Time for Comfort Foods

During these challenging times…. how many times have we seen or heard that now? Or swap ‘challenging’ with unprecedented or unusual. Still, we know, we get it. I sometimes, two months in, continue to have waves of moments where I’m in disbelief, and it takes a little while to comprehend just what is happening across the world.

So what do we do? We turn to books, yoga, Joe Wicks, doing nothing, learning coding. It doesn’t matter what you do whether it’s everything or nothing. It’s your call, whatever makes you handle it all better is ok. For me, it’s perhaps no surprise I turn to food (and jigsaw puzzles).

I never had a particularly good relationship with food when I was a child, I’d hardly eat anything. It started getting better, but at some point something changed I think in my mid twenties, quite gradual but definitely something there started growing. And now having turned 40 this year, food is what I live for.

And never more so than now. Currently I’m all about comfort food – no dinner parties, no stress of impressing, no being fancy. Don’t get me wrong, I love all that, but it’s not what I need right now. I just want to eat food I know and love. So here’s my top 9…

Coconut Curry
The picture below is homegrown courgette from someone at work. But this can change depending on what I have in, from greens, panner, mixed veg, it doesn’t matter. As long as there’s enough hot coconut juice for the rice to soak in.

Mac and Cheese
Ok, this can’t need too much explaining. Pasta. Cheese. And this one has a glug of whisky and a scattering of rosemary.

Parsnip Soup
For me the difference between homemade soup and tinned is as wide as the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly whatever you have can be souped. I have a special love for parsnips, and their sweetness goes so well with spice. I added a little harissa in mine for that gentle kick.

Pasta Bake
This was one of the first things I learnt to cook (besides all the Indian food I was made to cook from age probably 5). I love a herby, garlicky tomato sauce, béchamel, then cheese all melted and baked to perfection.

There is nothing NOTHING like a simple homemade margherita, topped with chilli oil and a few herbs.

Potato Curry
Grew up with this. Often with a simple tomato sauce, sometimes dry like this, with flavours of cumin and turmeric. I like mashing it into my rice, like a toddler would do, but man it tastes good!

A lovely broth packed full of flavour, with tofu, veg and noodles. One for a proper ‘meh’ day.

I find actual joy in making risotto, from the slowness and meditative stirring to the number of flavour combinations. If I could make risotto for a living I would. My pro tip for you would be, whatever the onion amount in your recipe, instead of chopping, grate it, and cook as you would normally. The flavour runs through the risotto better.

Spaghetti Pomodoro
Well if this doesn’t pop up in your top 9, I hope there’s a good reason why. The simplicity of a basic tomato sauce smothering stands of al dente spaghetti, what more could you ask for?

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