‘Stay at home’ life is nothing new to us this winter, especially for Victorians! So we wanted to spice it up a bit for you, with the help of a lovely member of our community; Belinda Neame from Hold Cottage in Gunning, NSW. Here, Belinda shares with us two of her favourite winter recipes, the perfect combination for ‘Stay at Home’ comfort; a delicious roasted pumpkin and sweet potato soup, and for dessert, a warm cinnamon teacake… ‘stay at home’ winter heaven!
Let’s get into the mood… What’s a ‘Stay at Home’ winter like at Hold Cottage in Gunning, NSW?
Hold Cottage in winter is like a big, warm hug. It’s welcoming, cozy, calm and screams ‘you are home, slow down and recharge’.
You breathe in the smell of the fireplace as the soft morning light filters in through the cottage windows.
You make a big, decadent pot of loose leaf, herbal tea and then jump back into bed with a book…
After a few hours, you’re ready to venture outside, to wander through Gunning; misty mornings are your favourite… with layers of fog across the hills, and thick crunchy frost covering the ground, the streets are lined with small cottages and chimneys bellowing with smoke.
The fog lifts and the bluest of blue skies shine through. Fresh, clean country air fills your lungs as you wander across to the Gunning railway to be transported back in time.
Returning to the cottage, you fire up the oven to prepare your all time favourite winter recipes; a roasted pumpkin and sweet potato soup and a gorgeous warm cinnamon teacake.
Roasted Pumpkin and Sweet Potato Soup
- 1 butternut pumpkin cut in half and roasted in the oven until tender
- 1 large sweet potato peeled and cut into small cubes
- 3 x unwashed potatoes, peeled, washed and diced into cubes
- 1 brown onion diced
- 1 large clove of crushed garlic
- 1 litre of chicken stock (or veggie stock if you prefer)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Option garnish: chives & cream
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over low to medium heat in a large pot and add the onion and garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the sweet potato and unwashed potato and stir to combine. Scoop the roasted pumpkin into the pot and add the stock. Season with salt and pepper and then bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer for about 45 minutes. Turn off and allow to cool for about half an hour. Using a stick blender, blend until smooth. Dish up into bowls and let everyone add their own toppings (we love cream and chives). We always serve ours with warm rolls from the oven and loads of butter.
Warm Cinnamon Teacake
You can’t go wrong with a warm cinnamon teacake in winter. It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare and half an hour to bake and you are good to go. The smell is like a big, warm cinnamon doughnut! This recipe is from one of my favourite and very old recipe books – Sweet Old Fashioned Favourites by The Australian Women’s Weekly.
This is also the perfect cake for a ‘stay at home’ backyard picnic. Good, old fashioned styled cakes like this one, are the most transportable food for impromptu picnics. Pop the cake in a cake tin, tuck it into your picnic basket, pack some cake forks, pack the thermos and away you go.
I love baking because it’s a process; a process where you have to clear your mind of everything going on around you and just focus entirely on the recipe.
I love watching the yellow butter turn white and silky as it whips with the sugar. I also LOVE the smell that fills the house as the cake is baking.
And then once it’s all done, cooled and iced, I love that it brings everyone together. The kids always come running! Cake triggers a lot of childhood feelings and memories. It’s a pretty powerful thing.—Belinda
- 60g butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2/3 cup castor sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup self-raising flour
- 1/3 cup full cream milk
- 10g extra butter melted
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon extra castor sugar
Heat the oven to 180 degrees. Grease a 20cm round cake tin and line the base with baking paper. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla essence and egg in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Stir in the sifted flour and milk, and stir gently until smooth. Spread mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack and brush with extra butter and sprinkle with combined cinnamon and extra sugar while hot. Serve with butter or just on its own with a cup of tea.
Have you met Belinda?
In our 60 Seconds With series, we got to know Belinda’s taste in music, books, magazines, and more. She even shared with us a couple of recipes—winter warmers for a snuggly day by the fire.