need an arsenal of appetisers up your sleeve to keep your guests satisfied.
Pre-dinner finger food can be uplifted by the introduction of preserves in your winter cooking. Try out these ideas.
Brie and Jam Crostini
Some shy away from blending sweet with savoury, and we think here you’ll miss out on opportunities to taste an indulgent and complex interchange of flavour.
Jam creations aren’t exclusive to desserts and baking. For this idea, you can create show-stopping appetisers by topping a crostini with warm brie; our favourite is locally produced Baron Bigod, a superb traditional Brie-de-Meaux style cheese produced in Suffolk, and, as the French would say, “une l’arme” (translates as a tear) of Plum and Mulled Wine jam.
The dance between soft, creamy cheese and sweet jam explodes like five November fireworks in your mouth.
Many think of desserts when asked what their favourite cosy winter dish is. It’s hard to blame them, especially when a rich, dense, steamed jam sponge pudding is served with a smooth Chantilly cream or freshly-made warm custard.
So, don’t forget about preserves in desserts – they have the power to take any dessert and turn it into a winter favourite that is warming, sweet, and just the thing to top off a day of fun in the cold outdoors.
How much did we, as children, love making the simplest custard using the store cupboard staple that’s Bird’s Custard Powder to liberally pour over steamed sponge puddings and baked tarts?
Marmalade Bread Pudding
Bread pudding, arguably the cosiest of desserts, is delicious in its own right. But with the introduction of marmalade, you create a unique citrusy taste that will end with a clean bowl and a round of seconds.
Once soaked in the custard mixture, layer with your chosen marmalade for an added level of zingy citrus flavour. Seville Orange Marmalade compliments the mixed spice usually noted in recipes.
Final Thoughts On Cooking With Preserves For Winter Meals And Treats
The versatility of fine handmade preserves, like jams, marmalades, chutneys and relishes, is why they make such a delicious addition to wintertime cooking. So instead of fearing the cold to come, embrace the brisk weather with open arms and welcome it as an opportunity to create some marvellous winter meals and treats with tasty preserves.
For easy winter cooking, try our range of delectable handmade jams and marmalades and artisanal chutneys. The perfect cooking and baking ingredients to warm up your wintertime cooking sessions.