Well acquainted by now I am sure. Winter has certainly whirled in with its deceptive blue skies following weeks of rainfall which means a wonderland of comfort food to warm our bellies. I am glad the gloom has gone. Three weeks of rain can only encourage hibernation, because really, no one could be bothered trekking it anywhere in the wet. Finding something to do indoors is no trouble at all for a food blogger. There was a heap of Masterchef Australia to catch up on – only the greatest TV made – a bit of Glee-age, Mario on the Wii in some PJ’s and of course some recipe testing to do.
When it comes to comfort, there’s no substitute for food. When it comes to winning my heart, there is no substitute for food. To me, comfort food is like an internal cuddle that warms all the way through. I know that it’s cold outside and if there is anything that this post can serve, it’s a hug to soothe your hunger pangs and some inspiration for your night in.
I find it incredibly difficult to photograph when cooking. There is no time to grab the DSLR, play around with the settings and shoot. A couple of seconds happy snapping and you are looking at the over cooked. My kitchen never looks that glamorous and perfectly food styled with pots and empty bowls piled up on the bench. Taking too many photos after the dish is plated could also mean eating cold food. I don’t know about you, but I can never wait to dig into a dish when I’m not sure what to expect! It’s a little easier when it comes to baking. I now understand why there are so many baking and dessert recipes out there on food blogs. Enjoy the one shot wonders in my comfort montage. You see my friends, food is for sharing.
* * *
The first picture on the left is my tried and tested “Awesome spinach and ricotta cannelloni” by Jamie Oliver. I love this recipe. The first time I made it, I remember buying about 1 kilo of cheese all up plus creme fraiche. “Wow, you really like cheese” was the lady’s reaction at the checkout. Jamie’s recipes are always novice friendly and not intimidating in the slightest. He focuses on fresh ingredients and is all about keeping it simple. It is fresh rustic comfort that is easy to follow and understand – what you would want for week night cooking! The trickiest part in this particular recipe would be filling the cannelloni shells with the spinach and ricotta mix. I find that they are easier to fill after running them in cold water first so that you don’t burn your fingers. It may seem like a lot of work, but it is certainly something that you can make in advance and freeze it for lazy mid-week days!
The potato pie. Another quick one to put together. I just used puff pastry that I bought from the supermarket for the base, sweated about 6 large onions maybe more for a kilo of beef mince, some garlic, Vegemite, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms and for some reason I decided to put pureed carrots in this one. I didn’t really think the carrots were necessary though, it kind of mellowed out the flavour. You can use packet mash if you like. Personally, I forbid it in my kitchen. S* showed me a packet of powdered mash the first time we cooked together very early on in our relationship. I gasped and was horrified! Luckily he’s good to me. Otherwise door, hello deal breaker. Mash. My most favourite thing in the world and if you are not at KFC, there really shouldn’t be a reason why you’re eating powdered mash. I insist, go buy a kg of potatoes for $1 and mash it yourself please.
If you haven’t already, jump onto the masterchef website and try their Veal Saltimbocca. I used their recipe a few weeks back and it is here to stay in our quick meal rotation. You can get veal shnitzel cuts from the supermarket or the butcher and it wont cost you that much. It is one of those one pan wonders that take no more than 20 mins to make. The use of sage in this dish is lovely with the veal, the sauce is built with butter which gives it a smooth richness that balances the acidity from the capers and lemon. Best for us on a weekend after a good sleep in!
Lastly winter in Australia has brought us a variety of apples. I have used granny smith apples a few times already this winter making Apple Pie, Apple Strudel and Toffee Apples. If you are trying to save on electricity, try baking. Not only will you fill your room with amazing apple and cinamon air but it will warm up your pad without having to turn the heating on! The best part is, when you’re done baking, theres hot pie or strudel craving your attention. How can one possibly resist?
I will leave you with my toffee apples. It has been years since I last had a toffee apple and all I remember are those apples covered in toffee armour that I could never seem to finish. These bite sized ones are such a treat! Thanks masterclass for the inspiration. For those who have never made toffee apples before, watch out for sugar burns. It is not a very pleasant experience, so always remember to have a bowl of ice water near incase you drop some hot sugar syrup on yourself. If you are making these, ensure you dry the apples well with a paper towel, otherwise the toffee wont stick.
I hope you feel a little warmer, slightly hungrier and looking forward to your next meal. So rug up, stay away from those nasty coughers on transport, eat well and enjoy the winter!
So tell me dear reader, what comforts you most?
You may also enjoy:
If you enjoyed this post, why not share it?