Tag Archives: comfort food

Spiced Parsnip Soup

On a raw February day when the wind is like an absolute knife cutting through you with bitter cold, lunch cries out for soup.  Have it in a mug and warm your hands as well or, show it off in a beautiful bowl!  The blue bowl here just set off the golden turmeric colour of this parsnip soup perfectly though its delicious taste would be the same whatever you served it in!  Parsnips somehow manage to be sweet yet earthy and this soup with its spicing makes them (and me!) sing.

This is a simple soup to make and uses a mild curry powder though you could always blend your own if you wanted to experiment.  A good basic blend is to use equal quantities of ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek with as much or as little chill powder as you like.   Have fun experimenting by varying the proportions or adding a favourite spice – I promise that the parsnip can take it. Continue reading

Beef, Red Wine and Mushroom Casserole

I don’t know about you but these grey February days which are often wet and blustery to boot, make me want to huddle down.   I long for warming comfort food that makes little demand on my time and is waiting for me, filling the kitchen with delicious smells when I come back in from the cold.  Whether you call this recipe a casserole or a stew I will leave up to you.  My Mum always called it a casserole and I still make it in her old Le Creuset casserole that’s decades old!

But don’t let the intricacies of the name cause you any pause because it can also can be used as the base for so many different dishes when cooked.  To get you started try spooning some of it into a deep pie dish and, when the filling is cold top it with puff pastry or mashed potato and pop it back in the oven for a pie.   If you take the lid off the casserole for the last hour it will reduce slowly and then you can use it as you would a ragu (I like to shred the meat a little at this point) to accompany tagliatelle.  My favourite way is to add large 2cm cubes of celariac and/or potato for the last hour and serve it in a bowl with a hunk of bread on the side. Continue reading

Torn Vegetable Lasagne

I seem to have a real problem with dried lasagne sheets.  It has proved to be absolutely infuriating.   I seem to manage to break them.  I am not sure if its in the packing into bags after shopping or because I have rather a rammed full larder cupboard but when I open the packet more often that not there are quite a few broken sheets.    I could get round this by making or buying fresh pasta but, if I am honest, I cant always be bothered or remember to do so.   And I love lasagne.   Its a brilliant comfort food.  So in the spirit of the saying “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, this recipe was born – and whether or not you have broken or whole lasagne sheets, it very tasty if I say so myself.

The trouble with traditional lasagne is that it is fiddly to make.   Lots of layers to assemble and a sauce to make to go on top.   Delicious but time consuming and often too carb heavy for a supper.    The great thing about this “torn lasagne” is it is really simple to do and its easy to make sure that the veggies are more plentiful than the pasta if that’s the way you like things!!  Its also quicker to make and any leftovers are great the next day as a packed lunch.

It uses pesto rather than the traditional creamy béchamel to keep things light and fresh though somehow it tastes just as comforting as traditional lasagne.  If you use the vegan cheese and pesto (shop bought is fine here though, of course don’t let me stop you from making your own ) then you can easily, and very “taste-illy”, make this recipe suitable for a plant based diet without going to any extra effort.   As I have said before, the best parts of a lasagne are where the pasta edges go crispy.   With Torn Lasagne there are a lot more edges to go crispy!! Yum Continue reading

Chocolate Pear Pudding

I was reading in the newspapers today about something called “coorie”.   In many ways this is the Scottish version of hygge.  To “coorie in” means to snuggle up and applies to everything from log fires and sheepskins to food, exploring the outdoors – in fact everything that gives a sense of well-being.

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Chocolate Pear Pudding is a great coorie dish. I love it as a Sunday lunch pudding. I can imagine it as an old fashioned nursery pudding in a story book like Peter Pan or Mary Poppins.  Homely, comforting, easy to make and involves chocolate – what more could you want?  I certainly would have no problem in snuggling/coorie in to  it with its soft chocolatey sponge and unctuous, juicy pears.  If you are a chocoholic serve it with more chocolate in the form of a sauce (homemade or your favourite bought one),  although it does make a little sauce of its own where the pears juice mixes with the chocolate sauce at the bottom, or try it with cream or icecream and while you are at it why not both?  Can you ever have too much coorie after all? Continue reading

Porcini Mushroom and Pancetta Baked Pasta

There is something extremely comforting and homely about the smell of this dish as you take it from the oven.  The deep earthy aroma of the mushrooms and the salty tang of the pancetta and parmesan makes me salivate.   All you you want to do is to curl up on a sofa and dive into a big bowl of this.   It doesn’t matter if all those fallen leaves are dancing around in the wind outside because this dish will make you feel cosy.  The silky, intense mushroom and bechamel coated pasta warms you and all is alright with the world.   True comfort food.

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