Comfort Foods ~ 'cos it's going to get colder!

As I sit here writing this, in Cornwall, the sun is streaming in and it is warm enough to sit outside in the garden, without a jumper!  I’d be there now if only I could see the screen in all that sunshine. Oh, and we have poppies and primroses in flower – does anyone know if that is normal?

I understand, however, that it is soon to be become a lot colder, so I thought I’d post a list of some of my favourite “rib sticking” recipes.  


The first one I thought of was Penne Pasta in a Creamy Blue Cheese Sauce with Roasted Pears but the original post seemed to have disappeared so I re-did it and posted it yesterday.

Here are some other recipes I think could have a lovely warming effect on a cold day.


Potato & Smoked Salmon Gratin

I have to say, even though it is my recipe, that this is gorgeous – must make it again soon! The recipe for this lovely salmon gratin in here.


Melted Onion Panade

A thick, warm, comforting, cheap and utterly delicious sort of French Onion Soup / Bread Pudding Cross! 


Lamb & Leek Hotpot

A hotpot is a hearty one pot dish of meat, onions, potatoes and rich stock slowly baked together till lush as in this recipe for Lamb & Leek Hotpot. Perfect for chilly weather.


Red Wine Braised Lamb

Braised meat cooked this way is rich, silky, tender, sticky and utterly delicious!


And soup - obviously!

If you are familiar with Sudden Lunch you will know that I have written a lot about soup including a whole book! SOUP (almost) the only Recipe You Will Ever Need, but I think one of the loveliest for warming purposes is ...


Butternut Squash & Roasted Garlic Soup

Manly Marmalade Bread Pudding

Not the wobbly creamy bread and butter pudding type thing (although that recipe is in the same post) but lovely rib-sticking bread pud!


Toffee Apple Crumble

This is the best Apple Crumble I have ever made - perfect for the windfalls that are ubiquitous just now!

Oh and there's some fine Comfort Food here too - with benefits!

Penne in a Creamy Blue Cheese Sauce with Roasted Pears

Firstly, an admission ~ I wanted to refer back to the post about this lovely blue cheese pasta recipe which I wrote in 2010 but the whole thing seems to have disappeared!   So, instead I referred back to my old Sudden Lunch! files and have repeated the whole thing, virtually verbatim, here! 
I had lunch for dinner last night - makes a change! The reason being that I was out all day and was absolutely starving, darlings, by the time I got in. So, my evening lunch was whipped up quickly out of a few things I had laying around the place, notably some award winning and scrummy Cornish Blue Cheese and some Butterscotch Roasted Pears. I was not that surprised, therefore, when I made this dish as it is an old standby of mine. 

Please pin for future reference!

Years ago, at work, I did a dessert of Butterscotch Baked Pears. It sold well but I found I was left with a couple of portions; too small an amount to offer on the evening’s menu but too big to throw away. (Actually, I think almost everything is too big to throw away – I can’t abide waste, my dears, which is why I wrote Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers.

Anyhoo, the upshot is that I stirred the pears into a Gorgonzola sauce I had made, and it was divine. One customer trailed sadly after me for weeks until I gave him the recipe (I was a little embarrassed).  The reason I had some of these pears laying around last night is that I was making some Butterscotch Pear Ice Cream (see Luscious Ice Cream without a Machine for the recipe!).

The basic Pasta in Blue Cheese Sauce recipe, for which I now use the wonderful Cornish Blue, goes thus …

Penne Pasta in  Blue Cheese Alfredo for 2

200ml double cream
15g butter
25g freshly grated Parmesan
50g crumbled Cornish Blue Cheese (or Gorgonzola, Cambozola, Stilton, etc)
salt and pepper to taste - I myself, personally, would be heavy on freshly ground black pepper
225g (raw weight) penne (or other) pasta - cooked

~   Gently heat the butter and the cream together, stirring, till the butter has melted into the cream.
~   Add the 50g of shredded Parmesan and the blue cheese and stir till melted.
~   Slowly bring almost to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat and simmer gently, still stirring quite a lot but only for a minute or so, maybe less, till you have a smooth creamy sauce.
~   Toss together with the cooked pasta till all hot.
~   Stir in a handful of butterscotch baked pears or, perhaps, sprinkle with crunchy toasted walnuts.


Butterscotch Baked Pears


500g ripe but still a little firm pears – about 4
85g butter
85g soft light brown sugar
pinch of salt

~   Preheat oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Peel and core and halve, slice or dice the pears according to how you intend serving them.
~   Put the butter, sugar and salt into a shallow oven proof dish and heat in the oven for a few minutes till melted.
~   Turn the pears in the buttery goo to coat.
~   Cover with foil and bake for about 45 - 60 minutes till the pears are tender and reclining in a butterscotch sauce.

Serve with ice cream or cream, in cakes, pancakes, etc. or add to the above pasta dish.

Banana Bread ~ but not as we know it, Jim

WARNING ~ this is a very short post, don't fall off the end!


The other day I picked up this interesting little book which was printed in 1965.  It was written by Mrs Eva Pendaeli-Sarakikya and Sister Agnes Blaster.  The first lady collected recipes that “were African in character” and the secon lady collected “the other recipes” which appear to be those from English ex-pats, things such as Egg Mayonnaise Sandwich Filling or Lemon Meringue Pie.

Some of the African are strange and interesting and many of them remind me of my years in the Caribbean where often people still cook the traditional foods of Africa.

The reason I am writing this small post, however, is this very interesting recipe …

Banana Yeast!

2 ripe plantains (large type bananas)
1 tablespoon sugar
1 heaped tablespoon wheat flour
½ teacup lukewarm water

1.   Peel and thoroughly mash the bananas in a basin.
2    Add sugar and then the flour and mix well.
3.   Add the water and stir well.
4.   Pour this into a bottle with a cork.  Leave in a cool place until it starts to ferment.
5.   This amount is enough to raise 2lb of flour.

I am very tempted to try this but, sadly, I am Bananaphobic.   Maybe I’ll man-up some time and give it a go.  In the meantime, if anyone else fancies making this – please do let me know the result.