Read below Keith’s latest blog, his favourite Winter Warmer recipes, and let us know if try any.

WARNING: You may (definately) feel hungry after reading! Enjoy!


Hi everyone! Well I’m sure you agree that the weather has been bitterly cold recently, so this week I have been asked to share with you some favourite Winter warmer recipes.

As an ostomate, I have to be careful about the preparation of vegetables and fruit; if they are not soft enough for me to chew thoroughly, there can be problems with Homer (my stoma) and he can get a bit blocked up for a short time. However, you can’t beat a good soup to make sure that you are getting your 5-a-day and in a way that is always easy to digest.

My new favourite is a soup Mrs T made after seeing it on offer in a vegan café; it sounded delicious so she found a recipe to try it herself. You could say that it’s a vegan version of a leek and potato soup really.

Sweet Potato Soup with Coconut and Chilli.

  • 1lb (450g) sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2tbsp oil (Olive or sunflower- whatever you like best)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed and halved
  • ½ red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 pints (1 litre) vegetable stock (you could use a stock cube for this)
  • 4 tsp tomato puree
  • 400g can coconut milk
  •  salt and pepper
  • chilli oil and chopped coriander to garnish


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/ Gas 6)

  1. Place cubed potatoes in a baking tin and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the oil. Place in a preheated oven and roast for 20 -30 minutes, until tender.
  2. Heat the remaining oi in a large pan and add the onion, leek, lemongrass, chilli and ginger. Sweat these for about 4 minutes stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the tomato puree and cook out for a minute, then add the roasted sweet potato with the stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid has slightly reduced and all the vegetables are completely tender.
  4. Pour the coconut milk into the pan, cook for another 5 minutes stirring constantly.
  5. Season to taste, then remove the lemongrass. Blend with a hand blender until smooth.
  6. Serve in warm bowls with the garnish and a lovely bread.



Speaking of lovely bread, home-made bread is delicious and as I was a baker in a former life, I really enjoy making my own bread to go with soup or just to eat with butter and jam. However, for something quicker, why not make some traditional soda bread? This is James Martin’s recipe and it is pretty fool proof! (

Quick Soda Bread.


  • 6 oz (170g) self-raising brown flour.
  • 6 oz (170g) plain flour.
  • ½ tsp salt.
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • 300ml buttermilk


Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/ Gas 6)

  1. Simply but all ingredients into a large bowl and combine to make a soft dough.
  2. Form into 2 round loaves; flatten each slightly and mark the tops with a cross. (Fun fact: In Ireland the cross is traditionally thought to keep the devil out and protect the household).
  3. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the loaves sound hollow when tapped underneath


So now for one of my favourite desserts- it’s perfect for a cold winter’s day, and not difficult to make either.  You can use Marsala wine, Madeira wine or any good red wine for this.

Poached Pears

  • 4 large hard pears
  • ½ pint (280ml) Marsala
  • 1oz (50g) caster sugar
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • ½ vanilla pod


  1. Use a peeler to peel the pears ideally leaving the stalk intact. Slice a thin disc off the bottom of each pear so they can stand upright to serve them at the end.
  2. Lay the pears sideways in a heavy pan and pour in the wine. Sprinkle in the sugar and add the cinnamon and vanilla. Bring everything up to a simmer.
  3. Cover the pan tightly and allow the pears to simmer until tender; you could add a splash of water if the sauce reduces too quickly. This should take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the ripeness of the pears.* Alternatively you could put the pears into the oven to bake (130°C/250°F/gas ½ ). This is easy if your pan is ovenproof but you might have to transfer the pears and sauce into a casserole dish at this point if you choose this option.
  4. When they’re tender, lift the pears out and set aside. Remove the cinnamon and vanilla then boil the remaining sauce until syrupy. Spoon over the pears.
  5. Serve at room temperature with cream or crème fraiche. Enjoy!




We hope you have enjoyed reading this blog, and hopefully have some tea-time inspiration!

You  can find out more about Keith and follow his journey on his Twitter at @keiththom2014.


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So there you go- some winter warmers that I hope you’ll enjoy. Have a great week,






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