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Winter Warmers - Cooking Trends for the cooler weather


If there’s one good thing to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic, it may just be people’s rediscovery of the joys of a home-cooked meal. And with the cooler months finally upon us, there’s never been a better time to hunker down in the kitchen and whip up something delicious.

So, what’s big in winter cooking for 2021?

Dinner parties at home

Many Kiwis have no doubt picked up more enthusiasm and confidence in the kitchen with all that cooking last year, and we expect people will choose to expand on those skills this winter with more dinner soirees at home – and more elaborate menus. We’re talking three-course extravaganzas, with a hearty but still relatively simple main as its centrepiece. Think a delicious roast all cooked together in the oven, or a casserole in a beautiful cast iron dish that can do double duty as both cookware and serving ware.

Nostalgic cooking

The ongoing uncertainty around the world has also seen home cooks turning to tried and true favourites, so a bit of nostalgia is expected in the kitchen this winter, too. Think a big dish of lasagne or a comforting shepherd’s pie just like mum (or dad) used to make. Home-cooked takeaways are also expected to continue in rise in popularity, so whip out that wok and start creating your own fresh takes on a Pad Thai or get the whole family involved in pizza night.

Celebrating plants

The flexitarian diet (which is mainly plant-based but doesn’t entirely exclude meat) made waves in 2020 and is expected to continue doing the same this year. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious winter veges, like broccoli, cauliflower and brussels sprouts, ready to add a bit of plant power to your cooking.

Hey presto, it’s pesto!

Speaking of plants, many foodies are picking pesto to have a moment in 2021. With so many people turning to gardening, from big outside plots to window boxes, through the pandemic, the new abundance of fresh herbs is begging to be crushed up in the mortar and pestle and turned into beautifully fresh pesto. And given the ease with which pesto can also be frozen in small portions in ice trays, it’s ideal for adding a little extra flavour to your dishes all winter long.

Immunity-boosting foods

Keeping our immune systems strong has always been a priority when winter rolls around, but that desire has really kicked up a gear since 2020. Expect to see people getting out their best stock pot to whip up a big batch of immunity-boosting winter soup this winter, like a classic chicken noodle number or a delicious red lentil and vegetable combination.

Lighter comforts

While winter cooking is often associated with rich, heavy meals, many are picking 2021’s winter menus to be a little lighter or more health-focused. This could mean pairing casseroles and hot pots with pureed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes, and using root vegetables like parsnips and beetroot to make crunchy salads rather than roasting them in oil.

But whether you’re leaning towards that lighter winter fare trend or more inclined to try out one of the more nostalgic recipes, one thing’s for certain – it’s shaping up to be a delicious season.

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