Saturday, March 03, 2018

Baby it's cold outside

{Gnocchi, tomato and mozzarella melt}

When you thought that Spring was on its way, it comes as a huge shock to wake up to minus temperatures and 'the beast from the east' who managed to dump a huge amount of snow pretty much all over the UK.  Just as I was getting my head round some lighter eating, my stomach was craving warming, bulky food that would sustain me through the bitterly cold day.  No, I didn't want crisp salads or spring veg risottos, I wanted hearty soups and warming stews, usually with a good dose of carb added in (mostly I managed to resist the carb overload).  I spent a happy few hours on a snow day evening, trawling through some cook books that I haven't looked at for a while, creating our weekly menu before heading out to shop for it all.  For more recipes that comfort the soul, have a look here and here for more inspiration, including classics such as mac n' cheese, mince and dumplings and fish and chips.

Gnocchi, tomato and mozarella melt

I'm not going to lie.  This is carb/calorie heavy and is billed as 'hangover food' but it works so well as a cold day supper and super easy to prepare.

You will need:
1 packet of gnocchi
packet of cherry tomatoes, halved
ball of mozzarella
basil leaves

- melt a tablespoon of butter and some oil in a frying pan and when frothing add the gnocchi.  Keep turning it from time to time until it turns golden and crispy on the outside
- add the tomatoes and cheese and resist the temptation to keep prodding and moving it about or your cheese will form a big gloopy lump
- tear over the basil leaves, salt and pepper and put your pan on the table and tuck right in.

Maybe it's the northerner in me, but I don't think you can beat a roast dinner when it comes to eating for comfort and pleasure.  When I was growing up meal times were family time and Sunday dinner was the icing on the week's cake.  So, perhaps I love a roast because for me, it also symbolises sharing, talking and laughing with the people I love the most.  Lamb isn't everyone's favourite roast due to it's high fat content, but when it's slow cooked for 4/5 hours, it takes on a succulent, sweet intensity that melts into your tastebuds.  Here's the recipe that I use:

 Roast lamb with flageolet beans

You will need:

whole shoulder of lamb
lamb stock cube
rosemary, finely chopped
garlic cloves, sliced into slivers
two tins of flageolet beans
chicken stock cube
small amount of double cream

- crumble the lamb stock cube with olive oil until you have a runny paste, before adding the rosemary
- prick the shoulder and insert slivers of garlic into the gashes
-spread the paste over the shoulder and put into the oven at 150 degrees c for four hours
- take the lamb out of the oven, cover with foil to rest and start on the beans to accompany the lamb
- putting the beans in a pan, crumble in the chicken stock cube and heat the beans gently
- when warm, add the cream and warm through before spritzing with a small amount of lemon juice to cut through the richness
- pull the lamb apart with two forks and serve on a large platter on top of the creamy beans

I usually serve a big pile of green veg with this - purple sprouting broccoli and green beans are a favourite in this house.

I'm not a pudding person at all, but if I am going to eat a pudding it has to be robust and filling.  Again I think of the puddings I ate as a child - and my mum wasn't a pudding cook either - but Saturdays and Sundays were for classic English puddings - castle puddings, lemon meringue pie and treacle tart were often on the menu, but the pudding I loved the most was one my paternal grandmother used to make - Eve's Pudding.  Made with bramley apples from the trees in their garden, it was the highlight of our lunches when we went for Sunday dinner, and is still a nostalgic favourite of mine now.

Food for me is all about family, sharing and love.  When someone I love is sad, I cook for them, when someone is ill, I cook for them, when someone is happy and wants to celebrate, I cook for them.  What are your go-to's when you're feeling nostalgic or want to make something delicious and warming? I'd love to hear...

Photos:  Sasha Wilkins, Friends, Food, Family

1 comment:

  1. I do love a good English pudding... treacle sponge, crumble and custard ... thanks for sharing