Comfort Food Challenge!

A fish finger [fish stick] sandwich with salad cream

Sod spending January nibbling away on some rocket detox diet crap, the winter months with the cold, the dark and the economically enforced hibernation mean comfort food is the order of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I love a decent salad [although I loathe rocket] – on a sunny day, in the garden, with a glass of something cold and pink. But not in any month where I can see my own breath outdoors, or when I’m to be found wearing a scarf more for warmth than dramatic effect.

We’ve had quite a mild start to the year so far but if the downward temperature trend forecast for next week follows a linear progression throughout February even the nitrogen in the atmosphere will be falling as solid snow by the 29th. So I’m retreating to the kitchen, in a cardigan, making food as warm and comforting as a duck down duvet.

In the past week alone we have seen:

  • Fish finger [US translation = fish sticks] sandwiches with the a compulsory splodge of salad cream for Sunday lunch – see picture above. A double whammy of winter woes and a hungover heads demanded nothing less than this king of comfort foods.
  • A baked Vacherin for supper with the sort of dipping ingredients I’ve already mentioned in this fondue recipe.
  • A surprise roast turkey dinner from the Shopkeeper – an unexpected weekday treat – and cauliflower cheese has accounted for around three of my ‘five a day’ for most of the week since.
  • A whole roast crispy duck’s worth of pancakes.
  • The remains of said duck with some mushrooms, wine, mustard and rosemary in a creamy pasta sauce the next day.
  • And tonight we’re heading for some slow braised steak and buttered baked potatoes.

I’m booking my arteries in for a re-bore sometime in March, but that’s the point – now is not the time to stint on culinary comforts! So your challenge is this…

Leave a comment listing your favourite comfort food between now and the 4th of February, after which I’ll pick my favourite and come up with a version of it to publish here. Feel free to leave just the name of a dish or a whole recipe, and if you want to tell me why it’s your comfort food of choice so much the better.

Over to you…


34 responses to “Comfort Food Challenge!

  1. I’m probably the same as most people in that comfort food for me falls into two broad categories – childhood favourites and simple, tasty dishes, the kind I often want when feeling cold, wet and or miserable!

    In the former category would be my mum’s chicken curry or keema curry, with home made rotis or a good home made macaroni cheese or the only thing my dad ever cooks, a Sri Lankan crab curry that is fiery hot! Or crispy duck in pancakes with hoisin sauce, cucumbers and spring onions. Or a proper steam boat meal like the ones a dear family friend used to do every Chinese new year. Oh, fish fingers, yes, those are good too.

    In the latter I’d definitely put roast dinners, both rib of beef and a whole chicken, with roast spuds, yorkshires, gravy and my favourite veg with roast is simple savoy cabbage. I also love hearty stews, chilli con carne and various incarnations of sausage casserole, both my husband’s beery one and my curry one. Oh and my husband does a fabulous cheesey potato bake which is very simple but something I often crave. Cheese features a lot in my comfort food, I realise.

  2. I am extremely jealous of your indulgent week of winter treats. I think it is hard beat a good pie with lashings of buttery mash when it gets this cold. My favourite is chicken and mushroom but I wouldn’t say no to steak and ale or a good shepherds pie either

  3. egg omelette with egg, egg, egg, boiled egg and spam (topped with fried egg (servrd with rocket sald and a light viniagrette (with egg)!

  4. Pingback: Winter, Food & Emotional Comforts « Wavensongz's Blog

  5. Needed a Great add on to my article and yours fit the bill, Thanks 🙂

  6. My ultimate comfort food is, and always has been, bangers and mash. When I was a child in the UK, my mother used to cook them with a large braised onion, covered with a light cheese sauce. Heaven! In fact, all my comfort foods are what I remember of my mother’s cooking. What she called “Chicken Maryland” was also a huge favorite, but just occasionally for a treat… We were not well off, our food was basic but oh so delicious!

  7. Saute lots of onions until soft. Add some tomato paste, chopped carrots,dried red peppers and ample soaked beans (white, navy, kidney). Add a large bone from an animal, bay leaves and oregano or rosemary. Stick all of this into a large (preferably copper) pot and let it stew in the embers of the fireplace for a day or two, rotating occasionally. Eat with lots of bread and rice.

  8. If I am in need of comfort I usually can’t be bothered to cook very much, so it’s SIMPLE but effective. Cheese on toast! 🙂 Or if I’m feeling more mobile chilli con carne and rice, covered in cheddar. You are right about this weather, it calls for the fat storage!
    Oh and if I was on the run and I could find one I’d have a Masala Dosa….I could go on and on with this…:)

  9. From my US years: Grilled cheese (greasy from the butter), mac and cheese (ideally at least slightly yellow in color), chili, hot and sour soup, beef stew served on top of bread.

    From my UK years: cheese on toast, beans and cheese on toast, cottage pie

    Oh and of course a Bloody Mary. Sometimes a drinkable salad with vodka really is the only option.

  10. My husband recently had knee surgery, and was feeling very sorry for himself, so during the first week of convalesence I reverted to preparing comfort food from the Old Country (we’re in LA, but both from UK) – of course there was heinz baked beans on toast, with the toast cut into small squares (like my mum used to make!) – but comfort food to both of us is reliving some of our favourite Sunday Lunch memories. So it has to have mashed potatoes and gravy! So I spent time, love and effort creating a vegetarian version of Shepherds/Cottage pie. Using lentils as a replacement for the mince with a selection of pre-roasted root vegetables, chopped and added. Topped off with a creamy layer mash (created from equal parts potato and yam – with a sprinkle of cream and a dash of Colemans English mustard) – this layer is blanketed with a mix of parmesan and cheddar grated cheese, which is grilled until bubbling, brown and crisp!

    All of this is served with small baby peas and Bisto gravy. Yum bloody yum!

    • Roving Jay, my sympathies to you both on your husband’s incapacitation and I hope he’s on the mend, but if ever there was an reason for a comfort food splurge this sounds like it. Delicious, all of it, and my mum used to cut the toast into small squares too!

  11. Am i too late to add bread and butter pudding to the list? This has got to be the number one comfort food! Got to be straight out of the oven with a little cream or ideally custard…yum yum…

  12. Thanks one and all for your quite delicious contributions to the debate. I’m now considering my response but given the above I think it is highly likely that there will be CHEESE involved somewhere!

  13. Right, I have decided where to go with this. There will be cauliflower, there will be cheese. More than that I cannot say for now…
    In the meantime you may be treated to some ice-cream and preserve action. As ever, watch this space!

  14. Winter, Food & Emotional Comforts, looks like I started a war that’s not going to end. But why should it. Thanks to all of you, still coming in and some are so funny the combinations. 😉

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