Friday, January 6, 2012

Something to cheer you up during the cold, dark days of January

Let's admit it: January sucks. Many of us have eaten, drunk and spent far too much money over Christmas and suddenly we are overcome with a compulsion to submit ourselves to a month of deprivation. No chocolate, no cream, no cake, no booze and certainly no spending of any money.

Bah humbug is what I say to that. January is cold, dark and long. If ever we needed the comfort of cream cake, now is that time.

But I know some of you are more steadfast than I am. You are determined to stick to your guns and undergo a January of abstention. I've got something to make that a little easier for you: my very first blog giveaway!

Some of you will remember this review I wrote of Diana Henry's 'Food from Plenty' a while back.

I was instantly taken with the idea behind this book, which is all about creating good food from what is plentiful, seasonal and often left over from previous meals. It chimes with the times, as we look at food anew, prizing quality and flavour over what is cheap and unsustainable.

Since then, I've returned to this book many times for its simple and always delicious recipes. I've made Italian cauliflower with fried breadcrumbs, anchovies and capers; beetroot, goats cheese and caper pizza; orange and pistachio pilaf; tomato and basil tart; Middle Eastern shepherd's pie with a spiced parsnip crust - every single recipe has been great and I'm hungrily anticipating cooking many more.

I think you'll love cooking from this book too, which is why I'm giving you the opportunity to win your very own copy.

All you have to do is leave a comment below, telling me what your favourite comfort food is. I'll choose a winner at random next week and in the meantime, I'm looking forward to reading all about the foods you love to eat (or force yourself to go without!) in the cold month of January.

31 comments:

  1. Plain and simple.... scrambled egg on toast! Nothing to beat it (especially if the eggs are from your own hens!)

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  2. Fav comfort food is homemade chicken curry, or veggie curry if no chicken in!

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  3. Scrambled eggs on toast - that's my idea of the perfect comfort food too, Margaret. My mum always made it when we were ill as children.

    Brid: you just can't beat homemade curry. My only problem is that my boyfriend isn't a huge fan. Sigh.

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  4. My favourite winter recipe is traditional German lentil stew. I never feel like cooking it in summer, but in winter it invariably leaves me full and warm and satisfied.

    You fry onions and bacon chunks, add soaked lentils and chopped carrots, leeks, celeriac, potatoes if you like, possibly a little cauliflower, and cook it all in vegetable broth until the lentils are done.

    Serve with a little chopped parsley, and, if you like, you can add a spoonful of vinegar to the soup on your plate.

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  5. Oh, Katja! Yum.
    I'm definitely making this soon.

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  6. A roast has to be the ultimate comfort food. There's nothing better than popping it in the oven and putting your feet up for a few hours. Goose fat roasties, spiced beef And honey roast veggies. Yum! Roasts always remind me of that traditional, homely, cosy feeling of being snuggled up by the fire on a dull January day.
    Carol-Anne

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  7. I love mashed potato, turnip, and rashers. Sounds odd, but plenty of butter in the potato and turnip and saltiness of the rashers is heaven to me :)

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  8. Fav comfort food is homemade soup from seasonal veg, lots of garlic n toasted sambo

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  9. Hey Sharon. Our favourite comfort food is macaroni cheese by a mile! J&J

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  10. My favourite is definitely goulash. Mine takes a relatively long time to cook (3 hours) but there is very little work involved and the end product is pure perfection, especially with some nice soft dumplings or even better a hunk of warm, homemade bread. It is as cheap as chips to make, very healthy and the paprika gives a nice kick. Weekly must-have in our house over the winter.

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  11. A fish pie is mine especially in winter.

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  12. Poached eggs on toast or else grilled Bacon and avocado on a sesame seed bagels for breakfast. Yum. I love parsnips,sweet potato, butternut squash, goats cheese,onions, but unfortunately my husband doesn't so I tend to just go for them when we are out for food

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  13. My favourite comfort food is spaghetti and meatballs. It was my favourite dish when I was a kid and is still what I crave when I need some food solace. I've looked at this book in the shop a few times, and like you, I love the idea behind it. All the recipes you mentioned sound very tempting. Life is too short to give up good food just because it's January!

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  14. I'm really loving these suggestions. I'm going to have to try them all over the next month!

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  15. A big bowl of pasta in homemade tomato sauce. Some crusty garlic bread to mop up the leftover sauce. I also love some roasted potato and veg with melted brie! And of course, there is nothing like a bowl of warm apple pie and custard. You cannot beat it!

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  16. The ultimate comfort food is a beef stew cooked until the meat melts in your mouth and perfect for winter...yumm

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  17. I love hard-boiled eggs with mayonnaise or toast with cheese, or with tuna mixed with mayonnaise and melted cheese at the top.

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  18. This looks a fab book, the dishes you've cooked from it are lovely.
    Comfort food for me - CHOCOLATE!
    My name is Caroline and I'm an addict!
    Gone cold turkey for January though!

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  19. My favourite comfort food has got to be sliced bread dipped in egg and milk and fried off in the pan, buttered well with a sprinkling of sugar and a squidge of lemonjuice on top! French toast we called it when we were young but I've never met a French person who had ever heard of it!!

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  20. Love italian sausage and bean stew and the best thing about it is that there is generally enough to last for two days :)

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  21. Mine would be Dutch pea soup(Erwtensoep)

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  22. Mandie Duke LeenheerJanuary 9, 2012 at 1:17 PM

    P.S I didn't mean to be anonymous ^^ My name is Mandie :)

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  23. My favourite stodge for January has to be meatballs marinara with fresh pasta: absolute yum! The book looks fantastic!

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  24. I have heard so many good things about this book!

    I have so many favourite comfort food dishes but at the very top of the list is a big warm bowl of homemade rice pudding with a very generous dollop of raspberry jam, it works wonders :)

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  25. Fav comfort food = chicken & broccoli gratin!!

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  26. Fish fingers, beans and chips - washed down with a steaming strong cup of tea!

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  27. Homemade Lasagne, savouring the classic combination of pasta, cheese and my bolognese sauce washed down with a glass of smooth merlot. Satisfaction guaranteed!:)

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  28. It needs to be something warm and squishy. My favourite comfort food is vegetarian Shepherd's Pie. Instead of the meat part, it is made with brown lentils mixed with plenty of previously stewed vegetables and then the mash (refined with parsley and nutmeg)and a layer of cheese on top. All goes in the oven until the stew part bubbles and the top is nicely gratinated. Yummy!

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  29. Oh my favourite comfort food has to be French Onion Soup with a good glug of brandy as its base and a Gruyere crouton on top....it has warmth, substance, depth of flavour, and most importantly, it instantly evokes snapshots of memories, from a quick lunch in the medieval citadel of Carcasonne, to a snack on a lover's walk along the Left Bank. It's all there, in a steaming bowl of comfort.

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  30. My comfort zone lies in the region of melted cheese in or on anything. But the ultimate comfort food has to be a salted baked potato with butter, pure and simple.

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  31. I've really enjoyed reading all of your suggestions for comfort food. From baked potatoes and French onion soup to homemade lasagne, vegetarian shepherd's pie, rice pudding, curry and chocolate; there's a lot here to make me hungry! I'm about to pick the winner right now.

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