Often when we think about comfort food it can be in a negative light, those foods that are high in fat and calories that make us feel good but should we be eating them to help our mood and sense of wellbeing? Whilst we don’t want to become dependant on food as our only way of gaining comforting, there is nothing wrong with eating foods and meals that help us feel better. It is one of the roles of food and one coping mechanism. Food for pleasure, food for comfort, food for celebrations, food for fuel, fuel for nourishment, it all has a place. Food can also be warming and cosy, it can invoke memories of places, people and occasions you want to remember. Think of meals your family have cooked for you, maybe your grandmother, or foods from a special place. What foods do you remember as bring super special? What foods bring you happy memories?
With lockdown and this season of Covid, plus the winter months we are all about the cosy meals in our house. Here are a few of our favs:
- Using fresh or frozen fish, poach in milk of your choice for 10 minutes, adding a spoon of flour to thicken.
- Add chopped vegetables (leeks, peas, sweetcorn, courgette, mushrooms work well).
- Mix in dried herbs, a spoon of creme fraiche and some mustard plus lemon juice.
- Meanwhile cook the potatoes (I like to keep the skins on for extra fibre), mash with a knob of butter and some milk.
- Layer the fish pie up and top with cheese before you bake in the oven for 20 mins at 180C fan.
Cheesy Broccoli Pasta Bake:
- Chop 1 head of broccoli plus 1/2 cauliflower and cook in a pan. In another pan cook 200-300g pasta.
- Make a roux. Pour 1 tbsp oil into a pan, mix in 2 heaped tbsp flour and mix to a paste.
Add 150ml milk and mix until it is smooth. Now add 200ml milk and place on a low heat.
- Keep stirring or whisking until it thickens. Add water to get single cream consistency.
NB. Take care as I pretty much always leave mine too long and get a slight burnt pan!
- Add 50g grated cheese of your choice, 2 tsp mustard, black pepper and mixed herbs.
Mix the pasta, veg and sauce. Spoon into an ovenproof dish.
- Top with just cheese, breadcrumbs aka cheese or I used puffed rice cereal and cheese (wheat free and in my cupboard!) for crunch.
- Bake at 180C fan for 20-30mins until it is golden on top.
- Serve on its own or with a side salad.
- Sauté an onion in a little oil. Add chopped veggies. I used carrots, broccoli, and a lot of mushrooms.
- Add lentils. About 1/2 cup per person (dried) or 1/2 tin.
- Add 1 can of chopped tomatoes, 1 low salt stock cube, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp tumeric, coriander and ginger and ground black pepper. Plus 1 can water to cover the lentils. Simmer until the lentils are cooked.
- Add some fresh parsley if you have it. Serve!
Satay Stir Fry:
1 heaped tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sweet Thai chilli sauce
water to mix to a sauce
- Heat the wok to hot, add your choice of oil. I like coconut oil in this dish.
- Meanwhile put the rice to cook.
- Stir fry your fav combo or veggies including onion, garlic and ginger. Chilli if you want.
- Add prawn/tofu or pre-cooked chicken along with the the sauce.
Easy pesto pasta:
- Simply fill your food processor with green leaves 🌱🌿☘️🍀 (spinach, chard, herbs, beetroot leaves).
- Chop a garlic clove or two and cook them then add it into the food processor or keep it whole if you don’t mind the raw garlic hit.
- Add a handful of almonds and a good glug of olive oil and blend.
- The fun part is accessorising. We added a handful of tomatoes, lemon juice and fresh herbs.
– Serve with pasta.
– Pop it on a pizza.
– Freeze it in portions for another day.
– Add it to casseroles and lasagne.
– Have it as a dip.
– Cover meat, fish or tofu with it.
Chocolate and apple microwave cake:
125g self raising flour
2 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp linseeds
3 tbsp oil
6-8 tbsp milk
2 chopped apples
- Mix all ingredients together and let it stand for a couple of minutes. If it is very thick add extra milk.
- Microwave for 2 minutes on high and serve.
I hope those give you some inspiration and you can remember to enjoy your own favourite comfort foods.