Tag: Comfort

Cauliflower Cheese Fish Pie

Cauliflower Cheese Fish Pie

Recently my family have been really enjoying these supermarket cod fishcakes with a oozy cheddar centre. I’d never of thought of putting cheese and fish together, but like this it works insanely well. So, inspired by this as always, I decided to do something fishy on the blog. Then the other day we had cauliflower cheese for dinner as it’s my Dad’s favourite, and we ended up with a big tub of it leftover in the fridge. It then occurred to me that most fish pies have a white sauce base with vegetables and fish mixed in, kinda like the fishcakes we like. So rather than go to all the effort of re-making a cheese sauce for a new fish dish I just mixed a bit of cod into the cauliflower cheese, then added bit more veg, whopped some mash on the top and bunged it in the oven. Hey presto, quick, tasty cauliflower cheese fish pie!

So this is great if you have leftover cauliflower cheese, but I’m also aware that it’s not a staple food in everyone’s home, and in order to make it in the first place you’re gonna need a recipe. Therefore the recipe below starts from scratch with making the cheese sauce and prepping the cauliflower, so you could make this as a thing without the need to make it from leftovers. You could also add prawns or a more oily fish like salmon if you want a bit more fish variety in there, but I’ve gone for just cod as it’s pretty easy to cook in a pie and pairs really well with the cheesy sauce.

Recipe

Serves 8

Time: 45 minutes (plus cooking time)

Ingredients

  • 1kg Potatoes, peeled and halved
  • 25g Butter
  • 20ml Milk

For the filling

  • 25g Butter
  • 25g Plain flour
  • 400ml Milk
  • 400g Cod
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 100g Frozen peas
  • ½ Cauliflower
  • A handful of grated cheddar

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
  2. Fill a pan with water and bring to the boil. Add the peeled potatoes and boil until soft and starting to flake.
  3. Drain them and then mash them. Add the milk, butter and some salt and pepper to season, and then mix until fully combined. Set aside for later.
  4. Now make the sauce. In another pan put the butter and leave to melt. Add the flour and mix until a paste forms. Then keep stirring the paste for 1-2 minutes to cook the flour.
  5. Then slowly add the milk, whisking constantly, until a smooth sauce forms. Continue to heat whilst whisking for 3-4 minutes until the mixture starts to thicken.
  6. Take the mixture off the heat and stir in the cod, mustard, peas, cauliflower and half the cheese. Spoon the mixture into an oven-proof dish. Top with the mash potato and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.
  7. Put the pie into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the topping starts to brown. Serve warm with a side salad!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken Noodle Soup

Here’s a nice quick one for soup Sunday! Every Sunday in my house we don’t have the traditional British roast, instead we have soup. It’s kind of a ritual where every leftover vegetable left in the fridge from the week is boiled up and blitzed into a bowl of vegetable soup surprise. This one is a bit more conventional than the ones we have on a normal Sunday lunch, but it’s just as warming and comforting. 

Although I said earlier that we don’t have roasts every Sunday, when we do we have roast it’s normally chicken, and it always results in a box of shredded chicken meat sitting in the fridge. This soup is great for leftover roast chicken, and pretty much any left over meat. Just finely slice or shred it and then add it to the soup. By adding some noodles to this relatively light, protein studded soup the whole thing is made into a full, hearty meal, and brings a nice oriental element to the whole thing.

Recipe

Serves 4

Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken breasts (or chopped chicken thigh)
  • 1 White onion
  • 2 Medium sized carrots
  • 2 Spring onions
  • 1 tbsp Root ginger
  • 1/2 Small red chilli, deseeded
  • 1 Small leek
  • 50g Unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1L Chicken stock (or 1L boiling water with 2 chicken stock cubes)
  • 2 balls of Uncooked egg noodles
  • Salt and pepper to season

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Wrap the chicken in foil and then leave to cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes until just cooked through. Leave to one side for later.
  2. Next prep the veg. Peel and then finely slice the onion and carrots. Then top and tail the spring onions and the leek and finely chop. Take the chilli and chop it finely. Then peel the ginger and then finely grate it.
  3. Put the butter and oil into a pan and leave to melt. Then add the prepped vegetables and fry gently until they begin to brown and soften. Then add the stock and leave to simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Slice the chicken into strips and then add it to the soup. Leave it all to boil for another 5 minutes and then add the noodles. Leave to boil for a further 8-10 minutes until the noodles are just cooked before seasoning to taste and serving!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

 

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Monkey Bread

Monkey Bread

I think that bread is one of those things people rarely bake at home for two main reasons. 1) It takes ages to make and 2) the end result is often really disappointing, and so on the whole it normally would have been a lot quicker to just buy a loaf from the local shop. This bread will take a bit of time, as with most other breads it does need to prove and (obviously) bake. However, in my opinion this one’s way more fun to make than other breads as the dough is really nice to work with, it’s assembled as little tear-and-share style balls, and it’s all lathered in cinnamon and butter so it tastes insane!

The identifiable feature of monkey bread is the mosaic-like pattern of the finished loaf, made by rolling the dough into balls which are individually dipped in butter and then cinnamon sugar to make each piece of bread sumptuous and sticky. Then the whole thing is scattered with pecans to give a delicious crunchy nuttiness to the whole thing. The shaping also makes it a great loaf for sharing as you can pull bits off without the need for a knife! This is traditionally made in a Bundt tin (one with a hole in the middle – not sure why but meh), but as I didn’t have one I just popped them all into a 9 inch cake tin which seemed to do the job just as well.

Recipe

Serves 8-10

Time: 1 hour, plus proving and baking time

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 220ml Milk
  • 90g Unsalted butter
  • 550g Strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 10g Fast-action dried yeast
  • 5g Salt
  • 50g Caster sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs

To decorate

  • 125g Unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp Ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Ground ginger
  • 230g Light brown sugar
  • 160g Pecans, chopped roughly
  • 1 Large egg, beaten

For the icing

  • 1 tbsp Milk
  • 100g Icing sugar

Method

  1. To start making the dough put the milk and butter into a saucepan and leave to simmer on a medium heat until the butter has melted.
  2. Next put the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix together. Add the egg and the milk mix and stir to make a sticky dough.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  4. Tip the dough into a clean bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to rise in a warm space for 90 minutes, until doubled in size.
  5. Next melt the butter for the topping in a small pan and set to one side.
  6. In another bowl mix the spices, sugar and a little salt. Then add the chopped pecans and mix together.
  7. Take a Bundt or 9 inch cake tin and brush the inside with a little of the melted butter to grease. Then spoon a little of the pecan mix into the base of the tin.
  8. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 seconds to knock out the air. Then split and roll the dough into 50 small balls. Dip one of the balls in the butter and then roll in the spiced sugar. Chuck it into the tin and then repeat with the other dough balls until the base of the tin is filled. Scatter with the rest of the pecans and then continue with the rest of the dough. If you have any butter or sugar left over at the end pour it over the loaf.
  9. Cover the whole thing with cling film again and leave to rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
  10. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Take the beaten egg and brush it over the top of the loaf to glaze. Then bake the loaf in the oven for 35-40 minutes until risen and golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin.
  11. To make the icing put the icing sugar and milk into a small bowl and mix together to make a smooth paste.
  12. Turn the monkey bread out of the tin and drizzle with the icing. Serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Stuffed Potato Skins

Stuffed Potato Skins

For those of you who don’t know I’ve spent the last year on an art foundation course and somehow I now find myself in the run up to my final exhibition. Installing everything is an equal balance of fun and stress, but essentially it’s also taking up all of my time. So, as a result, my food for the next two weeks is going to be orientated towards the purely quick and tasty. The other day I made some gnocci and had some potato skins leftover, so I started thinking about quick and easy stuffed potato skins recipes. These ones are made with whole, normal potatoes, but you could also make them with sweet potatoes and/or without the potato flesh if you’re using leftovers from gnocchi.

These are the perfect pick-up comfort food and I’ve found that when it comes to comfort food it’s best to go all out. You can try to make these healthy if you want, but in my opinion just stuff them full of cheese, bacon and anything else tasty you can think of and they’ll be great.

Recipe

Serves 2

Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Large baking potatoes
  • 3 Rashers streaky Bacon
  • 50g Frozen peas
  • 25g Butter
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 75g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • A handful of Parsley or Basil to garnish (optional)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Put the potatoes onto a plate and microwave for 10 minutes to soften them. Then put them on a baking tray and leave in the oven until cooked all the way through (about 45 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile prep the other elements. Put the bacon onto a grill pan and cook under the grill until crispy, turning over half way through cooking so they cook evenly.
  3. Now boil a pan of water on a high heat. Add the peas and leave to boil for 5 minutes until just cooked. Then drain and leave to one side.
  4. When the potatoes are ready take them out of the oven and halve them. Scoop out the insides and mash it with the back of the fork. Add the butter and continue to mash until smooth. Cut the bacon into pieces and mix it into the mash with the peas.
  5. Season the mix to taste and then spoon it back into the potato skins. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and then put back into the oven to bake until the cheese just melts.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Sticky Toffee Puddings

Sticky Toffee Puddings

Generally speaking I love complicated, fancy food. I love how weird and wacky it can sound on paper, or look on the plate, and yet how incredibly tasty it can be. But I have to admit that nothing beats the classics – I mean they’re classics for a reason. In this case I don’t think I’ve ever had a sticky toffee pudding I haven’t liked. Whatever the texture, whatever the ingredients, as long as it’s true to the name and is sweet and sticky you’re on to a winner!

These ones are particularly light a fluffy as they’re made with a classic sponge mix and are then steamed, but the date puree in the mix also makes them really squidgy and sweet. The toffee sauce put on the top then adds even more sticky moistness, with a bit of a bitter flavour to really complement the sponge! They’re also really good with ball of fresh vanilla ice cream and  this will cut through the sweetness and also provides a great temperature balance to the warm sponge!

Recipe

Serves 8

Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 130g Chopped dried dates
  • 130ml Water
  • 130g Unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 125g Caster sugar
  • 3 Large eggs
  • 180g Self raising flour
  • 1 tsp Baking powder

For the toffee sauce

  • 300ml Double cream
  • 125g Light brown sugar
  • 50g Unsalted butter

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C. Then grease 8 small pudding basins with butter.
  2. Put the dates and water into a small saucepan and leave to gently simmer over a medium heat until soft (about 5 minutes). Blend the mix to a puree and set to one side.
  3. Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk together. Then add the flour, baking powder, and date puree until smooth.
  4. Distribute the mixture between the basins and put them into a deep roasting tin. Fill the tin with boiling water so it comes half way up the side of the basins. Cover the tin with foil and then put in the oven to bake/steam for 40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile make the toffee sauce. Put half the cream, the sugar and the butter into a small saucepan and bring to the boil whilst stirring. Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter has melted, leave the mixture to boil gently until it becomes a deep amber colour.
  6. Then take the caramel off the heat and add the rest of the cream. Stir together and then keep warm until needed.
  7. When the puddings are ready (a skewer will come out clean when inserted into the middle), turn them out of their moulds onto plates. Serve with the toffee sauce and ice cream!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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