With more of us spending time indoors during winter and while working from home, your oven can double up on duties: making dinner and warming your kitchen in the process. You don’t need a slow cooker when your oven can do all the work for you, from tender confit vegetables to a rich and luxurious custard.
There are few things as friendly in the way they soak up flavour as a cauliflower. Photograph: Issy Croker/The GuardianAs Anna Jones notes, whole roasted cauliflower has been experiencing a renaissance on the restaurant scene for the past couple of years.
Not only does a whole burnished cauliflower look impressive, but roasting it brings out its natural buttery, slightly nutty flavours and with cauliflowers in plentiful supply at the moment, it’s a cost-efficient dish too.
Yotam Ottolenghi’s herby, cheesy bake is cabbage but not how you know it. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The GuardianCabbage has an unfair reputation due to many of us suffering the horror of being served flaccid, greying masses of it during childhood.
However, much like cauliflower, roasting cabbage until it develops a light char brings out another dimension in flavour. Yotam Ottolenghi combines this with caramelised garlic to elevate the traditional potato gratin. Served alone as an indulgent meal or as an accompaniment to a roast.
Gill Meller set out with a clear vision when he developed this recipe: “I wanted to create something similar to those carrots you find in a beef stew after hours of lazy simmering, only without the beef.”
Three hours might seem like a long time to cook carrots but the boozy bath and low oven temperature will ensure the carrots remain saucy and fork-tender.
Vivek Singh’s lamb shank rogan josh is the perfect dinner party centrepiece. Photograph: Romas Foord/The ObserverAn Indian restaurant classic, this rogan josh is the perfect dinner party centrepiece, swapping the usual diced lamb for a whole lamb shank cooked until the meat falls away from the bone.
Most spices are easily bought at your local supermarket or Indian grocer but it’s worth seeking out the black cardamom, which unlike the more commonly known green cardamom, has been dried over an open flame and imbues the curry with a deep, smoky flavour.
‘I learned how crucial it is to give salt the time to distribute itself and diffuse,’ says Samin Nosrat of her meltingly tender pork tacos. Photograph: Clare Hewitt/The GuardianJuggling hosting duties and cooking at dinner parties is always a stressful task but with some careful preparation, most of the work is done for you with these crowd-pleasing tacos by Samin Nosrat.
If you start early your slow-roasted pork will be meltingly tender by the time your first guest arrives. Prep the slaw, tortillas and condiments and leave the assembly of the tacos up to your guests.
Milk and chicken sounds like start of a horrifying kitchen experiment but the science behind this paring in Diana Henry’s recipe results in the lactic acid in milk tenderising the meat.
As an added bonus, the milk creates a creamy sauce that will keep your roast chicken even juicier.
‘Dry pasta really does go into the sauce uncooked,’ says Yotam Ottolenghi of this one-tray beauty. Photograph: Louise Hagger/The GuardianIt might seem counterintuitive but “dry pasta really does go into the sauce uncooked”, writes Yotam Ottolenghi of this pasta bake.
His recipe calls for paccheri, a pasta tube that looks like an engorged macaroni but you can substitute any large, robust pasta, such as rigatoni.
A piquant caper salsa and peppery rocket adds brightness to the finished dish.
A “warm bath of oil and aromatics” perfectly describes where I’d like to see out the rest of the Australian winter, but as Yotam Ottolenghi explains, “it’s a total transformation of something mild and humble into something rich and luxurious”.
The meaty texture of portobello mushrooms lends itself perfectly to being cooked low and slow and the ideal choice to switch things up if you’re stuck in a steak and mash rut.
Velvety and unctuous: Ravneet Gill’s baked custard with roast rhubarb. Photograph: Laura Edwards/The GuardianUsing just a few modest ingredients: milk, cream, eggs and sugar, cooking this dessert slowly in a water bath results in the most velvety, unctuous custard.
As pastry chef Ravneet Gill warns, “brace yourself”.
Ultimate form of kitchen sorcery: poached quince with rice pudding. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The GuardianRoasting quinces is the ultimate form of kitchen sorcery. Once cooked, these hard, inedible, astringent yellow lumpy fruits, transform into soft, yielding, shimmering garnets. Served with a nursery classic – rice pudding – you have the perfect winter comfort food.
Ben Milgate and Elvis Abrahanowicz’s dessert will ensure your home is not only warm, but filled with a heady aromatic fug.