With colder weather and darker evenings coming in all I want is comfort food.
This was one of my favourite desserts from school and is basically an apple sponge. Whatever you decide to call it, it’s delicious and even better with custard, or ice cream.
I’ve used eating apples, but you could use cooking apples if this what you have (just remember to add some extra sugar if the apples are very tart).
You can also use different fruit, like plums, pears, or rhubarb.
120 Grams Butter (plus extra for greasing the baking dish)
120 Grams Sugar
120 Grams Self Raising Flour
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
6 Dessert Apples
Icing Sugar (optional)
Peel and core the apples, and cut into 3-4cm cubes. Put in a pot with a splash of water and cook over a medium heat for 5-10 minutes until the apples start to soften. You can cook the apples for longer if you prefer, but I like them to still have a bit of texture. Allow to cool slightly
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius)
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until it becomes light.
Add the vanilla and one egg to the butter and sugar and continue mixing. Add a couple of spoonfuls of flour and the next egg and gradually add the rest of the flour while mix (this should stop the cake mix looking like it has curdled. If this happens don’t panic, just add a spoonful of flour and keep mixing
Transfer the apples to an oven proof dish (about 1-1.5 litre dish should be fine). Drain off any excess liquid and top with the cake mix before spreading it evenly across the top of the apples
Bake for 40 minutes, stick a skewer or toothpick in the middle of the pudding. If the skewer comes out clean the your pudding is ready, if not cook for a further 5 minutes and try again
Allow to cool slightly, and dust with icing sugar if you’re feeling fancy
My friend Mags has been raving about this recipe for ages. We both have a serious bread addiction and this recipe is from a slimming club site. So when she shared the recipe I had to make it. If you’ve ever had Irish wheaten bread this is similar in taste.
It takes two minutes to knock together, can be enjoyed by those who have issues with gluten and is pretty cheap to make. If you want something to keep kids busy this also something to do with them on a rainy afternoon and the will be super pleased with themselves.
It’s not the lightest fluffiest bread, but it is packed full of fibre and perfect served with cheese and chutney or buttered along side soup. I topped mine with some pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch, but you can also sprinkle with porridge oats.
180 Grams Porridge oats
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda (baking soda)
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius). Grease a load tin, you can also line it with baking parchment if want to (but I just greased the tin really well and it was fine)
Mix the yoghurt, salt and baking soda together, before stirring in the porridge oats
In a separate bowl, crack the egg and whisk with a fork until light and fluffy. Stir into the porridge mix and stir until we’ll combined
Transfer the mix into the loaf tin and bake for 50 minutes. Test with a tooth pick, when it comes out clean it’s ready.
Traditional lasagne is pretty epic, but it does no harm try new versions of things and this is pretty amazing. This was a giant lasagna, but you can reduce the recipe if you need to make a smaller one.
1Kg Chicken Breast (cut into 2-3cm chunks)
500 Grams Mushrooms (roughly chopped)
50 Grams Dried Mushrooms
200 Grams Spinach
750 Mil Milk
75 Grams Butter
75 Grams Plain flour
1 Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Oil
250 Grams Cheese (grated, I used a mix of mozzarella and Cheddar)
1 Tbsp Rosemary (chopped)
4-5 Cloves of garlic (crushed or finely chopped)
12 – 14 Lasagna dried sheets (the type that don’t need pre-cooked)
Before doing anything else, place the dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover with 350 mil of warm water
Add 1 table spoon of oil to a large high sided pan and heat over a medium heat. Add the chopped chicken and colour on all sides before removing from the heat and setting to one side
Add a second table spoon of oil to the pan and add the roughly chopped mushrooms, cook for around 10 minutes (don’t stir too often or they will start to release water)
Drain the dried mushrooms (keep the water they were soaked into one side as it will go into your sauce later)
Stir in the dried mushrooms and spinach to the pan with mushrooms (it will look like it won’t fit, but it quickly wilts down
To make the sauce, melt the butter, and add the crushed garlic to let it infuse and flavour the butter. Add the flour and stir well to make a loose paste
Over a medium heat, gradually whisk in the milk and a water the dried mushrooms were soaked in as this will be packed with flavour.
As the sauce starts to thicken, stir in the rosemary and salt and pepper (you can adjust the seasoning to your own taste). Cook the sauce out for a further 10 minutes, stir regularly until the sauce no longer tastes floury. The sauce should not be especially thick, so add more milk if you think it needs it.
Pre-heat you over to 180 degrees (Celsius)
In a lasagna dish, ladle in enough sauce to cover the bottom of the dish add about a third of the chicken and mushroom mix before topping with lasgna sheets. Repeat this on two more layers, making sure you ladle in liberal amounts of the sauce over the lasagna sheets
Top with grated cheese and bake for 45 minutes until deep golden brown Enjoy with salad and garlic bread
I love Yotam Ottolenghi’s recipes, he does some amazing things with vegetables. He’s able to avoid the usual criticisms of vegetarian food, that it can be a bit rabbit foody and uninteresting.
While a lot of people are vegetarian for health reasons, there are times you still want something rich, unctuous and indulgent.
I’ve filed this under Pure Filth due to the amount of cheese involved. The original recipe calls for just Parmesan cheese. I didn’t have enough, so I used half strong Cheddar. This recipe would probably still work well as a way to use up cheese you have hanging about the fridge. The original recipe recommends that it should be served cold or room temperature (I’ve also eaten it hot, as I couldn’t wait on it cooling and it was yummy). I used a mix of nigella (onion seeds) and sesame seeds on the outside, but you could swap out this for just sesame seeds (I think using just nigella seeds would be too much)
2 red onions
1 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 Tsp Rosemary (optional)
15 Grams Basil
120 Grams Plain flour
1/2 Tsp Baking powder
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
Salt and pepper
Melted butter (for greasing)
1 Tbsp Nigella (onion) seeds
1 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
75 Grams Parmesan (grated)
75 Grams Cheddar cheese (grated)
Break the cauliflower into florets and simmer in hot water until soft (but not mushy), drain well and allow to cool
Peel the onions, slice half the first onion into 1/2 cm thick rings and set to one side. Coarsely chop the remaining onions.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onions over a medium heat for 10 minutes, allow to cool
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (Celsius), and line the base of a 24cm x 24cm spring form cake tin with baking parchment. Brush the sides of the tin with melted butter and sprinkle with the nigella and sesame seeds
Transfer the cooked onions to a large bowl, add the eggs, herbs, and turmeric and whisk in the flour and baking powder
Stir in the cheese, and then add the cauliflower and mix until the cauliflower is coated in the batter (be careful not to break up the florets, as you want to keep some texture)
Add the batter to your prepared cake tin, making sure you spread it to the edges. Top with the onion circles you set aside earlier and bake for 45 minutes
Food is one of the best ways to nurture people but also remember those who we loved.
We are in the middle of the Jewish holiday of Hanukah. I’m not Jewish, but my much loved sister in law Bobra Fyne was. She was great at describing the customs surrounding the holiday and was a brilliant story teller (she was one of my favourite people in the world).
She also shared my family’s love of carbs and was an amazing cook, and so I made these as a way to remember her.
This is a simple recipe from Claudia Roden’s The Book of Jewish Food. While grating the potato is a bit of a faff the results are delicious served the traditional accompaniments of sour cream or apple sauce. Similar to a potato rosti, they can be served as an appetiser or side dish.
1 Tsp Salt
Oil for frying
Peel and grate the potatoes, rinse in cold water to remove the starch.
Drain in a colander. Depending on the type of potatoes you use, you might need to put the grated potatoes in a clean tea towel and squeeze out the excess liquid. Transfer to a large bowl
Lightly beat the eggs with the salt and add to the potatoes. Mix until combined
In a large pan, add just enough oil to cover the base and heat over a medium heat
Add a tablespoon of the potato mixture to the pan at a time and flatten slightly so they cook evenly, (they should be thin enough to make sure you don’t have raw potato in the middle)
When brown, turn with a spatula and cook until brown on he other side
I visited Krakow recently, and loved everything about the place. What I really fell in love with were pierogis, served in pretty much every restaurant.
Our food guide told us the it’s really common in Polish homes for members of the family to get together and make huge batches of pierogis, especially at certain times of year, like Christmas.
This weekend I got together with my Krakow travel companions to drink maybe more than we should and make pierogis.
Pierogis are fairly easy to make and we worked in a kind of production line which made it even easier. I would definitely recommend getting your friends together and giving communal cooking a go. By the time you chat, laugh and have a few drinks you can make loads of them. I didn’t have a recipe for these so we used the BBC Good Food recipe and the dumplings tasted exactly like what he had in Poland.
Pierogis freeze well, double up on the recipe and you can pull them out of the freezer for a quick week night dinner. You can also make a sweet version by simply replacing the filling with raw blueberries and serve topped with sour cream.
For the dough
250 Grams Self Raising Flour (sifted)
1 Tsp Salt
3 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
250-300ml Warm Water
For the filling
250 Grams Mashed potatoes (this is a great way to use up left overs, make sure the mashed potatoes are cold before using)
50 Grams Butter
1 Onion (finely chopped)
250 Grams Cottage Cheese
Add the flour and salt to a bowl, add the oil and then gradually add water and mix until you have a soft dough. Gather into a ball, knead for 5 minutes, wrap in cling film. Chill for 30 minutes
While the dough is resting, melt the butter in a frying pan and cook the onions over a medium heat for 10-15 minutes until they are golden brown
Mix the potatoes and cottage cheese together and stir in two thirds of the fried onions. Mix until thoroughly combined
Roll the dough out as thinly as possible (nobody wants a thick doughy dumpling). Use a cookie cutter or class to cut 4-5 cm circles
Put a teaspoon of the filling in the centre of the circle and lightly wet the edges of of circle. Fold over to create a half moon and press the edges closed tightly
Heat a large pot of water to just before boiling, add the pierogi, about 6-7 at a time (depending on the size of your pot, just be careful not to overcrowd the pot)
When the pierogi start to float, lift out with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander. Keep cooking the pierogi until all the dumplings are cooked.
Serve on a large plate, and sprinkle the remaining fried onions over the top
My brother made this soup for me and I loved it. He only gave me the recipe on condition of a name check, so thanks Michael.
This is proper comfort food, and while the recipe is Vegan friendly it’s a really hearty stick to your ribs meal in a bowl.
400 Gram Tin of cannelini beans
2 Stalks of celery (fine chopped)
2 Carrots (grated)
1 Onion (finely chopped)
1 Vegetable stock cube (or tablespoon of buillion powder)
2 Cloves of garlic (crushed or very finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Oil
500 ml Boiling water
Add the oil to a deep sauce pan and heat over a medium heat
Add the onion and fry gently for 5 minutes until the onion softens but doesn’t colour
Then add the carrot and celery and cook gently for an other 10 minutes
Stir in the garlic and beans (including half the water they came in), crumble in the stock cube, add the boiling water and stir well. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper if you feel it needs it
Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the the vegetables are soft and then serve with crusty bread
There are countless versions of Jollof Rice and Chicken across Africa and the Caribbean. The are many reasons why it’s so popular, it’s quick and easy to make, it’s a one pot dish that can feed a family cheaply, and most importantly it’s really delicious.
I mean, tender chicken and really well flavoured rice with vegetables, where could you go wrong. This is also a great dish for using up odd bits of vegetables you have in the fridge
4 Large chicken thighs or 8 small ones (I use the ones with the bone in, as I think it keeps the chicken tender)
1 Tbsp Oil
2 Red peppers (cut into 1-2cm pieces)
1 Onion (cut into 1-2cm pieces)
1Tbsp Tomato puree
400 Gram Tin of chopped tomatoes
1 Red chilli pepper (finely chopped) or 1 tsp chilli powder
1 Tsp Smoked paprika
3 x Cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
Thumb sized piece of ginger (grated, I always keep ginger in the freezer. It stops it going to waste and it’s easier to grate)
250 ml Vegetable/chicken stock (I used a stock cube to make it)
325 Gram Long grain rice, dry weight (I use basmati, but other types are fine)
2 Tbsp Chopped coriander (optional)
Heat the oil in a large flat bottom pan. When hot, add the chicken thighs and seal on both sides
Add the vegetables and tomato puree to the pan and cook for 5 minutes
Add the remaining ingredients to the pan and cover with a lid. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a gentle simmer for 15-20 minutes, adding more water if the rice dries out before it’s cooked
Check the chicken is cooked through and the rice is soft