Oh baby, it’s cold outside…

Wednesday, 05 November 2014


...but we’re warming things up in here! I know it’s not December yet so we can’t really talk Christmas, but as I’m already planning the flipping thing at home I just can’t help it.

Actually, I’m so pleased it’s finally getting cold, dark and rainy out there as it means I can get all cosy inside. Besides, I bought so many woolly jumpers in the January sale and I haven’t had a chance to wear any of them yet – it’s criminal!

What I absolutely love about this wonderful country is the seasons and the distinct changes we see every year. With all these autumnal colours comes the seasonal vegetables, and then we move on to lovely rich stews, one pot dishes, goulash…

In India it’s the same story. They adjust the food that they cook and the spices that are used depending on the seasons. It’s thought that you’re more prone to sickness whenever the seasons change so out come the mustard seeds, the coriander waters, spiced teas and anything to boost you body’s immunity.

My mum always says that going from the warm indoors to the cold outdoors makes you more susceptible to getting ill, and we have all heard our mums say (and I say it to my kids all the time) “Put your coat on or you’ll catch a cold!”.

Now, I’m a scientist by training so I know that the cold virus is transmitted through direct contact. And in the winter, because we stay indoors more and huddle together - plus our kids have picked up everything from school - then the virus gets passed around more easily.

The cold weather also contributes to higher infection rates of the flu (which is an entirely different thing to the common cold virus) because this virus is extremely stable when it’s chilly. It’s also transmitted mainly through water droplets from your respiratory tract and if the humidity is low, these virus-filled droplets stay in the atmosphere for longer and other people are more likely to breath them in. So yes, you are more likely to get the flu in the winter which is why you need to make sure you cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands and, ideally, move to Hawaii!

Anyway, public health announcement over. Lets’ get back to the fun stuff that makes this time of year so awesome. Winter is all about long walks, snugly pubs and pulling on those jumpers, cosy gloves and enormous scarves (I do love a scarf) then you can wrap up warm, feel toasty and stuff yourself silly. Talking of which, it has to be homely, wholesome food that’s warming from the inside right through to the outside. I want the dishes I cook to make me feel like the Ready Brek boy (showing my age there) with a warm glow surrounding me.

I love to slow cook as well and many Indian curry dishes are great for this. And get creative! If you fancy a lamb curry with a jacket potato or spiced eggs on toast or a cup of warming chai on bonfire night, then you go right ahead.

To help you get inspired in the dark and cold days ahead, I’ve put together a list of some of my favourite homemade winter warmers to keep your cockles nice and toasty!

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