By time you get home from work on a winters day, its already cold and dark. The winter blues are setting in and the last thing you often feel like is cooking up a storm or heading out for dinner. Simple quick comfort food is what you need to soothe the soul.
Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy suggest stocking the pantry for a winters Idyll, stocking up on wood for the fire & some flannel PJ’s to lounge around in. Make sure your pantry can easily provide the following:
- Hot Chocolate: Stock the pantry with real cocoa, tiny marshmallows, a bar of good chocolate for shaved chocolate topping & some whipped cream kept in the fridge.
- Tomato Soup: Cheat with a couple of cans of your favourite.
- Toasted Cheese Sandwiches: White sandwich bread in the freezer, cheese slices & margarine in the fridge.
- Gingerbread: butter, brown sugar, golden syrup, baking soda, eggs, milk, vanilla extract, self raising flower, ground ginger, cinnamon & crystallised ginger are the essentials you’ll need to bake a loaf of this.
Although these are all good and well as an emergency standby, my current favourite versions of these are all by The Free Range Cook, Annabel Langbein.
From her book Through The Seasons:
Mexican Hot Chocolate
- 1 cup of milk
- 1 tsp. of sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- a pinch of chilli flakes
- 30g of 60% dark chocolate
place all ingredients in a pot over a medium heat, whisk until chocolate has melted and pour into a mug before it comes to a boil.
- 2 thick slices of sour dough bread
- a little butter to spread
- 1 tsp. of seeded mustard
- 100 g shaves ham
- 40 g grated gruyere cheese
- 40 g grated tasty cheese
- 1/4 of a pear thinly sliced
- sailt & black pepper to season
Butter outside of bread, spread inside with mustard, then top with ham, cheese & pear. season with salt & pepper, Cook in frying pan over medium heat till golden crispy & cheese has melted.
And from her book: Share The Love
Super Simple Tomato soup
- 1 cup pasta sauce
- 1 cup chicken stock
- salt & pepper to season
- 1 tsp pesto to serve
Combine sauce & stock in a pot & bring to the boil. Season, pour into a soup bowl & drizzle with pesto.
Tender Ginger Loaf
- 150 g butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup golden syrup
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 1/2 cups self raising flour
- 1 tbsp. ground ginger
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped crystallised ginger
Preheat oven to 180c fanbake. Line an 8 cup capacity loaf tine with baking paper. In a large pot over a low heat warm through sugar, syrup & butter until melted. Remove from heat & whisk in baking soda followed by eggs 1 at a time, then milk & vanilla extract. Sift together flour, ground ginger & cinnamon & stir in till smooth. Lastly stir in crystallised ginger & pour into prepared tin. Bake for 45 minutes, let rest for 10 minutes in tin before turning out on rack to cool.