If there was ever a time when we’ve needed comfort foods then that time is now.
Comfort foods give us a sense of wellbeing — of emotional comfort. People’s preferences will differ but generally the consoling dishes will be prepared in a traditional style. For example, roasts, pasta and crumble puds. They are foods that people often associate with close relationships and happy times.
Eating these delights helps shift our emotional state from negative to positive. However, many comfort foods tend to be high in carbs or fat and therefore calories. It’s a case of enjoying the memories and not overindulging and acquiring a constant reminder — as on your hips!
I tend to flavour sweet treats. Fruit crumbles with whipped cream are number one followed by baked apples and custard, and self-saucing chocolate pudding. However, a good scone is always comforting as are cheesy bakes and slow-roasted melt-in-your-mouth meats.
CHEESY DROP SCONES
3 cups plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
50g salted butter, grated
1 1/2 cups grated tasty cheddar cheese
3/4 cup each: plain yoghurt, milk
Extra: 1/4 cup grated cheese
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Rub in the butter with your finger tips. Mix in the 1 1/2 cups cheese. Combine the yoghurt and milk until smooth. Stir into the flour mixture to make a soft, slightly sticky dough.
Gently scoop up lumps of dough with your fingers and drop onto the baking paper. They should look rustic. Sprinkle with the extra cheese.
Bake scones for 15-20 minutes, until golden. Cool on a rack or serve warm with butter. Makes 8.
SLOW-ROASTED PULLED CHICKEN TACOS
This chicken can be served as a traditional roast one night and leftovers as pulled chicken tacos the next.
Slow-roasted Chicken: 1.1kg whole chicken
1/4 cup dark cane sugar
1-2 teaspoons ground chilli
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Tacos: 8 soft tacos
2 cups finely shredded cabbage or lettuce
1 small red capsicum, seeded and julienned
Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Place in a slow-cooker, breast side up.
Combine the sugar, chilli, garlic, mustard powder, tomato sauce, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until the flesh pulls away from the bones easily.
Remove the chicken and shred the flesh. Place back in the cooker and heat through in the juices.
Heat the taco shells according to the packet instructions. Fill with the cabbage, capsicum and pulled chicken.
Great dusted with paprika and garnished with basil or parsley. Serves 4.
CAULI & BROCCOLI CHEESE
Cauliflower cheese for 2020.
2 rashers bacon, diced
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 large onion, sliced
400g potatoes, peeled, thickly sliced
250g each: cauli and broccoli florets
1 cup each: grated tasty cheddar cheese, cream
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Fry the bacon in the oil, until crisp. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes until soft and golden.
Meanwhile, boil the potatoes in a large saucepan of water ensuring they are well covered. Add the florets and cook for about 5 minutes until tender. Drain well.
Lightly grease a 26cm x 20cm baking dish. Place half the potato, cauli and broccoli evenly over the base. Scatter with half the bacon, onion and a little cheese. Drizzle with half the cream and season. Repeat the layering. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Serves 4.