Monthly Archives: October 2015

Warming Recipes For Winter

The cold nights are drawing in so here are some nice cheap recipes that you can make yourself to keep warm during winter.


First up, a real trendy and popular favourite for a cold, dark night – what better than a nice hot Butternut Soup?

  • 500g sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and diced
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus a drizzle of lemon
  • 2 onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1l vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 100ml double cream

To make, first heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Put the sweet potato and butternut squash on a baking tray, drizzle with honey and olive oil and roast for 45 mins. At the same time fry the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add the garlic, chicken stock, cinnamon and nutmeg, bring to the boil, and simmer for 5 mins.

Take your sweet potatoes and butternut squash from the oven and put it in the pan with the stock. Blend everything until smooth and then stir in the cream and simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with toasts or garlic bread. Yummy!

Leek and Potato soup is a traditional old family favourite, and cheap to make too.

  • 50g butter
  • 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm pieces (try Golden Wonders or Kerr Pinks)
  • 1 small onion, cut the same size as the potatoes
  • 450g white parts of leeks, sliced
  • 1½-2pts light chicken or vegetable stock
  • 142ml carton whipping cream
  • 125ml full-fat milk
  • To finish
  • The white part of 1 leek
  • A small knob of butter
  • Finely chopped chives

Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the potatoes, onion and leeks, stirring them so they are evenly coated. Add some salt and pepper and cover the pan with its lid to keep in the steam. Cook gently for 10 minutes so the vegetables are soft but not coloured. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Do not overcook. Purée the vegetables in a blender until smooth. Put the soup into a fresh pan and stir in three quarters of the cream and all of the milk.

To finish the soup, finely shred the white leek and gently cook it in the hot butter for a few minutes. Reheat the soup to a gentle simmer then pour into warmed bowls. Drizzle the remaining cream over each serving and add black pepper. Delicious!

Third up is a nice easy recipe for mulled wine that you can make yourself using old (ish) red wine and add extra spices if that’s what takes your fancy.

  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 60g/2oz demerara sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Grated nutmeg
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 1 dried bay leaf

Pour the wine in a saucepan with the orange, sugar, bayleaf and the spices.

Gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Most people like mulled wine sweet, but you need to keep tasting to make sure you don’t over sweeten it by adding too much sugar. Keep the mixture stirring gently and then add in a nip of any other alcohol, such as a measure of gin or brandy, to give it an extra kick – if that’s what you want.  Do not boil. Strain the mixture into heatproof glasses or mugs and serve. It’s a great way to use any leftover red wine you have and your mixture can be reheated at a later date.

Warm Ideas For Reducing Your Heating Bills

It’s coming up to that time of the year when staying warm means gigantic gas and electricity bills.

But never mind, you can stay warm and keep those bills down. Here are a few tips to do it.


Fight that irresistible urge to take a bath – it’s the most expensive thing you can do and heating all that water costs money. Take a shower and when you come out, put on a nice layer of body lotion or body oil – it acts like an extra layer of clothing to keep out the cold. Honest!

Shrill Bills

Most of us have a mobile phone and sometimes the bill can be larger than expected!


One of the main causes of high bills is downloading data, especially when travelling outside the EU, but also when using data in the UK. Mobile providers offer a large number of tariffs offering consumers choice and flexibility, but they’re not always easy to spot.

Local Haunts

Love a good ghost story. Here are just five of the spookiest places in the UK. Feeling brave?


Borley Rectory, Essex. This former Victorian mansion in Borley, Essex might look pretty, but it has been regularly frightening the life out of people – including paranormal investigators – with the ghosts of a nun, two headless horsemen and a phantom carriage – and that’s just for starters.

Dressed To Kill

Now you can always make your own costumes, but with so many cheap outfits on the market there’s no need. At you can find dozens of types of kids Halloween costumes and they’re having a blitz sale with up to 80% off. You can mix and match and add a touch of individuality to your choice. Don’t forget Ebay too. At this time of the year people are only too happy to offload their unwanted costumes and the choice is almost endless.


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