• Simon Mckenzie

Comfort foods that send you back...

Late last week I was asked to make a cottage pie for dinner. After a few months of travelling, my partner said she suddenly had a craving. This got me thinking, it's funny how suddenly we crave comfort foods; the sudden yearning for a Sunday roast or your mum's roast spuds. I think it's all to do with the foods that trigger a memory that whisks [sorry - couldn't resist the pun] us back to a time of great satisfaction and comfort.

For me, my comfort place is walking on a Sunday morning to my grandmother's house with my mum and my sister in the winter. When we got there the house was always filled with smells of cooking. She would make this winter dish she would call a 'pot pie' – it was rich, heavy and full of flavours.

She would take steak and kidneys, and braise them for hours; thicken the juices and pour everything into a pudding basin. Cover it all with suet pastry and wrap in cloth and tie. She would then steam it for 2-3 hours and serve it with mash – funnily, I can't remember the quality of the mash – and I want to say cabbage but again I maybe mistaken. It was always about the pie. The pastry that escaped from under the cloth would be slightly crusty, then light and again that rich sauce was to die for.

Sadly my grandmother passed away a number of years ago now and she never taught me how to make this and – although I can pull off most things in the kitchen –, I cannot replicate the home cooking flavours she used to pull off in this particular dish. I guess I get too 'cheffy' with it all!

Oh – and the cottage pie; awesome, of course, and went down a treat. However I still can't resist a good dollop of ketchup with it which was severely judged by my partner who opted for dijon mustard. Well, she is from ROYAL Tunbridge Wells...

I'm pretty sure my mum didn't spend time glazing cottage pie like this though!
Cottage Pie - Simple, Delicious Home Cooking

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