Winter warming recipes from 2020 MasterChef winner

Wren Kitchens paired up with Thomas Frake, MasterChef 2020 Champion, to share three delicious recipes that use ingredients proven to keep you warmer for longer

Thursday, 3rd December 2020, 2:52 pm

The recipes include ingredients scientifically proven to make you feel warmer such as chilli, liver and walnuts.

But, did you know that rather than turning up your heating a couple of degrees, there are certain foods you can eat that are scientifically proven to help you stay warmer for longer?

Certain foods are proven to increase red blood cell count (RBC count) which in turn improves your circulation and contributes to your body temperature.

Thomas Frake, MasterChef 2020 Champion

To help you stay warmer this winter, Wren Kitchens have teamed up with Thomas Frake MasterChef 2020 Champion to identify the foods most that are proven to keep you warmer whilst turning these ingredients into three delicious recipes.

Three recipes proven to keep you warmer for longer this winter

Bonfire Baked Beans

Serves: Two


Time: 45 mins


400g (240g drained) tinned cannellini beans

200g passata

Calf's liver

1 shallot

1 clove of garlic

2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

½ tsp smoked paprika

Sticky Toffee Pudding

½ tsp cumin

½ tsp ancho chilli flakes

1 tbsp soft brown sugar

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 tsp black treacle

½ tsp salt

½ tsp black pepper

1 tbsp rapeseed oil


1. Preheat the oven to 160०C.

2. Over a medium heat, heat 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil in an oven-safe frying pan. Finely slice the smoked streaky bacon rashers and gently fry until just beginning to crisp.

3. Finely slice the shallot and add to the bacon. Stir to coat in the rendered bacon fat and let the shallot sweat for five minutes, or until translucent. Do not let them brown.

4. Finely chop or mince a clove of garlic and add to the bacon and onions. Sweat for another two minutes.

5. Add the smoked paprika, cumin, ancho chilli flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir well to coat the bacon, onions, and garlic in the spices. Cook for another minute or so to cook out the spices.

6. Add the drained cannellini beans, passata, brown sugar, white wine vinegar and black treacle to the pan and stir to incorporate all of the ingredients. Let the beans simmer for 5 minutes and then transfer to the hot oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the beans are tender.

7. Serve with freshly toasted sourdough and perfectly fried eggs.

Calf’s liver, bacon and onions

Serves: Two

Time: 45 mins


4 slices of calf liver

3 tbsp flour

½ tsp mild curry power

Pinch of salt

Pinch of pepper

75g butter

2 tbsp rapeseed oil

4 rashers of smoked bacon

1 white onion

50ml sherry or port

300ml beef stock

1 tsp tomato ketchup

6 fresh sage leaves

To make the creamed potatoes:

2 large baking potatoes

50ml double cream

50g butter

Pinch of salt

To make the spinach:

2 handfuls of spinach

25g butter


1. Preheat the oven to 100०C – this will be used as a warming oven

2. For the creamed potatoes, firstly peel and chop the potatoes into 2-inch cubes. Place in a large saucepan filled with salted water. Bring the potatoes to the boil for 10-15 minutes until they are soft. You should be able to pierce easily with a knife. Once cooked, drain in a colander, and leave to steam dry for a couple of minutes. Whilst still warm, pass the potatoes through a ricer or mash until smooth. Return to a low heat and incorporate the cream and butter by beating with a wooden spoon until smooth and glossy. Season to taste with salt. Keep warm.

3. For the onion gravy, finely slice one whole onion. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil and 25g of butter over a medium heat. Add the onions and gently sauté until translucent. Do not let them brown. Once softened, add the sherry or port to the pan and reduce until thick and syrupy. Add 1 tbsp of flour to the onions and stir to coat.

4. Once coated, add the beef stock to the saucepan and vigorously simmer for about 20 minutes, until reduced by a third, or when the gravy is thickened.

5. Remove the gravy from the heat, allow to cool slightly, and add the tomato ketchup and 25g of butter. Stir until thickened and glossy. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

6. For the bacon, add 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil to a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the bacon for about 2 minutes per side or until crispy, remove from the pan. Drain on kitchen roll, and then transfer to the oven to keep crisp and dry. Add the sage leaves to the pan for just a few seconds until crispy. Drain on kitchen roll and season with a pinch of salt.

7. For the liver, season 2 tbsp of flour with salt, pepper, and the curry powder. Dust the liver slices in the flour and pat to remove the excess flour. In the same pan and oil the bacon was cooked in, add the liver slices to the pan two at a time over a medium-high heat. Depending on the thickness, fry the liver for 1-2 minutes per side, remove from the pan, and transfer to the warm oven to rest for a few minutes.

8. For the spinach, heat the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat until foaming. Add the spinach and stir until slightly wilted. Do not wilt the spinach right down, some crisp texture should remain. Remove with a slotted spoon on to some kitchen roll to absorb excess butter, and then serve.

9. To plate up, spoon some of the onion gravy into a shallow bowl. Add a large spoonful of the creamed potato with the spinach placed alongside. Top the spinach with two slices of liver per person, and then top the liver with the rest of the gravy, slices of bacon and the crispy sage leaves.

Sticky banoffee pudding with caramelised walnuts

Serves: Six

Time: 50 mins


To make the banoffee puddings:

100g ripe bananas

100g pitted dates

200ml boiling water

200g self-raising flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

50g (plus extra for greasing) butter

2 eggs

150g dark muscovado sugar

2 tsp black treacle

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt

To make the sticky toffee sauce:

150ml double cream

150g butter (softened)

150g dark muscovado sugar

To make the caramelised walnuts:

60g walnut pieces

60g caster sugar

2 tbsp water

Pinch of salt


1. Preheat the oven to 180०C, and butter six small pudding moulds.

2. Firstly, roughly chop the dates and bananas and place into a large bowl. Pour over 200ml of boiling hot water and allow to soak for 15 minutes.

3. Whilst the dates and bananas soak, prepare the caramelised walnuts. Heat the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan over a high heat, gently agitating the pan, but do not stir. When the caramel begins to bubble and turn a light golden colour, add the walnut pieces and salt, and stir to coat. Tip the walnuts into a glass bowl and leave to cool.

4. Using a stick blender or food processor, blend the dates, bananas and water until a puree is formed. Add the vanilla extract, cinnamon, salted butter, dark muscovado sugar, bicarbonate soda, black treacle and salt, and blend again until smooth.

5. Bit by bit, sift and whisk in the self-raising flour until incorporated, followed by the two beaten eggs. Whisk well into a thick batter without any lumps.

6. Divide the mixture between your pudding moulds, filling them to three-quarters full only, as this will give the puddings room to rise. Bake at 180०C for about 30 minutes, and the top of each pudding forms a crust. Turn the oven off, open the door, and allow the puddings to rest, but keep warm.

7. For the sauce, add the double cream, butter and dark muscovado sugar into a small saucepan and place over a medium heat. Whisk continuously until the butter is melted, the sugar has dissolved, and you are left with a thick and glossy sauce.

8. To serve, turn the puddings out onto a plate, pour over the sticky toffee sauce, top with the caramelised walnuts and serve with simple vanilla ice cream.

Recipe courtesy:

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